Does Turnbull really get innovation?

  • By Lior Stein
  • 21 Dec, 2015

The flavour of the month is tech start-ups and today’s release of the innovation statement was highly anticipated. Some impressive big announcements were made but an interesting comment was said to the tune of governments needing to be as agile as the start-up businesses it invests in.

Further to this, comment was made on previous parliamentarians being judged on immediate success where Turnbull said a degree of failure was inherent and learnings need to be gained.

Was this a clever method of allowing for failure, a get out of jail free card if you will?

Imagine Stephen Moore standing up before the beginning of the world cup and making a statement like … we are here to try our best but if we fail that’s ok, we would have learned a lot.

The country would either laugh him off the stage or be sickened by the weakness of the statement.

What was going through the Prime Minister’s mind when he made that comment?

Let’s analyse the statement a bit further, would a start-up raise one cent if its founder stood up and proclaimed that failure was acceptable?

In actual fact, if worded correctly, it probably would.

One of the main traits to look for when investing in start-ups is something called coachability (you won’t find this word in the Oxford dictionary … yet … but with the start-up scene exploding I predict that it will make its debut amongst alphabetised words in the near future).

An investor wants to see that a founder can take criticism and be able to admit when he is wrong and then be flexible enough to change course and fix the problem.

Australians are a talented bunch, but if we read into the Prime Minister’s comment what is he really saying?

He is leading by example and telling Australia to stop playing it safe.

Step out, take risks and love every single moment of it! The government supports you in trying crazy ideas that may fail, but they may also succeed!

The Prime Minister’s little comment was ingenious; he was changing the mindset of an entire country, an entire nation!

Why is Australia such a successful sporting country? There are many reasons but one of the main reasons is that they totally and utterly believe in themselves, whether misplaced or not.

This belief is what is required for Australia to leapfrog into being one of the world’s pole position innovating nations.

Turnbull hits the nail on the head, this is what I think he is saying:

1.Be agile – understand that many curve balls will be thrown at you along the way.

2.Fail and learn – mistakes will happen, embrace them, love them, don’t make the same mistakes again!

3.Be confident – believe in yourself and in Australia. We are on the brink of becoming one of the world’s leading innovation nations, get on board and be part of the ride!

Lior Stein is director at Rimon Advisory and Investments

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