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COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of innovation in solving our biggest challenges. As we face unprecedented economic challenges ahead, we need to embrace the power of business innovation. The findings from this study will help businesses understand the key factors needed for science and technology innovation to succeed in the most important way: improvements to the bottom line.

Our Thriving through innovation: Lessons from the top report reveals the innovation characteristics that top-performing ASX-listed companies share – and they’re principles that any business in any sector can embrace to drive performance.

The Thriving through innovation: Lessons from the top PDF (5 MB) survey was produced by CSIRO in partnership with The University of Queensland.

The four key innovation factors

Analysis of company data and financial performance show there are four innovation factors which drive success:

  • Corporate entrepreneurship
  • Collaborative breadth
  • Innovation novelty
  • Triple threats.

These four factors should be the top of your list to reap the benefits of innovation.

How top ASX companies innovate to succeed

  1. Corporate entrepreneurship - This is the foundation for everything else. It sets the tone in the organisation that innovation and risk taking are the way to win.
  2. Collaborative breadth - Corporate entrepreneurial culture opens the floodgate of collaboration. These collaborations enable the development, adoption or rapid commercialisation of innovations.
  3. Innovation novelty - Formal collaborations enable completely new or significantly improved offerings. This creates the conditions for being first in the market.
  4. Triple threats - To protect innovation outcomes, other key parts of the business are changed to maximise and sustain value, including business models and processes.
  5. Win - Marketing leading performance
How top ASX companies innovate to succeed ©  CSIRO

These findings establish a strong link between bold risk taking and the financial success for top performing ASX companies.

Download the report

Full report


This survey is part of a suite of reports CSIRO has released on the importance of science and technology in our economic recovery.

  • The COVID-19: Recovery and resilience report outlines the medium and long-term innovation investment opportunities for Australian industries to drive economic recovery and build future resilience.
  • The Value of science and technology report shows why innovation investment is important and outlines the barriers and solutions when navigating the innovation cycle.

How was the survey conducted?

The national survey was conducted with c-suite executives, managing directors, vice-presidents, directors and managers who are responsible for undertaking company-level innovation efforts.

After collecting survey data from 197 ASX firms, we put a spotlight on the top performers and tested 15 variables to find the four factors that mattered most. This allowed us to inspect the top 10% performers and understand what sets them apart as leaders in innovation.

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