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University of Sydney Business School

Australian Institute of Company Directors

September 2019


The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and University of Sydney Business School have collaborated to undertake a study into the approach of Australian boards to innovation. The research aims to build a deep and nuanced understanding of the conversations about innovation in Australian boardrooms. It looks at how boards consider innovation from a strategic perspective and how they monitor the risks taken by executives.

What the study found was that while Australian directors accept the importance of innovation to
their organisation’s strategy, too often competing priorities, limited resources, and a lack of awareness of the need for change means the topic does not receive the urgent attention it deserves. Key findings from the study include: Australian directors recognise the importance of innovation, but more needs to be done to prioritise its delivery, Australian boardrooms have low innovation and digital literacy levels, and Board-Executive collaboration leads to better performance.

The study leads to key practical steps boards can undertake to ensure innovation is prioritised, and its outcomes delivered.