The Vernier Society was represented last night at a dinner hosted by the ‘Association of Manufacturing Excellence (AME) Australia’; an organisation, albeit somewhat larger, with the same passion for the sustained future of Australian manufacturing as the Vernier Society.
The excellent evening was held in Port Melbourne where the guest speaker was Professor Danny Samson of Melbourne University who gave an insightful speech into his current research on Innovation across Australia. Professor Samson’s (“just call me Danny”) research has covered 2000 companies who completed a 150 question survey to determine how the companies approach innovation; not just in the traditional product development function but across the whole organisation. Danny and his team are now analysing the mass of data collected and he gave the AME a snap shot of the first results, demonstrating that when innovation is successfully applied across the whole organisation, it can result in up to 30% improvement in bottom line performance.
Danny’s work identified a matrix of 9 areas of performance that benefit from a more innovative approach:
- Strategy and Leadership
- Human Resources and Training
- Culture and Communications
- Customer focus
- Embracing risk and change
- Sustainability focus
- Management of innovation and processes
- Knowledge and Technology (IP)
- Operations and Partnerships
By analysing the data into the top 25% of companies who lead in innovation against the bottom 25% of respondents who lag in innovation, Danny articulated to the audience through a series of graphs how this volume of data can be mined to identify gems of learning that justify the shibboleth of “Innovation as the Ultimate Competitive Advantage”. The presentation and the Q&A session that followed clearly demonstrated that there is a lot to be understood and learned from Danny’s work and so it was not surprising that most of the guests left their business cards to get a copy of the initial report, which is sure to be a tempter to a whole series of learning reports.
The evening was concluded with an informal networking session and left the guests appreciating the work of the Victorian Chapter of the AME in setting up this fine evening at the equally fine Mardos Restaurant, but most importantly the need to continue the fight for manufacturing leadership in this country and the important role that the AME, the Vernier Society and Innovation must play in this mission.