Ballarat business leaders told innovation key to success

“IT is innovation or die.” 

Hawood Andrew Lawyers managing principal Dan Simmonds’ message to businesses sounded bleak, but it seemed to inspire the audience at the Ballarat Leaders’ Lunch yesterday. 

The luncheon, organised by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), saw three guest speakers talk about the issues affecting businesses amid a changing national and global market. 

About 80 private and not-for-profit board directors and members attended the lunch at Jackson and Co. 

AICD state manager Paul Geyer facilitated a panel discussion with the three guest speakers: Federation University of Australia councillor Dr Meredith Doig, Geelong Football Club director Diana Taylor and Hawood Andrew Lawyers’ Mr Simmonds. 

Mr Geyer agreed with Mr Simmonds that it was essential for board directors and members to be innovative. 

“Most organisations operate in a world of change and some of the changes involve globalisation,” Mr Geyer said. “Local boards and businesses need to keep abreast to these changes and we want them to think about how they can respond.” 

Mr Geyer said local businesses were lucky because Ballarat had a diverse economy, good schools and a university. 

“There is the opportunity for local business to collaborate (with other businesses) as part of their development and innovation,” Mr Geyer said. 

He also agreed with a point Mr Simmonds made at the beginning of the luncheon, about inspiring a culture of innovation. 

“Board directors need to be ensuring that their boards have a culture of innovation,” he said. 

“Innovation is more than just technology, it’s beyond IT ... we need to engage with (members of the company). 

“Businesses should see innovation as a competency to help them grow and sustain their business.”