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New Zealand businesses embrace innovation through R&D

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This article was published on 29 March 2017

More New Zealand businesses are embracing innovation as the key to international success, says Callaghan Innovation Chief Executive, Vic Crone.

“The latest Statistics New Zealand figures show a big lift in business R&D spend. It’s great to see businesses recognise the urgency of needing to increase their innovation.”

Additional data from Statistics NZ shows that more than half of all R&D conducted in New Zealand is being done by businesses, rather than government research agencies or universities.

“For decades we have been saying we need to diversify our economy and produce higher value products, but at the same time our investment in R&D remained stubbornly low.” Vic says.  “The pace of innovation around the world is increasing. For New Zealand complacency is not a recipe for prosperity.”

“The good news is that these figures show the message is getting through: R&D is crucial in creating premiums for exporters and therefore higher wages for Kiwi workers. The rise in R&D investment in areas such as the digital and manufacturing sectors in particular tell a very encouraging story.”

Callaghan Innovation supports businesses to do R&D by providing research expertise in areas such as data analytics, biotechnology and advanced materials; by helping businesses improve their innovation processes through courses such as Innovation IP; and through co-funding their own R&D expenditure through a system of R&D grants.

Analysis of last year’s Statistics NZ Business Operation Survey found Callaghan Innovation clients:

  • Spend more on R&D - $1.3m vs an average $200k
  • Spend more on innovation - $1.3m vs an average $100k
  • Are 77% more likely to have developed or introduced innovations
  • Are 3 times more likely to have introduced new or improved products or services.

 “Callaghan Innovation is here to help Kiwi companies grow bigger, faster.  I hope these numbers provide the impetus for those companies that are still sitting on the fence about the need to innovate. 

“The harsh reality is that those that don’t innovate will be overtaken by those that do and in increasingly global markets, the competition isn’t just domestic.  The good news is that we know, based on our experience with hundreds of customers, what the steps to success are.”