To investigate and learn from startup accelerators and innovation ecosystems

United Kingdom
Land, Commerce and Logistics
To investigate and learn from startup accelerators and innovation ecosystems featured image

Conclusions and Recommendations: After traveling to eight leading innovation ecosystems across Europe and Asia I concluded that Australia is doing a reasonable job on the innovation front. However, there are several things we could work on if we wish to be a world leading innovation driven economy.

Through numerous interviews I found there are four key pillars to a healthy startup ecosystem: culture & talent, markets & geography, financial capital, and government policy & supporting infrastructure.

Of these, culture & talent is the most critical (and most difficult) to get right.

Markets & geography is mostly a given and other than recognising their impact and properly accounting for them strategically, there is not a huge amount that can be done to address these at the ecosystem level. Financial capital appears to look after itself if the other pillars are in order and the best thing governments can do is make sure that they do not create any unnecessary barriers to innovation and entrepreneurship.

I have proposed five ‘thoughts for Australia’:

  • A forward-thinking Australia – Australia should take a leaf from Singapore’s book and develop an ecosystem with long term planning combined with responsive on the run adjustment based on effective built-in feedback mechanisms.
  • Hearts and minds – Innovation should be a unifying force for the nation; it should be depoliticized and have bipartisan support.
  • A nation of inventors – Australia should aim to inspire and support more of our people to embrace their inner inventor.
  • Reverse the culture drain – Australia should aim to leapfrog our way to a stronger innovation culture by retaining our best innovation talent, attracting our innovative diaspora to return, and attracting new innovative people to make Australia home.
  • Getting out of the way – While there is a role for governments in supporting innovation, one should not forget that creativity often comes from constraint. Governments should focus their initial efforts on preventing and removing policy barriers to innovation.

Australian innovation has a lot going for it. We have a great history of invention. Our mining history and our large migrant population gifts us with a reasonably risk tolerant culture and we have large and growing markets in our geographic region. We have all the right ingredients if we want to be a leading innovation driven nation, but it won’t happen without some concerted effort.


Toby Heap

Toby Heap


Contact Fellow

Please provide some details as to why you wish to speak with this Fellow. The Trust will forward your enquiry on to this Fellow on your behalf.

  • Hidden
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Use the categories below to filter the search results: