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Collaborative economy worth $46bn to Australia: Deloitte report

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17 July 2014: Unlocking the power of the collaborative crowd is a key solution to Australia’s productivity and innovation challenges according to new Deloitte research commissioned by Google Australia.

In its Collaborative Economy report, Deloitte Access Economics has put a value on the benefit, and it is big:

  • $46 billion per year – value of faster-growing, profitable businesses with collaboration at their core
  • $9.3 billion per year – value if companies make the most of opportunities to collaborate more.

In addition to the economic modelling and research of collaboration’s* place in Australian businesses, 1000 employees and business managers were surveyed – in established markets and new players and across industries and geographies.

Other key research findings include:

  • Companies that prioritise collaboration are five times more likely to experience a considerable increase in employment, twice as likely to be profitable, and twice as likely to outgrow competitors
  • Only 20 per cent of businesses without collaboration strategies outgrew the market, compared to 30 per cent with a middling strategy, and 52 per cent with an important strategy
  • Only 24 per cent of survey respondents said they had a collaboration strategy that was important for their business
  • Half of businesses have no collaboration strategy – or their people don’t know if they do
  • Over 35 per cent of respondents said collaboration helps them work faster, while 18 per cent said their work could be impossible without collaboration.

Deloitte Digital national leader Frank Farrall said: “What we have found is a strong correlation between collaboration and the performance of Australian companies. Those that actively encourage collaboration do better. And not by a little, but by a lot.

“Collaboration, driven by a clear strategy, brings revenue growth, more profit, greater employee satisfaction, higher productivity, improved product quality and innovation.”

Deloitte Access Economics’ partner Ric Simes said: “Australia is confronting very real issues around disruption, innovation and productivity, as productivity has fallen at an average 0.6 per cent a year since 2007-08.”

“Yet according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, only 36.6 per cent of Australian businesses were innovative in 2012-13 and introduced new or significantly improved goods, services or processes. This was down from 41.3 per cent on the year before.

“When we add up all the potential across Australian business, collaboration can play a critical role in driving productivity.”

Deloitte Access Economics director John O’Mahony said: “At $46 billion, collaboration is worth around three per cent of the value of the Australian economy each year; that’s the equivalent of a large sector such as agriculture or utilities.”

Google Enterprise Managing Director Australia and New Zealand, Kevin Ackhurst, said: “There is $9.3 billion worth of value sitting on the table – and that’s just from opportunities specifically identified. Imagine how much more value is sitting out there that we don’t know about.”

“Collaboration is something that many companies talk about, but few have robust collaboration strategies in place. Now that we can finally see the true value of collaboration to the Australian economy, we hope Aussie companies will think about the tools and approaches they need to deliberately increase collaboration in their workplace”

Farrall said: “Progressive leadership and culture, workplace champions and technology as an enabler, including the ongoing increase in high bandwidth connectivity, coupled with the huge and continuing expansion of highly effective social media technologies, are all critical to increasing collaboration capabilities and delivering the very clear benefits.

“Employees who collaborate are ten times more likely to be satisfied with their job, over a third of our survey respondents said collaboration helps them work faster, and three quarters that collaboration improves the quality of work they produce.

“The concern is that more than half of Australian businesses are leaving it to chance. They have no collaboration strategy and are therefore missing out on what are very significant benefits for them, their people, and the national economy.”

*Collaboration is people communicating and working together and building on each other’s ideas to produce something new or do something differently. A collaborative organisation, for instance, unlocks the potential, capacity and knowledge of its people to generate value, innovation and improved productivity.

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Last Updated: Thursday, 17 July 2014

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