(2023) Innovations in stock matching and allocations: the social housing challenge (Peer Reviewed)

with Iris Levin, Selina Tually, Jacqueline De Vries, Wendy Stone, and Ian Goodwin-Smith

AHURI Final Report No. 394

Australia’s social housing sector remains under significant pressure. Demand for social housing properties remains high, waiting lists are long, and the sector is expected to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse current and prospective tenant population. Resulting from these pressures is an allocation and matching system that operates long waiting lists through a range of eligibility criteria and assessment and priority categories, aiming to achieve a fair and equitable allocation system of social housing. These processes have seen the sector increasingly targeted towards low-income households with complex needs, and to those experiencing multiple disadvantages and support needs. This research has set out to explore whether innovative, flexible allocation, and matching policy and practice could reduce the gaps between the need for and the supply of social housing.

(2022) Austrade Trade Index Model

with Sarah Hegarty, Alfons Palagkaraya, Elizabeth Webster and Nobuaki Yamashita

Project for the Australian Trade and Investment Commission

The Centre for Transformative Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology, has undertaken to provide the Australian Trade and Investment Commission with an analysis of bilateral trade data that will allow internationally competitive Australian producers to identify new export opportunities in export markets, as well as to identify potential new markets for
Australian exporters. The core of the work is intended to be integrated into Austrade’s digital services “Find Export Markets” search tool.

(2022) Impact Evaluation of the IMCRC's futuremap® 2018-21

with Nobu Yamashita and Elizabeth Webster

Report for Innovative Manufacturing CRC

In July 2022, the Innovative Manufacturing CRC (IMCRC) engaged the Centre for Transformative Innovation at Swinburne University of Technology to evaluate the impact of their futuremap® workshop and diagnostic tool. In particular, we evaluated the program to better understand the degree in which their clients were engaged with digital technologies and advanced manufacturing relative to their peers within Australia and whether exposure to new processes and technologies translated into improved firm performance.

(2021) Innovation in Manufactured Food and Infant Formula Sectors

with Alfons Palangkaraya and Elizabeth Webster

Report for Food Standards Australia New Zealand

The OECD (2005, p.46) defines innovation as ‘the implementation of a new or significantly improved
product (good or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations’.

Innovation is important for the success of individual firms in creating and maintaining market share. However, as each innovation proliferates through the market they lose their profit generation ability; firms must continue to innovate to maintain competitiveness.

The ultimate beneficiaries of innovation are consumers. If ideas and innovation were frozen at circa 1800, there would be no electricity, plumbing and sanitation, aeroplanes, birth control, antibiotics, TV or the Internet. Not only is our lifestyle enhanced through purchase of these more desirable products; we are often able to purchase these superior products with comparatively less work inputs than our forebears. Innovations that create new products and improve worker productivity have made us considerably wealthier than our ancestors.

Today this means that our well-being will fall below potential if we fail to innovate and exploit the best new ideas.

Expanding exports is also a key Government strategy to growing the wealth of Australia and New Zealand. Encouraging innovative businesses environments in Australia and New Zealand is critical to being competitive in the world market.
The infant formula industry represents the premium and research-intensive extreme of the processed food industry and is a prime example of continued innovation improving the standard of living of citizens by closing the health and development gap between breast fed and infant formula fed infants.

According to infant formula industry representatives, new ingredients requiring regulatory approval appear every 12-20 months. Europe and the USA consider this industry a national priority and have considerably faster regulatory systems than New Zealand and Australia. In order to remain competitive in the international infant formula market, Australia New Zealand must foster an innovative industry.

Our simulations of exports from the Australian dairy industry reveal that a one standard deviation fall in innovation is associated with a A$27.5 million decline in dairy exports which equates to approximately 1.4 percent of annual dairy exports in Australia. If the magnitude is similar in New Zealand, we would expect New Zealand annual dairy exports to fall by NZ$234.6 million a year.

New Zealand and Australia infant formula firms have positioned themselves well to take advantage of major importing markets, especially China (including Hong Kong), Vietnam, and South Korea. Most of the companies interviewed for this report claimed that over 90% of their infant formula was exported.

(2020) The Impact of Design Rights on Australian Firms

with Achinthya Koswatta, Alfons Palangkaraya, and Elizabeth Webster

Report for IP Australia

Firms in design rights-intensive industries spend nearly 50 per cent more on research and development (R&D) than the average Australian firm, are more labour-intensive and are more active in global value chains, as they have high exports and material costs relative to their contribution to economic growth.

In these design rights-intensive industries, holding a registered or certified design right is associated with higher productivity (sales per employee, minus materials and equipment). This effect is greater when the design right is examined and certified. Among all Australian firms, having design rights is a forward indicator of more R&D and more exports. In turn, a firm’s use of design rights is predicted by its R&D and exports and is coupled with the ownership of patents and trade marks.

These results suggest that the value of design rights stems from their use as part of a broader competitive strategy to manage the intangible aspects of products—a strategy highly relevant to globally active firms. Using a survey of 50 000 firms, the study found that design innovators spend more on R&D, are more global in their strategy and compete by innovating products and processes. They rely on all forms of intellectual property (IP) protection, including lead-time advantage, trade secrets and registered IP rights.

We assessed whether past policy changes around design rights contributed to a framework that supports entrepreneurship and economic growth. We found no conclusive evidence that major changes made by the Designs Act 2003 affected either demand for design rights or productivity in Australian firms. Key changes in 2004 included a reduction in the term of protection for designs by six years and the loss of unregistered protection (under copyright) for two-dimensional designs. Neither change affected productivity or the level of design rights use, including in the textile, clothing and footwear industry, which is said to have depended on unregistered protection for designs. The introduction in 2013 of a streamlined court process for resolving design disputes also had no clear impact on the economy.

(2019) Impact of Austrade Tailored Services 2012-16

with Alfons Palangkaraya and Elizabeth Webster

Report for Austrade

Organisations face many challenges when making the decision on entering the export market. One of the most substantial barriers are barriers to information. The firms need to collect information in order to identify potential export markets and partners as well as the characteristics of consumers, market entry procedures and marketing channels. Markets can fail if the signals are hard to interpret. The Australian economy misses out on many opportunities from specialisation and economies of scale due to the challenges facing firms entering new markets. Given the distance of the Australian market, it is critical that these barriers fall.

Various formal and informal solutions to reduce the cost of information and the development of networks have been proposed. Institutions such as embassies and consulates and trade promotion organisations are part of the solution to the market failure, yet existing evidence is not yet robust in regards to the effectiveness of these solutions.

This report summarises the impacts on export sales, likelihood to export and employment for organisations receiving tailored services from Austrade over the period of 2 July 2012 through 30 June 2016. The analysis is based on linked administrative data of service recipients and the ABS BLADE database. The results are compared first to firms receiving general services from Austrade during the same period as well as against the full population of Australian firms.