In­no­va­tion in Aus­tralian wood prod­uct en­ter­prises

Australasian Timber - - WOOD INNOVATIONS -

AGOTTSTEIN Fel­low­ship was awarded to Dr Ge­or­giana Da­ian to in­ves­ti­gate in­no­va­tion in work­places re­lated to the for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­tries. Dr Da­ian is the Re­search Of­fi­cer at ForestWorks and is con­stantly look­ing to iden­tify ways to im­prove busi­ness per­for­mance in the for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try in Aus­tralia.

“I found this project to be very en­light­en­ing,” said Dr Da­ian, “the main find­ing be­ing that there are NO se­crets to be­ing an in­no­va­tive com­pany.Rather, it is a com­mit­ment to in­no­va­tion across an or­gan­i­sa­tion that is ar­tic­u­lated through clear strate­gies and sup­ported by cre­at­ing an en­gag­ing, learn­ing and trust­ing work en­vi­ron­ment at all lev­els through an or­gan­i­sa­tion.”

Dr Da­ian in­ter­viewed sev­eral in­no­va­tive companies in Aus­tralia and in Fin­land to dis­cover their “se­crets of success”. The companies in­volved in­cluded Hyne Tim­ber, Metsa Wood (Fin­land), UPM – the BioFi­bre Com­pany (Fin­land), Si­par­ila (Fin­land).from the wood and for­est prod­uct sec­tors and FE Te­chonolo­gies and the Gee­long Food CoProd­ucts Clus­ter from the non-tim­ber sec­tor. De­spite the dif­fer­ences in in­dus­tries the learn­ings re­gard­ing in­no­va­tive prac­tices was sim­i­lar across the companies.

“The for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try has the abil­ity to be­come an in­dus­try of the fu­ture – with an abil­ity to con­vert re­new­able wood into mi­cro-cel­lu­lose fi­bre feed­stock for com­pos­ites and other ad­vanced ma­te­ri­als, en­gi­neered tim­ber struc­tures for build­ings, un­lim­ited in­te­rior and ex­te­rior wood com­po­nent de­signs, and re­new­able en­ergy.

“There are many op­por­tu­ni­ties for in­no­va­tion,” she said, “but busi­nesses need to think out­side of box, de­velop big as­pi­ra­tions, and en­gage the whole work­force to man­age those as­pi­ra­tions.”.

Dr Da­ian recommended that small to medium en­ter­prises need to un­der­take the fol­low­ing ac­tions to be­come in­no­va­tive:

De­vise a sim­ple busi­ness strat­egy that is fo­cused on grow­ing as a leader in the sec­tor;

Com­mu­ni­cate the strat­egy closely and pas­sion­ately with em­ploy­ees;

Learn from the best and part­ner with the best;

Make lead­er­ship skills a pri­or­ity for in­vest­ment across the or­gan­i­sa­tion;

Set up a frame­work to explore all ideas across the or­gan­i­sa­tion, and im­ple­ment the good ones; and

Cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for learn­ing and net­work­ing for man­age­ment and staff alike.

“While there are no se­crets to be­com­ing an in­no­va­tive com­pany it does take much pas­sion and de­ter­mi­na­tion to achieve this,” the Dr said.

“Tra­di­tional wood prod­ucts companies will not be able to grow un­less they view their mar­ket of­fer­ings dif­fer­ently.Novel and unique fea­tures must be de­vel­oped for tra­di­tional prod­ucts and ser­vices to en­sure the ex­pan­sion and fu­ture of a com­pany. The best place to de­velop these prod­ucts is within a com­pany and joint ven­tures through work­ing with sup­pli­ers and cus­tomers to de­ter­mine what they re­ally want.”.

Dr Da­ian con­tin­ues to work on the knowl­edge sec­tor of the for­est and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try through her role with ForestWorks.“I am very grate­ful to both ForestWorks and the Gottstein Trust for pro­vid­ing me the op­por­tu­nity to un­der­take this project,” Dr Da­ian said.

Dr Da­ian’s full re­port can be ac­cessed on http:// www.gottstein­ Gottstein Trust calls for Fel­low­ship ap­pli­ca­tions each year in Septem­ber.

Dr Ge­or­giana Da­ian - Re­search Of­fi­cer ForestWorks.

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