Innovation in Australian wood product enterprises
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.gottsteintrust.org.The Gottstein Trust calls for Fellowship applications each year in September.
Dr Georgiana Daian - Research Officer ForestWorks.