Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO, has released a new report that reveals a strong link between bold risk taking and financial success for top performing ASX companies.

Thriving through innovation: Lessons from the top, produced by CSIRO in partnership with The University of Queensland, can help businesses navigate the uncertainty caused by the economic impacts from COVID-19 – and plan for this new normal, using evidence-based insights.

A detailed survey gathered innovation data from executives and senior leaders in ASX-listed companies.

Using advanced statistical approaches, the report linked their responses to real-world financial performance, revealing four factors that drive success:

  • Corporate entrepreneurship – The most important factor, comprising risk taking behaviour, innovative thinking and proactiveness to be bold for innovation-driven growth.
  • Innovation novelty – Being first in the market with innovations that are new to the world or to Australia.
  • Collaborative breadth – Co-creating innovations with a range of collaborators including customers and research agencies.
  • Triple threats – Making changes to products, processes and business models simultaneously to fully unlock and protect value from innovation investments.

Focusing on these key factors can help companies launch successful new products, enter new markets, and create new industries.

CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall said innovative businesses were essential to Australia’s recovery from COVID-19.

“When science solves a seemingly impossible problem, it can create a whole new market that didn’t exist before and that grows the pie bigger for everyone,” Dr Marshall said. “Collaboration on science-driven innovation drives real economic growth, new jobs, and will grow us out of the COVID recession.”

CSIRO works with small and large business across the various stages of the innovation lifecycle. We apply our research to help Australia and the world innovate, improve and grow.

A full copy of the survey is available at