Business Newsroom

La Trobe Business School

Category: Research

Innovation and shared value critical for regional development, says LBS Professor of Practice

Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice, Economics

By Mark Cloney

Could a new approach to regional development policy premised on creating shared value and utilising existing institutional networks be a key catalyst to the implementation the Turnbull government’s national innovation agenda?

The upcoming Federal Budget should outline more details of the government’s national innovation agenda. One way to ensure the successful implementation of the agenda could be to utilise established institutional arrangements and networks that foster regional economic development across Australia’s regions – and not duplicate or marginalise their efforts.

In December 2015 the Turnbull government announced an Innovation Statement that committed $1.1 billion dollars over the next four years to support business based research, development and innovation. A key focus of the Innovation Statement is a desire to strengthen the ties between business, universities and scientific institutions.

Many leading theorists have written on the importance of innovation and regional development to the international competiveness of firms and nations. For example, Harvard business gurus Michael Porter and Mark Kramer (2011) argue for the importance of creating shared value, which focuses on the connections between societal and economic progress including enabling industry clusters. Much of what they say is consistent with the Innovation Statement objectives.

According to Porter and Kramer (2011), policies, collaboration and operation practice that enhances competiveness of a company while simultaneously advancing the economic and social conditions in the communities in which they operate will be the power behind next wave of global growth. They cite firms such as Google, IBM, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Nestle, Unilever and Wal-Mart as examples of companies that have embarked on shared value initiatives within the communities where they operate. According to Porter, in particular, the success of every business is affected by the supporting companies and soft and hard infrastructure around it and the networks within which they operate (i.e. the microeconomic foundations). Therefore stronger local capabilities in areas such as education and training, R&D, transport services and logistics, supplier collaboration, distribution channels and infrastructure are key to increased competitiveness and innovation. To support industry cluster development, business needs to identify gaps and deficiencies in these areas and enter into closer collaboration with like businesses, peak industry groups, government and universities to collectively address local deficiencies.

Regional Development Australia (RDA) is a national network of 55 committees (including metropolitan RDA’s) made up of local leaders who work with all levels of government, business and community groups to support economic and social development of their regions. This initiative is funded by the Australian Government and supported by state, territory and local governments in all jurisdictions. Most RDAs have at least one university in their catchment area and are at various stages of maturity in their engagement with them. For example, La Trobe University is a board member of both the North Melbourne (NM) RDA and North Link, two regional development bodies who between them cover seven local government areas in Melbourne’s northern suburbs (incorporating La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus).  La Trobe has been supporting these organisations for a number of years and provides facilities for North Link at its R&D Technology Enterprise Centre. The established networks of NMRDA and North Link are all about facilitating R&D research connections with business, industry and the tertiary sector in the northern region with an objective to help local business grow and innovate.

Perhaps options to consider delivering the innovation agenda through policies focused on creating shared value and directing new resources to the existing institutional arrangements and networks of the RDAs would provide an efficient mechanism and real impetus to delivering the government’s innovation vision.

Dr Mark Cloney is a Professor of Practice Economics at La Trobe Business School.

Mark has had 20 years’ experience in the federal government in corporate areas including program design, implementation, evaluation and compliance. He was a member of the Senior Executive Service in the department of Agriculture and completed a PhD with the University of Sydney in 2003 on regional development policy and economic theory.

Michael E. Porter and Mark R. Kramer (2011) The Big Idea: Creating Shared Value, Rethinking Capitalism, Harvard Business Review, Jan- Feb – https://hbr.org/2011/01/the-big-idea-creating-shared-value/ar/pr

North Melbourne RDA – Regional Development Australia web site: https://rda.gov.au/

North Link website: http://melbournesnorth.com.au/

LBS Associate Professor Cardak quoted in The Age on wealth and access to higher education

Buly Cardak La Trobe Business School
On 18 January 2016, La Trobe Business School economics researcher Dr Buly Cardak was quoted in The Age article ‘University offers benefit wealthy and realistic students’.

In the article, A/Professor Cardak comments on his recent research findings showing that wealthier school leavers with a realistic worldview and ongoing forms of support access higher education at greater rates compared with students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dr Cardak is a specialist in the economics of education, and has been researching factors influencing students’ university studies since early 2006. Read the full article on The Age’s website.

For more information on Dr Cardak’s research, see his website.

Buly Cardak’s research reveals connections between student dropout rate and financial hardship

Buly Cardak La Trobe Business School

La Trobe Business School academic Buly Cardak recently came under the spotlight with his research on dropout rates among university students, with his research receiving significant media coverage. Specialising in the economics of education, he has been researching factors influencing students’ studies since early 2006. In his recent study, Associate Professor Cardak and his collaborator Joe Vecci studied the connection between the financial hardship of university students and the likelihood that these students would graduate or dropout at some later stage in their studies.

The data show that one in three students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds drop out from university studies. Further to this, students from financially disadvantaged backgrounds are up to 15% more likely to dropout than students from financially secure backgrounds. It is believed these effects operate through costs of living, e.g. paying for food, books, or transport, rather the tuition fees which can be deferred through HECS.

Associate Professor Cardak notes that these results are important because not only do they show that students experiencing financial hardship are more likely to drop out, but it was found that after three years of study, the likelihood of dropping out among financially disadvantaged students increases rather than falls as it does for other students. Disadvantaged students that don’t finish their degree in the standard allotted time are likely to be cut off from government income support. Facing this financial challenge, many students have no choice but to drop out. Not only is this detrimental to disadvantaged students, but it is also costly to society. After financially supporting students for several years, to have them drop out of university altogether, presents the economy with a costly loss of potentially skilled graduates.

Another important finding was how the Youth Allowance benefited students. It was found that students who are independent Youth Allowance recipients were less likely to drop out. However, results pointed to these students taking a longer time to graduate. It is suspected that this is related to students who have taken time off from study in order to work full time and earn sufficient income to demonstrate their financial independence and qualify for independent Youth Allowance. It seems that taking this time off from study has a longer term detrimental effect with students in this situation actually taking longer to graduate.

Associate Professor Buly Cardak and Joe Vecci, who have been conducting this study together, are hoping to conduct further analysis over the coming years on this issue, and to consider ways to improve the circumstances for financially disadvantaged students.

To read the full article in which this research has been published, see: Cardak, B.A. and J. Vecci, “Graduates, Dropouts and Slow Finishers: The Effects of Socioeconomic Status on University Educational Outcomes”, Oxford Bulletin Of Economics and Statistics.

 

Australian Suppliers and the Asian export region: Austrade presentation to Marketing students

AG1


At Bundoora campus on 18th September and broadcast to Bendigo and Albury Wodonga campuses, Austrade representative David Jamieson, delivered a presentation to marketing students gathered at the 3 campuses.


Mr Jamieson, who heads up the Food and Beverage section in Austrade, reported on the latest developments and opportunities in food and beverage export markets, in particular, in the Asian region. Asia remains the regional market with the largest potential for Australian food and beverages. He reported on one of the biggest Australian food and beverage export successes in recent years: Australian suppliers are now shipping tens of thousands of litres of fresh milk every week to China, by airfreight, and yet this is only meeting a fraction of Chinese demand. However, Australia’s position as a major high quality food and beverage supplier to the Asian region is under threat due to intense competition from other supplier countries, and in particular, from huge investments in branding by large food and beverage companies like Nestle (Europe), Kraft (the U.S) and Fonterra (New Zealand). The importance of brand development by Australian companies in the Asian region has never been greater. A remarkable feature of some of the more advanced consumer food and beverage markets in Asia, such as Japan, is the increasing use of online mobile shopping. In the picture below, while one passenger waits to board a subway train, a consumer purchases food advertised on the side of that train, using a QR code via his smartphone, for home delivery later that day.


At the conclusion of the presentation, Mr Jamieson and Dr Gilmore engaged with students in a lengthy Q and A session on various aspects of Austrade’s international operations and employment opportunities for students in Austrade.
To find out more about La Trobe Business School’s Department of Marketing and what activities they are planning and opportunities for students, visit their website.


AG2

© 2017 Business Newsroom

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑