Australian CEOs back their ability to innovate and thrive

Gary Wingrove, CEO, KPMG
Gary Wingrove, CEO

Australian CEOs are more optimistic about their company’s future growth prospects and the world economic outlook than their global counterparts. This is despite 15 percent of Australian CEOs confirming their business had experienced either flat or negative growth over the past three years compared to global.

The 2016 KPMG Global CEO Outlook Study is a barometer of global leaders’ thinking of what lies ahead for business. A worldwide snapshot of what keeps them up at night, business disrupters and trends. How they anticipate their business growth and challenges, and where these will come from in the future.

For global CEOs, the next three years are seen to be critical; much more so than the last fifty years. Australian leaders agree, but they are exhibiting a more confident, bullish attitude to the future.

It is the competitive market and technology, rather than economic conditions that are now top of mind with Australian CEOs – who say they are taking an ‘accelerated’ approach to innovation compared to 35 percent globally.

It seems that Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s ‘National Innovation and Science Agenda’ has struck a chord with Australian CEOs. They see innovation as a key strategic tool to deliver success – with innovation, digital transformation and disruption as their key strategic drivers. Twenty eight percent of Australian CEOs nominated ‘fostering innovation’ as one of their top three strategic priorities – compared to 21 percent globally.

Only Chinese CEOs eclipse this with 43 percent claiming this a key priority.

But this doesn’t come without some trepidation, with more than 80 percent of both Global and Australian CEOs concerned about integrating automation such as artificial intelligence and cognitive, as well as continuing to keep abreast of competitive product and services developments.

‘Who dares wins’ could be the motto adopted for Australian CEOs, with more than 9 percent saying they are taking on too much risk – more than double the global average, according to survey findings. But correspondingly, more than double the global average are also saying they have an outlook of greater than 10 percent top line growth over the next 3 years.

I’m focused on growing our business not only through cost management and efficiency, but through disruptive, game changing innovations to propel us forward.

In business, being comfortable with taking a higher level of risk and daring to work differently is not for the faint hearted.

Innovation can be uncomfortable, seemingly without any guidelines to refer to. However I believe that progressing our firm’s transition from a traditional, quite risk adverse business to an agile, innovative business means we have to experiment, and adopt a different mindset and ways of working.

Innovation requires a change in culture. And we are focused on doing exactly that.

The 2016 KPMG Global CEO Outlook Study is conducted by KPMG International with nearly 1300 CEOs from companies with revenues of USD 0.5 billion up to more than USD 10 billion, across nine industries, in ten countries – including 53 Australian CEO responses. To read the full study, click here.

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