The more I am in business, the more I am convinced that research and development, refining products and improving all the time are critical to long term business success. A business can be relatively successful in the short or medium term due to a good product, strong business model or effective marketing but in order to stay relevant and sustainable long term, there is a constant need to innovate and be agile.

When analysing how we can do this, it often comes down to research and development. That is, what practices do we put in place in business to constantly review and refresh to build a better proposition for our customers? How do we shift the mindset of a business from surviving to thriving during challenging times? These are the questions that a business grapples with constantly but also once that government needs to reflect on given that they are in the best position to create the environment for industry led research and development.

This is a principle that applies to all industries and sectors. We are all striving to make constant improvements to our product and services. The importance of links between government led research and development through universities, schools and incubator hubs and industry is becoming more critical. This recognition that research and development is a joint responsibility of government and industry is important. This ability to create this environment is part of a thriving economy.

Government leaders need to make this a focus of their organisations in driving a research and development and improvement culture within their communities. What can we do to foster innovation? What relationships can we foster with our industries to ensure they stay ahead of the pack? Who are the leaders in industry we can partner with that can bring innovation and improvement to the broader market? All good questions to reflect on but harder to implement and achieve.

One of my favourite quotes from Charles Darwin is “it is not the strongest of species that survives but the one most adaptable to change”. If government can foster the need for constant research and development and the innovation and improvement that comes from it, it places businesses and their industries in the best possible position to adapt. This is a role that government needs to play not to guarantee survival of our industries and businesses but to create an environment where research and development and constant improvement is not a ‘nice to have’ but a must have.