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Business innovation in uncertain times

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Words
Brigid Veale
Published
22 May 2009
Creating a culture of innovation in small to medium businesses is the key to adapting to the changing economic and social environment.

That’s the message from Dr Teresa Marchant, from Southern Cross University’s Graduate College of Management, who will be the guest speaker at a seminar ‘Business innovation in uncertain times’.

The seminar is being held at Southern Cross University’s Coffs Harbour campus on Wednesday, May 27 as part of the Mid North Coast Innovation Festival.

“Business operators need to listen to their customers and employees and not assume that their business can just stay the same,” Dr Marchant said.

“Climate change, the ageing population and new technology are just some of the changes that will impact on businesses in the coming years. But, these shouldn’t be seen as just doom and gloom – they can also create new opportunities.”

Dr Marchant, who has owned and operated small businesses, as well as working in the corporate sector, said small to medium businesses were ideally placed to be innovative and creative.

“Large organisations have got a lot of built-in inertia and bureaucracy. In the small business environment it’s much easier to look at new ways of operating and reacting quickly to changing circumstances,” she said.

Using examples from local and international businesses, her seminar will look at how innovation can contribute to success.

Also speaking at the seminar will be Associate Professor of Psychology Rick van der Zwan, who will look at how human personality traits and characteristics affect the stock market.

Professor van der Zwan will be particularly looking at why, when people are given the same information, some become bullish and others bearish.

“It turns out that humans are systematically and predictably poor at calculating probabilities and that makes us very often over or under-estimate likely outcomes. The way information is presented is important,” Professor van der Zwan said.

“I will be talking about how judgements of risk are made and some strategies for ways of reducing the risks associated with human frailty when making judgements about markets and business generally.”

The seminar is free and open to business operators and members of the community. It is being held at the Southern Cross University Coffs Harbour campus, D Block theatre, Wednesday, May 27, 5.30pm for 6pm start. RSVP to [email protected] or phone 66593183.

Photo: Teresa Marchant will be one of two speakers at a business seminar on May 27.