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Australian NFPs Becoming More Innovative – Study

11 May 2017 at 11:28 am
Lina Caneva
The 2017 GiveEasy Innovation Index has reported a 9 per cent increase in innovation performance by Australian not-for-profit organisations in the last 12 months – with several newcomers topping the list of leading innovators.

Lina Caneva | 11 May 2017 at 11:28 am


Australian NFPs Becoming More Innovative – Study
11 May 2017 at 11:28 am

The 2017 GiveEasy Innovation Index has reported a 9 per cent increase in innovation performance by Australian not-for-profit organisations in the last 12 months – with several  newcomers topping the list of leading innovators.

The Index, released Thursday, revealed an overall innovation score for the sector of 63.3 – up from 58.3 in 2016.

Jeremy Tobias, CEO of digital giving provider GiveEasy, said the latest research into innovation performance showed clear cultural and behavioural changes in not-for-profit organisations.

“Pleasingly, we can see that NFPs have pivoted from keeping up with innovation to embracing and embedding innovative practices into their organisations,” Tobias said.

He told Pro Bono News that while there was still room for improvement, it was clear that progress was being made.

The eight key vectors: Technology, Internal Collaboration, External Collaboration, Innovation Focus, Openness of Culture/Vision, Organisational Velocity, Rewards/Recognition and Stakeholder Centricity.

“Based on eight criteria or ‘innovation vectors’ the highest performing area in 2017 was technology,” Tobias said.

“NFPs see technology as a key driver of innovation, with more than half of NFPs recognising that the speed of digital transformation is driving technology innovation within their organisation.

“NFPs are now morphing into digital businesses, as the analogue approach is slow and time consuming. The digital economy speeds up the process of bringing new products to market, providing access to a wider donor community and new opportunities for collaboration.”

Tobias said GiveEasy was also seeing the sector shift towards digital giving.

“One of the other key vectors measured in the index to assess the level of innovation was ‘stakeholder centricity’. It jumped an astonishing 11.5 points in 2017 – an annual increase of 23 per cent. In previous years, this was the lowest performing vector, measuring 50.1 in 2015 and 50.7 in 2016.

“As NFPs exist to serve their beneficiaries, improved stakeholder focus is great news. Highly innovative NFPs are collaborating more with their communities, employees, volunteers and beneficiaries. Increasingly the service experience is more approachable, more human, which matches the public perception of the sector.”

The index also measured organisational culture.

“This has a huge impact on innovation success, with high innovators encouraging and measuring innovation year-on-year,” Tobias said.

“Highly innovative groups encourage employees and incentivise knowledge sharing. Leading innovators are moving away from financial targets towards recognising and rewarding innovative and collaborative ways of working.”

Topping the list of the most innovative NFP based on total index scores was Cure Brain Cancer Foundation – which has held the top spot for three consecutive years.

Second place went to the Movember Foundation followed by two newcomers to the index, Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the Breast Cancer Network Australia.

The top NFP innovators, as voted by their peers, were Thankyou, Movember and beyondblue.

“Thankyou rose from seventh position in 2016 to number one in 2017 in the peer voting,” Tobias said.

The 2017 GiveEasy Innovation Index provides the NFP sector with a year-on-year assessment tracking and measuring innovation.

The 2017 partners were Australia Post, Westpac and the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM).

More than 1,400 people took part in the innovation index survey. Each respondent was asked to indicate their level of agreement to 32 statements regarding their organisation’s innovation capability based on a 0 to10 scale of agree or disagree.

Lina Caneva  |  Editor  |  @ProBonoNews

Lina Caneva has been a journalist for more than 35 years. She was the editor of Pro Bono Australia News from when it was founded in 2000 until 2018.

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