Valley innovator?s vision recognised
By ALEX EASTON
The Northern Star
NORTHERN Rivers businesses are shunning innovation and are stagnating as a result, a local business consultant has warned business groups and inventors.
Addressing an awards ceremony for local inventors yesterday, WHK Rutherfords business manager Graham Correy said a survey by WHK Rutherfords had found 70 per cent of North Coast businesses received less than 30 per cent of their turnover from new products and services.
"They have stagnated and are falling behind the competition," Mr Correy said.
The comments came as the region's inventors gathered at Lismore City Hall for the INR Technology and Innovation Awards.
The top prize at the ceremony went to Maclean inventor Dennis Gravolin, who has spent 15 years developing an instrument called 'Trailer Vision' that lets motorists know if the lights on their trailers or caravans are working.
Mr Gravolin said he was already getting strong interest from trailer-hire companies and expected the invention would be available at automotive retail shops by next year for $87.
Mr Gravolin said he already had two new inventions he was working on -? a new type of fan that used frozen blades to generate cold air and a toilet that monitors its user's health.
Merit award winner Jack Treacey, who has invented a device that lets people hang things on brick walls without using bolts or drills, already has two production centres -? one at Lismore Challenge and one in his Yamba backyard.
Mr Treacey said he was already selling the Brick Grip at the Liberty service station at Yamba and hoped to expand that to other service stations.
Other merit award winners included Lismore resident Rodney Johnson, who has invented a portable locker system, and Kyogle man Peter Thompson, who has invented a water-saving device for showers.
Mr Correy said local businesses needed to put more focus on innovation if they wanted to increase profits.
Mr Correy said efforts by multinational companies such as 3M, Calvin Klein and Unilever to embed innovation into their organisations and to use that as a vehicle for growth could also be adopted by small local businesses.
Those efforts included encouraging lots of new ideas, acting fast when a good idea came along and favouring simple ideas.