Sunday 22 January 2017

Is QVM Holding Back Innovation?

Many Queen Vic Market traders are keen to seek out new ways of achieving business success. It is a new year and a new opportunity to address the significant challenges that retailing is presenting to us right now. Some traders are asking if trader innovation is really high on management’s agenda at QVM.

At QVM we are deep into the planning for a renewal so innovating, or preparing and changing for future realities, is a significant component. But much of that work is done at project level and we have already seen protests from traders who feel detached from the process. We are assured that the trader input will be a key component as the detail is examined.

But what about the innovation that comes from traders right now? What about the new ideas that come from small business operators who want to make their direct mark on improving the Queen Vic Market and make it more relevant to consumers? What about the grass-roots knowledge and expertise that is willing to innovate and experiment with day to day business activity? What about the trader who simply wants to improve his or her business and take opportunities that seem to be clearly available in our market? We have opportunities like empty stalls and even empty lock-up shops that are not being utilised.

We are not talking about major changes here. It might be introducing new lines, creating (or at least experimenting with) new businesses, making better use of trading space, moving stalls, or trading extra days. There is a perception amongst a number of traders that management are stifling that sort of innovation. And usually the excuse is -"We are waiting for future plans to become clearer." Every trader who has an innovative idea deserves to get support or at least a transparent explanation. Maybe we simply need more resources to achieve that.

The newly appointed federal minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Arthur Sinodinos, has reaffirmed his “keen appreciation of the importance of science and innovation policies”, and his view that innovation emerges when government steps back and allows “workers, entrepreneurs and risk takers [to be] at the centre of the economy”.

Many traders would like to see more emphasis placed on innovation at the grass-roots level. It is all very well for long term projects to go on in the background at QVM, but traders need opportunities to improve their businesses, and make our market better, right now. If there are unreasonable barriers in the way, they need to be removed. Let's give the retail experts on the ground as much support as possible.

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