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  • 11 November 2015 07:48

Australian Businesses Lack Curiosity – Impacts Technology Innovation

Rackspace study shows curious organisations more likely to see greater technological innovation and application in the workplace

Sydney, Australia – 11 November 2015 – A Rackspace® (NYSE: RAX) study on curiosity has revealed the majority of Australian & New Zealand businesses do not place enough emphasis on curiosity in the workplace. According to employees surveyed, this leads to a loss of ‘technology potential’, such as greater technological innovation of products and services and technology application in the workplace.

A Curious Technology GAP

The Rackspace Curiosity Quotient questioned 1,368 Australian and New Zealand white-collar workers. It found that of the 44 per cent of respondents that believed their organisation was curious[Footnote 1], 77 per cent agreed curiosity played an important role towards innovating new products and services. That number drops dramatically to just 36 per cent in non-curious organisations.

Similarly, in curious organisations, 85 per cent of respondents agreed that it is essential to be curious about technology and its application in the workplace, compared to 57 per cent in non-curious organisations.

Of the overall respondents surveyed:

* 80 per cent said it was important to be curious in life generally

* 73 per cent agreed it was important to be curious within their day to day job

* 63 per cent strongly agreed that curiosity played an important role in driving increased revenues in the business

* 70 per cent agreed it was essential to be ‘curious about technology and its application in the workplace’

* 67 per cent agreed that ‘technology had enabled a greater level of professional potential for them at work’

Angus Dorney, director and general manager, Rackspace ANZ comments, “Rackspace undertook a detailed study of the role of curiosity within business and what the implications of greater curiosity are. Being curious about technology is extremely important in helping us to manage complexity and gain more knowledge to manage disruption.

“But time away from technology is equally important too. The human touch is critical in supporting technology and what it can do. Technology can be a huge competitive advantage, but it is the people that piece it all together that make competitive advantage real.”

Small business knows when to switch off 65 per cent of respondents agreed it was important to switch off from technology, ‘enabling periods of thinking and quiet’ time. Yet only 37 per cent surveyed said their workplace encouraged time away from technology for day-to-day contemplation.

The story is different for smaller businesses. In those with a turnover of between $200k and $2m, 60 per cent surveyed were encouraged to take time away from technology, compared to just 34 per cent in those businesses earning over $10m.

Supporting this, 46 per cent of respondents said that switching off ‘enabled them to foster a greater sense of curiosity’. Australians it seems are more inclined to do this (48 per cent), over New Zealanders (37 per cent).

Is a technology ‘underclass’ forming?

As technology becomes front and centre of our lives and the businesses we work in, the interesting dichotomy is that while technology has made our lives easier, faster, cheaper and more productive, it is leaving some people behind.

Encouragingly, 61 per cent of respondents said they ‘used technology to stay ahead of developments that are making old skills obsolete.’ However, 55 per cent said that ‘jobs were becoming harder to come by due to increased levels of technology-driven job automation’. This highlights the need to be increasingly curious about technology and the skills it can provide.

Greg Symons, CEO and founder, ClearMatch and co-founder of SocietyOne comments, “There is a divide occurring in technological prowess or skill. I think the people most at risk are those that sit in the middle of their technical skills. You’re either using your curiosity and your skill set and your knowledge to automate, or you will be automated.”

More information can be found at: www.rackspace.com/curiosity

-ENDS-

Survey Methodology The study was conducted by AMR. It questioned white-collar workers, aimed at discovering drivers of personal, professional and organisational curiosity, their relationship with technology and how these factors can be combined to attain and enhance ‘personal and professional potential’

A pilot study of Australian white-collar workers ran in July 2015 amongst n=350 respondents. The main study ran in September 2015 amongst a further n=1,018 respondents across Australia and New Zealand. This was made up of 1,040 Australian and 328 New Zealand white-collar workers. Respondents were sourced through The ORU research panel and screened on the following criteria: * Aged 18+ * In full-time, paid employment * Personal gross annual income of $50,000+ (AUD/NZD) * Not working in skilled/unskilled labour role / Non sole trader

About Rackspace Rackspace (NYSE: RAX), the #1 managed cloud company, helps businesses tap the power of cloud computing without the challenge and expense of managing complex IT infrastructure and application platforms on their own. Rackspace engineers deliver specialized expertise on top of leading technologies developed by AWS, Microsoft, OpenStack, VMware and others, through a results-obsessed service known as Fanatical Support®. The company has more than 300,000 customers worldwide, including two-thirds of the FORTUNE 100. Rackspace was named a leader in the 2015 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Cloud-Enabled Managed Hosting, and has been honored as one of Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For in six of the past eight years. Learn more at www.rackspace.com.

Forward-Looking Statement This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions. If such risks or uncertainties materialize or such assumptions prove incorrect, the results of Rackspace Hosting could differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements and assumptions. All statements other than statements of historical fact are statements that could be deemed forward-looking statements, including any statements about Rackspace survey results that may suggest trends for the industry; any statements relating to expected or predicted behaviors of consumers and the impact of cloud computing; any statements of expectation or belief directly relating to Rackspace business derived from the survey results; any statements of expectation or belief regarding future events, and any statements of assumptions underlying any of the foregoing. Risks, uncertainties and assumptions include a substantial margin of error in the survey results, inconsistencies in respondent’s understanding and Rackspace’s analysis of survey questions and results, the possibility that expected benefits from any shift in consumer behavior may not materialize as expected; the achievement of expected operational results from any shift in consumer behavior; changes in the economy, technological and competitive factors, regulatory factors and other risks that are described in Rackspace Hosting’s Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2015, filed with the SEC on August 10, 2015. Except as required by law, Rackspace Hosting assumes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements publicly, or to update the reasons actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements, even if new information becomes available in the future.

Media Contact:

Amy Kirk amy@thefactuary.com.au +61 448 936 897

Dan Bleakman dan@thefactuary.com.au +61 439 408 484

[Footnote 1] A Curious organistion was classified by asking respondents to what extent they agreed Curiosity was fostered in the workplace on a scale of 0-10. Those who answered 7 or above, were deemed to be curious. Those who answered 0-6 were deemed ‘n

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