A new network to foster and showcase innovation across the aged care industry has been launched by LASA at it’s annual National Congress.

The innovAGEING network will connect providers, suppliers, consumers, researchers and investors through events comprising biannual innovation labs, monthly online get-togethers, eight speaker events across Australia and an eight-week innovation program that will culminate in a business plan competition.

A national awards program will also be launched as part of the initiative.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the innovAGEING network has been designed to promote innovation within the industry and across the wider community.

“LASA believes that a national scale, collaborative approach to age services innovation is urgently needed as our industry responds to reform challenges, market opportunities, new technologies and changing consumer preferences,” he said.

“We need to accelerate innovation and collaboration in our industry to translate ideas into action, resulting in better outcomes for older Australians.”

Its launch coincides with increasing numbers of providers struggling to attract investors to support innovation and growth agendas.

The Australian Financial Review reported this week that Melbourne-based Absolute Care & Health is seeking to raise $5 million as growth capital to expand its services and has hired Grant Thornton to oversee the offer.

The initiative is being led by LASA’s Principal Advisor – Innovation, Merlin Kong, who is a former Liberal staffer in the ACT Government. Mr Kong recently joined LASA after a stint at the Property Council.

Participation in the innovAGEING network is open to all providers of aged care and support, suppliers of products and services to the industry, relevant university centres and researchers, age services consumer groups, interested public sector agencies and investors.

However, despite increased collaboration between the aged care industry associations on policy and funding issues impacting the industry, neither ACSA nor the Aged Care Guild have been involved in the new network.

It is also unclear how the network will impact on the Aged Care Industry IT Council, which is jointly owned by LASA and ACSA and runs the annual ITAC conference.

Mr Rooney said discussions are underway with potential innovAGEING partners to align with the Government’s innovation agenda and aged care sector reform initiatives.

According to LASA consumer-driven reform initiatives have resulted in over 50 per cent of market share shifting from not-for-profit to for-profit providers in the United Kingdom and incumbent New Zealand providers losing up to 30 per cent of their clients to new entrants over the last decade.