Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Call For Fresh Approach To Innovation : Access to timely information about relevant opportunities and constraints

Image of State of Uncertainty

From the 5 May 2011 news release of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation

Leading British and Australian researchers have called for a fundamental change in the way western governments encourage innovation.

In a controversial new report they argue that, while innovation policy is a major preoccupation of governments in the UK, Australia and the west generally, it does not work as well as it should because it fails to address the biggest hurdles faced by innovators.

The report, entited ‘State of Uncertainty’, was written by Hasan Bakhshi, a director at Britain’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Dr Alan Freeman and Dr Jason Potts from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI).

In it, the authors say “The broadest barrier to effective entrepreneurial action that drives innovation processes, we argue, is good, timely information about relevant opportunities and constraints.”

Innovators are often hampered by not knowing what opportunities may exist for their ideas or what regulatory and other barriers lie in their path, the team argues.

“We challenge the idea, implicit in much existing practice, that governments operate levers that affect innovation in predictable ways, and argue that innovation policy should instead be regarded as a process of discovery,” the researchers say.

“This calls for an institutional role we term ‘the experimental state’, where experimental processes are embedded in publicly supported innovative activity – without constraining the innovators within the rigid, pre-ordained coordinates of a traditional industrial ‘plan’ or ‘growth strategy’. The authors argue that there should be less emphasis on tax and spend to support innovation, and more on experimental development, clusters, demonstration projects and strategic innovation funds. [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]

In this, public activities could be directed at ensuring that private discoveries are documented and made public to the innovation community, helping to reduce the uncertainty in which the developers of new ideas and new products now operate. [Editor Flahiff’s emphasis]…

…Their report “State of Uncertainty” is published by NESTA and is available for download at:…

May 3, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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