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    The real value of technical innovation

    proberts     |      June 5, 2008

    Yes, process and entreprenurial innovation is crucial – but let's not forget the importance technical innovation.

    It is always hazardous to make a distinction between technical and non-technical innovation, lest one be accused of favouring one over the other. As has been pointed out, technical innovation is still a critical area where Australia is falling behind the rest of the world.

    Business spends only the equivalent of one per cent of GDP on R&D, half the OECD average and a third of that of the leaders – even Icelandic business does better. Our venture capital sector which might fund businesses to come from research is 0.1 per cent of GDP – again even Iceland manages more. Australia accounts for a mere one half of one per cent of global exports in technology-intensive industries.

    The fact is there are few R&D driven business on the stock exchange other than the familiar, Cochlear, Resmed and CSL. Most of our top companies are banks or miners. Multi nationals from Ericcson to JDS Uniphase have voted with their feet and ceased large scale R&D in Australia while most global giants in pharmaceuticals and IT spend a fraction on R&D locally compared to overseas rates.

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    Interoperability By Design

    Greg Stone     |      June 3, 2008

    In the last month alone, the government announced more than 630 submissions have been received towards its Review of the National Innovation System. It also launched a national program of festivals to increase innovation awareness in the wider community.

    We know innovation is central to Australia’s economic future, arresting the ‘brain drain’ and ensuring we continue to build strong, non-resources led, alternative export industries, among other macroeconomic drivers. We also know that government policy provides a strong foundation for fostering and encouraging innovation.

    But it’s also up to industry and the businesses within them to make incisive judgements on how to best leverage the skills and resources they have to ensure Australia retains a reputation for innovation, particularly on the international stage.

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    Inputs required from Mums

    bheeshmachand     |      May 30, 2008

    Valuable inputs required for paper on Parenthood, Pregnancy, Birth and Post Birth

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    Is re-blogging really engaging?

    StephenWilson     |      May 30, 2008

    The Open Forum administrator has recently reproduced here a great many blog posts by politicians and others from their own blogs. This is generally very interesting, and makes for a good read. But I've noticed that most of the subsequent discussion threads go cold very quickly. Moreover, I don't think I have seen a single […]

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    Gains from trade: vouchsafing the public good of liquidity in financial markets

    Nicholas Gruen     |      May 29, 2008

    Nicholas Gruen

    You may not know it but around 20% of the home loan market has just collapsed – the securitisation market. The banks are moving into the space and, as a result, rationing credit elsewhere. Below the fold is an op ed in the Age about it.  It introduces a theme you'll probably be seeing a little more of from me.

    In a paper I published in 1997 (I think it was) I argued that while competitive neutrality was a good thing, it was possible to have too much of it – at least where it stopped us making the best possible use of the specific qualities of the public sector.  But an alternative and in many cases ultimately more compelling principle is the desirability of making gains through trade. There are some things the public sector does better than the private sector, and it should be able to do them – prudently and within appropriate institutional frameworks.  This column outlines one.  I will outline some others if and when I get the time.

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    The Gruen Transfer

    Nicholas Gruen     |      May 29, 2008

    Those with an unusual surname have to get used to spelling it.  No it’s not Gluner.  Not Glueball or Grewbie it’s Gruen "G-R-U-E-N".  The compensation is,  your name identifies you or a family member pretty clearly.

    But odd things happen to Gruens.  In the 1990s I believe some activists were unable to register "The Australian Green Party" because it was similar to the Greens.  So for over a decade, Gruens marking their ballot papers wondered just who the Australian Gruen Party were, and why they hadn’t been in touch.

    And now I’m getting daily e-mails asking if my finance company is really becoming the Gruen Bank, the first commercial outfit to advertise on the ABC.  And what was Andrew Denton doing holding up Gruen Beer at the Logies?

    You can find out tomorrow night when The Gruen Transfer premiers on ABC TV.

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    The YouTube election that wasn’t

    jim.macnamara     |      May 29, 2008

    Claims that the recent Australian Federal election was the "YouTube election" or an ‘e-election’ are greatly exaggerated.

    There was a lot of hype about how Web 2.0 technologies allegedly influenced the last Federal Election. However, research shows that much of the claimed impact of YouTube, MySpace, Facebook, blogs and other ‘new’ media remains questionable at this stage. 

    From July through to November as the election campaign rolled out traditional print and television media were awash with claims that wikis, blogs, vlogs as well as websites like Facebook, and YouTube were changing the way we deal with our politicians, and the way they deal with us.

  • Identity Management in New Zealand, CeBIT Australia and the Merry Month of May …

    Malcolm Crompton     |      May 28, 2008

    In the world of information governance and a fair go for the individual in dealings with business and government, how has it felt this month?

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    The shifting expectations of corporate etiquette

    editor     |      May 28, 2008

    Mary Ann MaxwellBy Mary Ann Maxwell

    The expectation that all calls received will be responded to within 24 hours fails to take into account the way business is conducted today.

    Ever get that strange feeling that something's different? We all look the same, more or less, we're all out to achieve the same sorts of goals, but there's something very different about  the way we're talking to each other, and it's causing more than a bit of intergenerational confusion in the office.

    Those of us who have been in business for the last few decades should be forgiven for feeling a little out of sorts with more recent entrants into the business community. See, we came into the corporate world at a time where hierarchies were strictly observed, and controlled by the simple fact that there were relatively few forms of communication we could use to break down those walls.

    Things have changed, some for better, and some, well, for not so better, but the only way we're going to be at peace in this emergent business world is to recalibrate the rules, and update our expectations when it comes to communication.

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    Politics & Technology (& blogging) conference coming up in Canberra

    editor     |      May 28, 2008

    Andrew Bartlett

    Andrew Bartlett questions the value of the internet in increasing participation in the democratic process.

    On June 25, during my final sitting week in Parliament, I'll be speaking at a Politics & Technology conference organised by Microsoft. The keynote speaker will be US political writer, Matt Bai. I guess it will sort of mark the point I make a shift from a blogging politician to a person blogging about politics.

    The roles of blogs in political campaigning seems to vary a lot from country to country. There is nothing remotely comparable in Australia or the UK to the way blogs have developed in the USA. This piece by Matt Bai from 2006 details the first major convention of liberal (i.e. left leaning) bloggers in the USA, attended not just by 1000 or so bloggers, (including a few with a daily readership on a par with all but the largest newspapers), but also by major political heavyweights like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean. Even though this might at first seem like a huge shift in political influence, Bai puts in it context…

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    Bringing government to the people through the web

    Hon. Lindsay Tanner     |      May 23, 2008

    How do we adapt the static and process driven world of the bureaucracy to the more dynamic and innovative world of the collaborative web?

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    Responding to the skills shortage

    Glenn Withers     |      May 22, 2008

    Glenn Withers

    No matter how you look at it, our future will be built on a skilled workforce.

    At a time when employers are finding it increasingly difficult to source the skills they need to get the economy moving, it is becoming increasingly clear that we need to invest in the dramatic upskilling of our workforce to defend ourselves against, and benefit from, the emerging economic giants to our north.

    We have the advantage of being first movers, we already have the tertiary eduction structures in place, but our neighbours are investing massively in improving their education market, and we should be looking at moving further up the value chain to retain competitive advantage.

    What is very important is that the prosperity we are enjoying now was built on the educational achievements of our predecessors. For the economy to prosper we need to ensure that those who are going into the workforce have first had access to excellent schooling, so they are ready to take on the challenges and learn throughout their lives.