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Sep 6, 2016

Forget STEM – Australia Needs A Chief Technology Officer

Commercial innovation in the 21st century is very focused on IT engineering and much less so on science. By way of example, I would suggest that over 90% of Silicon Valley’s investments over the last decade have gone into IT start-ups. At the moment, science is considered very ‘20th century’ in the tech investment world. The reason is that the comparative financial rewards for investments in IT are much higher, and with lower risks. It will take some time before this equation changes – we have a mountain of IT opportunities to work through and it will take decades before science once again becomes a primary focus of tech investment.

The comparative problem with a science [...]

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Sep 6, 2016

Drones, Droids and Robots

The Australian Federal Government’s ‘National Innovation and Science Agenda’ was hosting the school theme of  ‘Drones, Droids and Robots’ last month. The aim of this theme is to ‘embrace [in schools] … real-world application of autonomous technologies in areas including agriculture, mining, manufacturing, medicine and space and deep ocean exploration’.

A robot is pretty much any device that automatically performs physical tasks, sometime repetitively. The border between machines and robots can be quite fuzzy but we can say this; all robots are machines but not all machines are robots. Generally speaking robots include very high levels of computer control, many sensors and in [...]

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Feb 3, 2016

Henry Ford, Lies & Innovation

In an article in the Harvard Business Review, Patrick Vlaskovits has decided that the quote below, attributed to Henry Ford, was actually manufactured by one Jean-Marie Dru in 2002

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”

Often have I heard this quoted by those pedalling consulting services that will miraculously transform your employees into great innovators.

The consultant will generally float the idea that there are just two ways to innovate:

The dull way via customer feedback, or Through true innovation that is created by gifted visionaries that mostly ignore customer input and instead create innovation based solely [...]
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Oct 6, 2015

Australia’s High-Tech Start-Up Sector – Who Actually Wants One?

Some time back I wrote a paper outlining one hypothesis as to how the corporations in the Australian services sector could be encouraged by government intervention to require new sources of innovation as developed by a high-tech start-up sector.

In that paper I stated a view shared by many, that the world only needs one Silicon Valley.

The evidence? Firstly, Silicon Valley doesn’t just serve the USA, it is a magnet for entrepreneurs and risk capital from all over the world. Secondly, as Vivek Wadwha noted, “hundreds of regions all over the world [have] collectively spent tens of billions of dollars trying to build their versions of Silicon Valley. I don’t know of [...]

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