Dan's Rants Uncategorized

Innovation = Creativity + Implementation

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I came across this neat equation doing a subject led by Bob Sutton at Stanford.  It resonated with me, in part because I’ve been wrestling with whats the difference between research and innovation,  and how they contribute to the knowledge economy. The knowledge economy being something Australia would like to have in addition to ‘we can dig stuff up’ and come look at our beautiful country before we dig all that stuff up.

Creativity is something that goes hand in hand with research, research being something that is fundamentally creative in nature. Knowledge, lots of it and not just in a narrow band its a pretty important tool to unleash creativity. Its something Australia’s research institutions are known for, though sometimes its trapped in very narrow bands organisationally and in the way grants are funded (but that’s another story). The coming together of lots of knowledge at the boundaries of disciplines I reckon is where all the action is,  sports and technology being just one of those intersections. Certainly, thats been my playground for the last 20yrs.

Knowledge is also a trap, the trap of knowing can blind us to opportunities, I guess this is where the creativity comes in, by banding together with other disciplines joins our knowledge, but importantly the childlike fascination as we can ask those dumb questions that can be so illuminating.

Implementation is something that challenges too. Implementation is, for run-of-the-mill science just the proving, often on a bench, that the science works, or the significance of a study is (err) significant. Here being able to report these results to the scientific community is implementation done! After all these are the metrics of research, so why go beyond that? It’s a good question, to take something beyond this is hard, making the first prototype, finding out if it’s useful, are big and often the most expensive steps. This means talking to people and looking for needs. But it also means tangible support and commitment to doing this personally and organisationally. It’s sad we can top the charts with our OECD brethren in research yet the transfer to industry not so much.

Our new PM is making all the right noises to encourage this in a serious way, let’s hope we see implementation beyond the creativity here as well…interesting times.

See his thoughts here

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