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We seem to be going through some kind of watershed in this country. It’s not clear yet whether it’s the dawning of an age of enlightenment, but some of the signs are promising.

We have a government and Stephen Joyce, Minister of Business, Innovation and Employment (and Science and Innovation) seemingly prepared to raise the bar, and the government’s financial commitment to fostering science and innovation as a way to improve our economic prospects.

But to keep things in perspective, I enjoy reading a couple of useful commentators, Peter Kerr at SticK and Pattrick Smellie of BusinessDesk.

Kerr’s recent blog post A solution to our lack of shared purpose around a science-innovation strategy was particularly on the money I thought. Politics is so adversarial that politicians are prone to reinventing things and promoting grand schemes to gain advantage, when the answers are often already under our noses.

If there is one thing that’s consistent and certain about our chances of harnessing our true innovative future, it is to look to the creative talent and business entrepreneurship which exists right now. That is why the Technology Valley statement of purpose and mission says:

A Technology Valley vision has been created as a means of engaging stakeholders to be empowered and to help shape the economic development that occurs within their communities, neighbourhoods and business groups. This approach is based on the view that these entities and communities naturally relate to their own particular needs and circumstances first, and must therefore be given the means of self determination so that they can support a wider agreed form of appropriate and profitable economic development. Only then might it avoid the top-down and fragmented efforts of the past, receive buy-in at every level, and be sustainable.

But we also need some vision, leadership and common purpose. How do we get that? The other brilliant point Kerr makes is about working together when he says, “ What we desperately need is an integrated innovation system from the fundamental science through technology development to commercial exploitation of the results.”

Also see Pattrick Smellie on Callaghan Innovation, 8 March 2013 


Author connections:

Fraser Carson is a thinker, problem solver, innovator and commentator. He has particular experience and interest in marketing, communications and social media. In 2012 he launched, a radical new concept to build online communities. He is also a member of the Technology Valley Working Group and this website is built using the Flightdec Communities platform.

New Zealand. From cowshed to watershed

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