“Venuturous Australia” at Pearcey awards event

Yesterday was a long and fascinating day of discussions about innovation in Australia.

At this year’s Pearcey Medal and NSW Pearcey State Award event, the focus was on the recently released innovation report from Terry Cutler with a focus on the effects on ICT (Information and Communication Technology).

If you only look at the summary report, you will miss the structure of the full report, which is why I have outlined it here:

  • Chapter 1 stalling not sprinting
  • Chapter 2 the national innovation system
  • Chapter 3 innovation in business
  • Chapter 4 the case for a public role in innovation
  • Chapter 5 strengthening people and skills
  • Chapter 6 building excellence in national research
  • Chapter 7 information and market design
  • Chapter 8 tax and innovation
  • Chapter 9 market facing programs
  • Chapter 10 innovation in government
  • Chapter 11 national priorities for innovation
  • Chapter 12 governance of the innovation system

I took home a few very interesting observations from reading the reports and from the discussions at the Pearcey event.

But before I can comment, I have to state which organisations I see as ICT innovators in Australia.

  • The government-funded ones are the Universities, NICTA and CSIRO (CRCs fall in the same general class).
  • The big drivers of transforming new research outcomes into business are start-ups and the SMEs.
  • Further innovation happens in large companies and multi-nationals with a stronger focus on incremental innovation rather than disruptive innovation.
  • In ICT, we need to add another big driver of innovation: open source software. I’ll explain this later in more depth.


The following observations on VenturousAustralia and what I took away from the Pearcey awards are on these topics:

  1. Support of fundamental R&D in ICT
  2. Commercialisation of ICT innovation
  3. Enabling SMEs to succeed
  4. Regard for the contribution of Open Source

TOPIC: ICT and innovation

At the Pearcey awards, we had long discussions about whether ICT was appropriately represented in the report and whether the recommendations are pushing ICT further into a supportive role while missing our opportunities to innovate and lead in core ICT.

It is generally accepted that ICT has a major effect on the productivity increase of almost all Australian industries. DCITA reports show that in service industries, between 35 and 65 per cent of productivity growth is estimated to have been driven by technological factors

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