Well at least it’s not a Review – PM’s Roundtable to Seek Ways to Get Innovation out of Unis

According to Ben Potter in today’s Australian Financial Review, the Prime Minister is continuing his hands-on approach to tackling some of the seemingly intractable problems in the Australian Innovation System with a small and focused discussion in Western Sydney, touted by many (well, at least many in Western Sydney) as Australia’s current focal point for start-ups and innovation:

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has summoned university and research agency chiefs to a private meeting on Friday aimed at finding ways to drive more industry collaboration and innovative businesses….It marks a return to “industry policy” more typically associated with Labor governments, but with less emphasis on “picking winners” and more emphasis on pushing researchers to see if they can turn their ideas into businesses.

And while I’m not at all sure about the call for Christopher Pyne to ‘release his inner revolutionary’, one can’t help hoping that from within the group of Bright Minds – CSIRO’s new-ish CEO Larry Marshall and Super Scientist Professor Ian Chubb are among the 20 attendees – there will be some frank and honest talk that admits if the higher education sector were going to come up with a solution to this problem on their own, they would have done so by now. Continue reading

Three Signs You Should Not be enrolling in an MBA (and One that You Should)

Earlier this week, I published a post on LinkedIn drawing three lessons from Queensland’s recent domination of the Australian Financial Review (AFR)/BOSS biennial review of Australia’s best MBA programs. For those who missed the results, Queensland schools took out four of the top five positions, including the top spot, with another two schools in the top eight of a survey that gives its highest weighting to the value graduates put on their experience. At the crux of each of the lessons was one central truth: in a market as crowded as that of Australia’s MBA providers, the key is to give the people what they want. Which raises a question for those thinking about undertaking an MBA – what do you want? And is an MBA the right way to get it? Here are three signs your plans to commit serious time and money to an MBA – the winner of the best value-for-money title (also a Queenslander: number 8 overall) has full-time fees of $AU32,400 – may not be the best way to get what you’re really after: Continue reading

Stars or Strategy? – Why the Innovation Industries need AVCAL to Stay Focussed

AVCAL, the Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Limited, has announced a pretty interesting line-up for its 2015 conference in Melbourne this September. Interesting, in part because the theme they appear to be weaving through all their activities – Building Better Business – doesn’t really seem to be reflected in the choice of speakers; in part, because the star speakers have some serious wattage; and in part in the sectors chosen as the focus for Spotlight sessions.  Continue reading

Why the Discussion about Commerce in Innovation Mustn’t Be All about Start-Ups

Lately it seems every time I’m around a conversation about making the most of innovation, in no time flat it will transform into a soapbox about start-ups. Start-ups not being properly funded, the need for more start-ups, someone making a motza from a start-up. Granted, that is due in part to the fact that I’m currently developing a course called Conversational Commercialisation. And in part its probably because since I started Your Commercial Foundations (YCF), I’ve been practically chanting “Commerce is more than Commercialisation”, but Conversational Uptake just isn’t as catchy, so I’m irritated by my own shallowness the whole time I’m writing.

But that still leaves a large part that has everything to do with the broader shallowness that seems to fixate so many in the knowledge industries on the seemingly big bucks that commercialisation-through-start-up seems to promise everyone if only our innovation system would function optimally.  Continue reading

The Five Websites You Should Visit That Are Probably News to You

When I chose the tag line for this blog – services and support for innovators and creators – it was because that was what I really, really wanted to do. Not to pontificate from a soapbox (sorry, that should read “just pontificate”), but to provide content that would be of use to those smarter and more skilled than I in their pursuit of their excellence. The logic being, if I can’t make the world better by an idea, technology, creation or innovation, my contribution can be making it easier for those ideas, technologies, creations and innovations to make it to said world.

Which brings us to this post, in which I jeopardise my future value to the reader, by giving away all some of my most treasured sources, in the hopes that giving you a direct route won’t necessarily mean you’ll cut out the middle man. Screw it; consider it a sign of how much I believe my own tag line….  Continue reading

Filling the Skills Gap for Innovators – A Rant

There appears to be a growing perception in the innovation industry base, particularly but by no means exclusively in those in their first 10 years of experience, that commerce equates to bringing an invention to market and as such, is irrelevant to them as “someone else does that”. And, at a time when headlines are full of gloomy stats regarding employment rates for graduates of tertiary and higher programs, one wonders if that misperception is a big part of the problem.  Continue reading

Why do we Need to Know about Commerce Anyway?

Cartoon 1For over a decade, multiple public and private sector reports have consistently identified the need for Australia’s graduates to acquire commercial savvy and innovative thinking in order to compete in a global marketplace for ideas. This is particularly so in the innovative industries which are widely accepted as the key to increasing productivity across economies, both directly and indirectly. However, as the Australian Research Council (ARC) noted in 2000, “Participation is unlikely by simply demanding that financiers take more risks or academics get involved for the good of society. It is important that action is taken to ensure that participation is based on mutual self-interest.” (Australian Research Council, 2000, p. 33)

Fundamentally, there are four reasons for innovators and creators to build and maintain a basic understanding of commerce, all of which can be seen as being entirely self-interested: Continue reading

Do you speak Commerce?

french translation: do you speak commerce German translation: do you speak commerce

May 15 is the launch of my second business:  second in birth date, but at least at the moment, primary in effort!  The concept of Your Commercial Foundations (YCF) has been festering for a number of years – over and over, I would see incredibly smart and capable clients not able to fully participate in their own projects and applications due to a lack of understanding of the commercial world and its priorities.

YCF is essentially an immersion course in the language and culture of the commercial world Continue reading

Putting the “Continuing” in Continuing Education

Changes in the mix of skills and occupations required by various industries influence the demand for education; this particularly influences mature-age students to return to education. The development of post-graduate courses and flexible methods for course delivery has allowed the expansion of this field over the past five years. In 2012-13, mature age students ie over 25 years old, accounted for 17.3% of the education and training market. Demand for these courses is high as people update and upgrade their knowledge and skills for career change and progression. Australia also has a strong record for participation in lifelong learning, measured against other OECD countries (IBISWorld Industry Report: Education and Training in Australia, February 2013.) Continue reading