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

How Many Reviews Does it Take to Change a System?

Consultation closed yesterday on the Review of Australia’s Research Training System by the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA). For those of you playing at home, yes, I *did* post recently about another public consultation process that also closed yesterday, and yes, I *did* suggest it had great potential to lift the innovation industries out of a long running problem – for a semi-controlled riff on the consultation blues, you can have a look at my post today on LinkedIn.

Back to the ACOLA review, and before I go any further I should be clear: any criticisms (and there will be some, trust me) in this post are in no way directed at ACOLA or the well-respected and very busy people on the Expert Working Group tasked with completing it. This review was not their idea, and I have no doubt they will do their best to make it a constructive investment of public monies. I had the pleasure of meeting Working Group Chair John McGagh several years ago when he was head of Global Innovation for Rio Tinto, and that’s just the kind of man he is.

That said, it’s not exactly news that workforce capability and development outside technical aptitude has been a recurring challenge for the innovation industries: Continue reading