05 September 2007

If we don't succeed, we run the risk of failure

The Age have identified failed Liberal preselection candidate Josh Frydenberg as someone whose views are worth publishing. Going by his efforts so far, this appears to be a mistake: has Jason Koutsoukis has so trashed his own name that he's using someone else's?

As I said in my previous post, exposure in the media is a potent factor in securing Liberal preselection. Don't let any of that ABC/The Age bagging fool you: these people live to see their name in the paper, and I bet no amount of criticism would rile this individual as much as if I misspelled his name.

Frydenberg sees his role as to not only defend the performance of the Howard government but also to suggest new ideas going forward. He fails on both counts. He doesn't address the gap between where we are and where we need to be, which is the whole point of an article like this.
WHAT do the wine cask, the bionic ear and the flight recorder all have in common?

All were invented and marketed in the face of a myriad of bureaucratic entanglements. Find out what these were Josh, whether they still apply and identify ways of removing those that do more harm than good Josh, there's a good chap. It might take more than a Wiki/Google search, but if you're the man people say you are then you can do it.
Australia needs to renew its commitment to generating ideas and exploiting them. At every stage of our economy, we need to be thinking creatively about new sources of value.

Firstly, this ignores the very good work that many people are doing toward this very end. Josh is showing that you can take the boy out of Canberra but he'll still be in a world of his own. Secondly, this point is so anodyne and has been made better by more sensible people: but this is only the second paragraph, so let's not be mean and give this article a chance of making a well-considered point.
the Howard Government has overseen an impressive increase in government investment in research and development ...

the promotion of closer industry and university co-operation


Firstly, you'd think that a $500,000 research grant from the government was equivalent to half a million dollars from the private sector - but you'd be wrong. After 11 years of Howard government and AWAs in the University sector, academic careers live or die by their success in attracting government funding. The public sector remains the light on the hill to which the eyes of academics are always turned - you don't have to be a leftie to see that.

Secondly, the Australian tax system should, like its US equivalent, provide significant tax incentives for donations to research institutions. The absence of this makes a mockery of "a sharper focus on education and training more generally" (sharper than what, Josh?). It also makes a mockery of notions that the GST back in the late 1990s, or trimming corporate tax a bit, is all the tax reform this country could possibly need.

Seriously though, if you're going to have universities do research into Queer Studies, wouldn't you rather it was funded by some old queen's bequest rather than some hapless minister who's past the novelty of Media Exposure?
The OECD ranks Australia outside its top 10 in the production of patents per head of population. This is below that of some of our competitor economies.

Ranking Australia anywhere below top of the list puts us below competitor economies. It shouldn't be necessary to create a blizzard of buzzwords to make a blindingly obvious point - but hey, this sort of thing has gotten Josh some Media Exposure, and that's all that matters apparently.

I should point out that the title of this post is meant to be ironic, a reference to the kind of anodyne fluff like the above that riddles this article.
there needs to be a revolution in business' approach to innovation. Companies need to exercise the apparent paradox of less caution but more discipline in the creation and development of next-generation business models.

This is a man who has ingested too much press-release piffle. An example would not only help understanding but be a great relief from this pointless verbiage. WTF is a next-generation business model, and do I need some merchant bank to help me offset the cost of implementing it (and the responsibility if it all goes wrong)?
It is not about incremental changes that will deliver the next quarter's profits but about encouraging creative thinking that goes beyond linear approaches ...

Incremental change is innovation. You can build a better mousetrap without genetically overhauling all members of species rodentia. Gutenberg's printing press was a slightly modified version of the wine press used for centuries in and around his home town of Mainz. All the great innovators knew that they stood on the shoulders of giants: if you want this sort of stuff get it direct from Tom Peters, no point filtering it through Josh.
... and challenges conformity in the workplace

Have you even heard of WorkChoices? You can bet that Josh's employer punishes companies for spending on research that isn't immediately and incredibly productive, and that Josh isn't rocking the boat trying to change this.
Many businesses have the innovative idea within their organisation and people; they just need to be prepared to take the risk and spend the time to create change.

Those who lead government and business have little time and actively seek to minimise risk. More than a century ago, Banjo Paterson wrote: "For townsfolk have no time to grow, they have no time to waste". All of the test between "First, there needs to be a revolution in business' approach to innovation" and "Others need to follow ..." is bullshit. Keeping it vague ain't keeping it real.
Other mid-sized economies, such as Ireland, Finland and Singapore, have capitalised on their proficiency in information technology to drive value-creating service sectors.

Yes, they have. What exactly is it about their economies and regulatory systems that we could use here, Josh? What is the Howard government doing, what should it be doing, to those ends, Josh? I'm increasingly of the opinion that we need to get rid of the Howard government to realise such a future, but for our man Josh this is touching the third rail.
The Federal Government is spending a record $6.5 billion on science and innovation in 2007-08, but federal and state initiatives need to be co-ordinated so that they are mutually reinforcing and deliver a common and agreed set of measurable goals.

How likely is that given Howard's commitment to duplicating federal-state functions? Do you really think state governments have a mother lode of research cash waiting to be invested? See my earlier point about private/public funding. One of us has to think about these issues, the other has a column with The Age.
Australians must demand world's best practice in science and maths teaching in schools and universities

By whom? With what? Why should a science graduate go teach at Frydenberg High when he/she could be taking your spot at Deutsche when you go off to Parliament, Josh? Answering that question might require more than an article, but the answer could make a useful policy paper. And if you ache to be in a position to make yourself useful, do so in a way that helps others - including the sort of people your anodyne jottings could not imagine except in some ridiculously generalised sense.
As the world awaits with anticipation the imminent announcement of the next generation of the iconic iPod, we are left to ponder a critical question — what will be Australia's iPod?

This assumes Australians are victims of whirring cycles of PR hype, and are sucked into a cargo-cult mentality. This may be accurate, but such mindsets are inimical to innovation, sensible planning and sound investment.

Appearances notwithstanding, people like Josh don't waste much time reconciling contradictions - there is no contradiction in wanting as much Media Exposure as possible. If all you have to do is generate a lot of drivel in a crunchy coat of jargon, then it's a low-risk proposition to generate Media Exposure and guarantee his prosperity in a globalised world for those who don't think, read or innovate for years to come.

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