Todd Williams: Invention is not Innovation

OPINION

WORK SMARTER: The Hunter needs more know-how to turn ideas and inventions through innovation into outcomes that improve the quality of life.

WORK SMARTER: The Hunter needs more know-how to turn ideas and inventions through innovation into outcomes that improve the quality of life.

Australia’s history is packed with inventions that transformed agriculture, health care, mining, defence, communications, technology, transport, our backyards and much more. 

Too few of these Australian inventions produced Australian companies and Australian jobs.

The goal of licencing Australian intellectual property as a satisfactory outcome is simply not adequate. We have watched on as overseas entrepreneurs apply a process based on innovation to develop Australian ideas and inventions into products, services and enabling technologies; building new markets, growing enterprises and creating jobs.

The Hunter needs more know-how to turn ideas and inventions through innovation into outcomes that improve the quality of life. There is also a need for a deeper appreciation for how innovation drives economic transformation and development.

RDA Hunter early on set innovation as one of the highest priority strategic areas for the region’s economic development.  RDA Hunter developed two Innovation Scorecards, created business cases for innovation hubs and co-located work spaces, and through consultation, produced a Smart Specialisation Strategy for future prosperity based on targeted support of competitive advantages.

In the Hunter Plan for Regional Growth, one of the opportunities for the region is “to adopt new business models and practices, enjoy improved communications platforms and devices, and to continue building an environment that welcomes and supports innovation”.

The recent announcement by the NSW Government to fund a regional first pilot program of hubs in four local government areas of the Hunter through the University of Newcastle is acknowledgement that the region is heading in the right direction.

Todd Williams is CEO of RDA Hunter

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