The export of Australian education services is an excellent example of the increasing commercialisation of services. Today's Australian Financial Review (AFR) contains a number of reports with good news on trends in the export of Australian education services. The OECD recognises Australia is among the world leaders in cross-border education.
Earlier this year the Federal Government asked the Productivity Commission to undertake a research study on public support for science and innovation. There were over 100 submissions. The Commission's work has progressed, and includes a 585 page staff working paper titled Econometric Modelling of R&D and Australia's Productivity.
A book published earlier this year provides a perspective on contemporary science and innovation policy. It would be interesting to read the submissions to the Productivity Commision in light of the book by Dr Thomas Barlow, a thirty-something consultant who served from 2002 to 2004 as Scientific Adviser to Dr Brendan Nelson, Minister for Education, Science and Training in the Howard Government.
This is one of my favourite expressions at each year's Academy Awards. We all like to give and receive thanks. This post is the story of how I convinced a client to not invest in a tax-driven commercialisation venture and how in appreciation he introduced me to the glory of Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz.
From a historical perspective, users of IT first paid largely for hardware, then software, and today services. Today hardware is inexpensive relative to its historical cost. Today the real cost of software continues to be well beyond what you pay up front for the licence. Hence the focus is more and more on services applied to the hardware and software. In this opportunity open source software is growing at an exponential rate.
Stories about business failure can be more insightful and useful than success stories. I also often find it more rewarding to read about little guys making it big than reading the annual BRW Rich 200 or Forbes list of 400 Richest Americans. The reading can indicate ideas, trends and patterns useful for projects for clients, collaborators or my own firm.
Recently a lawyer insisted that a contractual disclaimer he put into a contract should remain despite my strong protest. He said my client should simply deal with the issue by conducting "due diligence".
I replied the disclaimer was unreasonably wide removing any scope for complaints. I added that my client would do "due diligence" if the lawyer could provide me with a "due diligence" checklist at the level of a managerial risk management checklist (supported as they often are by recognised standards). The phone went silent. I never received any "due diligence" checklist.
Technology forecasting is fundamental to what must be done in technology commercialisation. Legal opinion (AKA legal forecasting) should get with the program. Understanding the broader imperatives for a technology to work is vital. Otherwise a risk is that legal opinion will make or contribute to make something that is unworkable.
About 10 years ago I was inspired to prepare an adaptation of a graphic. The inspiration came from a publication issued by the Institute of Intellecual Property in Japan. The publication was titled "Exposure '94: A Proposal of the New Rule on Intellectual Property for Multimedia".
It's very frustrating to hear of a good idea killed at birth by a lawyer who warns of "legal risks" but leaves the idea's champion unconvinced that the legal issues are critical or unmanageable. How can the manager fight back? Instead of freezing when hearing the phrase "legal risks", how can a manager who does not have a law degree test the "legal risks"?
To answer this question imagine a context. Imagine you have a new IT idea for your company and as the project manager you are suddenly blocked by advice by the company's lawyer that legal risks would arise at the commercialisation stage. You are unconvinced, you want clarity about the legal risks.
It is well known that New Zealanders were the first to commercialise the kiwifruit globally. Less well known is the role of intellectual property in this New Zealand success story. Get ready for a tasty illustration of - intellectual property, food research, commercialisation and ISO 9001 compliance - working in unity to maintain New Zealand's leadership in the global $US2.5 billion kiwifruit market.