Who keeps a real eye on the ‘space’ beyond R&D

By Peter Kerr 17/03/2011

Nothing keeps an oversight of the New Zealand innovation ecosystem.

Science and R&D gets a good looking to, but beyond this engine of ideas and discoverer of knowledge, the next parts are not as connected as they could be.

What other parts?

  • The part that allows someone to scale up and test a process – be it food, energy, or an innovative product.
  • The part that develops and encourages best routes to market.
  • The part that helps facilitate distribution of high-value NZ products – often requiring finance assistance at crucial parts.
  • The part that enables entrepreneurs to improve on areas of weakness, or for NZ Inc to train up specialists in particular areas of internationalisation practice.
  • The part that sees us look at technological solutions as a way to move up the value chain.
  • The part that says there is no failure, only experience.

New Zealand’s hands off style of economic management has tended to the view that market forces would be enough to drive prosperity.

But there’s nothing, no body that’s charged with identifying gaps and opportunities, directing efforts and allocating resources to take high-value goods and services to market.

Partly because there’s no oversight body, the statistics and data on differentiated goods exporters is limited – which is not the case for other export sectors in NZ.

Other small successful countries have aggressively intervened in their economies by driving from an innovation perspective.

If it’s good enough for Denmark, Singapore et al to have a high level overview that makes sure all the ducks are flying in formation; surely it is good enough for us?