Callaghan Innovation – time for a concrete and practical illustration of its intent

By Peter Kerr 22/11/2012

OK, now that we have the naming of the Advanced Technology Institute out of the way, and its genesis to Callaghan Innovation has been carried out, it’s time to move on from the warm fuzzies.

The thinking behind the new name and logo is, let’s call it an ‘interesting explanation’ and let it lie – can be found here.

There’s a statement in the same newsletter number two, that the name of the organisation shouldn’t turn into an abbreviation or set of initials….wishful hoping I’m afraid. CI or C.I. it will become once first named in any story.

There’s also,

“our thinking definitely veered towards the new organisation being first and foremost an attitude, an approach, a new conversation and activity, rather than a fixed position or a building.”

Well, if that means practically showing or discussing what that means – fire ahead.

Because it is easy enough to talk around the edges as the CI’s underpinning operating principles demonstrate:

  • Open and consistent processes
  • Focus on significant economic value-add
  • Firm and industry focused
  • Effectiveness through collaboration
  • “Access not ownership” of specialist science, engineering, design and technology services”

As we speak there’s a business case being developed, which will be about “doing more” (the newsletter’s quotation marks), and, we’re reassured, not about an exercise in moving the deckchairs.

All of which will be of little comfort you suspect to the R&D community, private research providers, and numerous consultants involved in commercialisation (let alone private industry).

This also includes the fledgling KiwiNet, the CRI and universities created group/hug commercialisation entity which came into being as the would-be Ministry of Science & Innovation National Network of Commercialisation Centres initiative failed to arrive.

This current CI fuzziness is even more reason for it to come out with some specific and practical illustration(s) of how it is going to work.

I would suggest that the CI needs a type of ‘stress testing’ before it, nominally, comes into being on 1 Feb. 2013.

Because the danger for it, and the country, is that CI becomes a proposal with little support if presented as a fait accompli.

And given that there’s precious few working days left between now and Feb. 1, creating and building stakeholder engagement, rather than policy development, is THE crucial element.

Or, to put it another way, and something I’m sure the late Sir Paul Callaghan would’ve endorsed – give us something concrete we can actually chip away at….or endorse.