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Governments help organisations to innovate

I was asked recently if governments help organisations to innovate…of course they do! But how much differs between countries.

Policymakers are working to develop environments that will foster innovation and its resulting positive benefits. For instance, we know that the South African government is incentivizing training in innovation through subsidies. But with a little help from Google it’s quite easy to find what other governments are doing: Experts are advocating that the U.S. federal government launch a National Infrastructure Foundation, a nimble, collaborative strategic intervention organization that will house innovations programs from fragmented silos under one entity, inform federal officials on innovation performance metrics, strengthen industry-university partnerships, and support innovation economic development initiatives, especially to strengthen regional clusters. Because clusters are the geographic incubators of innovative products and processes, a cluster development grant program would also be targeted for implementation.

By focusing on innovating in such areas as precision manufacturing, information technology, and clean energy, other areas of national concern would be tackled including government debt, carbon footprint, and oil dependence. The U.S. Economic Development Administration understand this reality in their continued Regional Innovation Clusters initiative. In addition, federal grants in R&D, a crucial driver of innovation and productive growth, should be expanded to levels similar to Japan, Finland, South Korea, and Switzerland in order to stay globally competitive. Also, such grants should be better procured to metropolitan areas, the essential engines of the American economy. Many countries recognize the importance of research and development as well as innovation including Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT); Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research; and the Ministry of Science and Technology in the People’s Republic of China. Furthermore, Russia’s innovation programme is the Medvedev modernisation programme which aims at creating a diversified economy based on high technology and innovation. Also, the Government of Western Australia has established a number of innovation incentives for government departments. Landgate was the first Western Australian government agency to establish its Innovation Program. I’m still looking into Spain because Tina Catling and I are giving a talk there in March…any help gratefully received!

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