Australian Innovation

Innovation is the key competitive advantage for Australia

“Innovation is the last competitive advantage that this nation can have” Dr John Kapeleris, Deputy CEO of the Australian Institute for Commercialisation told ABC’s Future Tense host Antony Funnell on last Thursday’s program aired on Radio National.

The theme of the show was ‘Open hardware, changes to manufacturing and innovation’ and Dr Kapeleris was invited to share his views on innovation and describe how the AIC works with innovators to take their ideas to market.

Dr Kapeleris outlined how although Australians have a long and successful history of creativity and research, we have not been as effective in our ability to translate this creativity and research into commercial outcomes.

He also highlighted the confusion that exists surrounding the term ‘innovation’ which is sometimes referred to as R&D, creativity or even invention. He took the opportunity to describe innovation as the practical application of new ideas or concepts into something of value in the marketplace.

Dr Kapeleris also discussed the valley of death – a term given to describe the gap between having an idea and implementing that idea successfully. He described what is required to bridge the gap, be it funding, collaboration or initiatives such as the AIC’s TechFast program that identifies the needs of industry and then farms intellectual property from the research sector to address those needs.  

Dr Kapeleris stressed the need for the research sector to understand the value of research commercialisation, and highlighted the success that can be driven from this. He used the example of Uniquest and the development and commercialisation of the cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil to show how value is returned to the research sector.

Dr Kapeleris relayed how important innovation was in providing Australia with a competitive advantage internationally: “Innovation is the last competitive advantage that this nation can have when we take the primary industries and the mining sector out of the equation. The only thing we’ve got left is innovation, our creativity and our ability to take these wonderful ideas that Australians have to successful international markets.”

Listen to the ABC Future Tense program

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