Game-changer innovation due

James Riley
Editorial Director

Culture, capital and commercialisation of research would form the backbone of the upcoming Innovation Statement, according to one of its principal architects Wyatt Roy.

In a speech opening the 2015 Warren Centre Innovation Lecture in Sydney, Mr Roy said that the upcoming statement would be “a big game-changer for our country” and would focus on key areas that needed reform.

“This will not be a small document, this will not be a piecemeal thing,” he said.

Minister Wyatt Roy speaking in Sydney: Innovation Statement will be a game-changer for Australia*

“This will be a big game-changer for our country that will address many of the challenges that have needed to be addressed for a very long time.”

Mr Roy, who has taken a lead role as Malcolm Turnbull’s hand-picked Assistant Minister for Innovation, said culture and Australian’s deeply anti-authoritarian mindset represented a key advantage for Australia over competitors.

“This is critical for driving entrepreneurship and innovation and we need to embrace that in government, in business, and all our society,” he said.

Attracting more capital into higher-risk innovation investments would be a focus of the upcoming statement he added.

“Considering that just a few short years ago we were betting more on the Melbourne Cup than we were investing through venture capital into innovation in this country, we are clearly not afraid of having a punt. So it’s now time to have a punt on innovation.”

Commercialisation of our great ideas and research, a focus on STEM and the entrepreneurial skill set throughout all levels of education, as well as developing our talent pool are all further hot topics we can expect to be covered in the Innovation Statement when it is released next month he said.

Conceding that the Prime Minister had been somewhat vague in announcing the statement – and when exactly it would be released – Mr Roy was poised and quietly confident about its contents regardless.

Politicians are used to speaking ad-lib of course and spin-selling their wares as part of the job. But having seen Mr Roy in action a few times now, this take-to-the-stage had something of a renewed energy about it.

Gone was the excited and somewhat empty rhetoric of the past couple of months. In its place, devoid of a lectern or notes, Mr Roy was measured in his delivery and completely clear about the job at hand – because the job itself is developing right before his eyes.

It was clear to that true meat is being added to the bones of Mr Turnbull’s innovation vision as we write, and no doubt Mr Roy is – along with his boss Industry Minister Christopher Pyne – perched on the Prime Minister’s shoulder as government put pen to paper.

While the Innovation Lecture speech didn’t exactly say anything new and all the hot topics mentioned have been floating around column inches for weeks now, it did very clearly point to some hardening positions in the Innovation Statement, that we might finally be able to come to grips with come December.

*Photo credit: Swaab Attorneys

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