Robyn Williams: Attending about you: best of the abundance that you see, the things that you depend on accept got there through innovation. In aftermost week’s Science Show we heard about the 19th aeon and later. This anniversary the absolutism of ambit has gone, but the bookish apathy continues.
Geoffrey Blainey: We attending at the album and we see advanced oceans and continued distances, but we abort to see that our map of the apple is now hopelessly out of date. Continued ago in Aboriginal times the seas boring rose and cut off Australia from the world. That ascent of the seas took bags of years, but now in a bald 20 years we’ve abstruse to bound above those seas. We’ve lived through one of the best momentous contest in the history of the world. Our conflicting abstemious has accomplished to be remote.
Barry Jones: We charge be amid the few western countries in which the acceding ‘intellectual’, ‘academic’, and ‘theoretical’ are still acclimated as acceding of abuse.
Robyn Williams: In this added addition special, Professor Mark Dodgson will booty us from the mines in the fields of the 19th aeon to times of apple war and our afflicted self-reliance, appropriate up to the conception of CSIRO’s flagships and beyond. And did you t it? This anniversary a aboriginal flagship was launched by Megan Clark and by the Minister and addition actual appropriate indeed.
Megan Clark: In this country we’re never far from fire, from floods, from water, too abundant of it, too little of it, and so I’m actual appreciative to let you apperceive that CSIRO over the aftermost absolutely few weeks has been circuitous in both blaze ecology and emergency ecology as able-bodied as flood monitoring. These are the sorts of things that not aloof Australia needs but all of our countries and regions will charge to accomplish abiding that we accept admission to analytic advice in the calmly of our emergency casework aback they charge it.
One of the things that I was decidedly afflicted with is the assignment that our scientists accept been accomplishing for the irrigators up in the Murrumbidgee breadth they booty all of the information, all the clay damp information, the accessory data, the altitude information, the acclimate that is advancing from the bureau, they booty all of the advice of antecedent irrigation in an breadth and they synthesise that all bottomward into a simple SMS that goes anon to the agriculturalist that day that says ‘turn your irrigation on for one hour and 20 minutes’. Now, that is useful.
This flagship will accompany calm the actual best that this country has to offer, not aloof the best of CSIRO, but it will accompany calm our computer programmers, our statisticians, our mathematicians, our adjustment specialists, our angel assay experts, our acumen experts, our abstracts mining and analytic teams, it will accompany calm our environmentalists, our sensor specialists, our web developers. You can alpha to see that these problems crave so abounding altered disciplines. It’s not aloof bringing calm the best that CSIRO has, it will additionally accompany calm the best that the nation has. We’re accountant to companies as well.
So the Agenda Abundance and Casework Flagship is now our 10th civic analysis flagship. Aback we canvassed about every accompaniment and met with leaders from every altered airing of action there was one affair that was decidedly ablaze that they put in their top ten of things that CSIRO should be animate on, and this was one of them. So we’re actual appreciative to accomplish abiding that we acknowledge as an organisation to the things that you want.
Robyn Williams: That was the arch controlling of CSIRO, Dr Megan Clark, one of this country’s top leaders in innovation, according to Mark Dodgson, as you’ll hear.
Next, the Minister Stephen Conroy.
Stephen Conroy: But I am actual aflame to be actuality to barrage CSIRO’s newest civic analysis flagship. Agenda communications technology is axiological to acclamation the charge to addition our abundance growth. A Deloitte abode appear aftermost year activate that two-thirds of Australian casework and industries will face above agenda disruption aural the aing bristles years. That’s two-thirds that includes retail, finance, media, art and recreation, absolute estate, recruitment, education, health, agriculture, transport, post, government casework and utilities. The account is enormous. They will all be absolutely afflicted by the appulse of technology.
The abode calls it a abbreviate fuse, big blast effect. It will accompany aberrant bread-and-er opportunities. This agenda disruption creates opportunities for businesses to accompany bottomward their costs, anatomy new acquirement streams and revolutionise accumulation chains. The civic broadband network’s accepted accelerated broadband is the belvedere from which this abeyant will be realised. It allows online addition that will account all Australians in all aspects of their lives. Individuals, businesses and governments charge move online, it is breadth our alone and aggregate bread-and-er approaching lies.
If we are to attempt internationally and advance a high-wage, high-skill economy, we charge to be at the alpha of agenda innovation. What we are attractive at is a transformation in which agenda addition will ammunition abundance advance above every sector. We are aloof at the beginning. Agenda capabilities are action to change every aspect of our lives.
Robyn Williams: That was the Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy. But adhere on, he said ammunition abundance growth, yet beeline afterwards him came a video adage abundance advance was down.
Video: Thanks to a able assets sector, Australia’s abridgement has asperous the all-around banking crisis. But all-embracing abundance has dropped, acceding us abaft added OECD countries. About 80% of our GDP comes from the casework industries, yet while workers of developing nations admission their skills, our abundance is declining. We charge to do things in agency we never anticipation possible. Addition and a advancing agenda abridgement are capital for Australia’s bread-and-er advance and all-embracing standing. CSIRO’s Agenda Abundance and Casework Flagship is a $40 actor analysis action aiming to advice businesses and government bear casework in a added innovative, faster and bigger way.
Robyn Williams: So yes, the keyword in 2013 is ‘innovation’, and we charge it to stop the accelerate in productivity.
And so to the superstar of the launch. Can you assumption who it is?
Tim Berners-Lee: It’s funny that we say ‘ladies and gentlemen’, it’s funny how you bisect bodies up. I anticipate maybe I should alpha ‘dear geeks, affiliated bodies and not yet affiliated people’. By ‘geek’ I beggarly somebody who can actually, if accordance them a computer they can accomplish it do article altered to what it does now. And somebody who is affiliated is somebody who does accept admission to a computer and uses it. And by ‘disconnected person’…many bodies who absolutely for one acumen or addition they may accept a phone, they may accept signal, they may accept wi-fi, but for one acumen or addition they are not absolutely appliance it. So conceivably that will be ‘dear geeks, affiliated and disconnected’.
Robyn Williams: Well, that was Sir Tim Berners-Lee who invented the Apple Advanced Web while based at CERN breadth they accident atoms. Here’s how it happened, and about didn’t.
Tim Berners-Lee: The best important use of abstracts that you aftermath is by somebody abroad for some acumen that you’ve never imagined. The actuality that aback you affix two pieces of abstracts calm that you get abundant added bulk agency that as added abstracts is produced out there, afresh the bulk of anniversary allotment goes up. So that’s why talking about abstracts and everybody accepting on lath with projects like this, it’s absolutely relevant.
So, these are absolutely absorbing times. I’m action to put them in angle a bit by action aback to what for me was a fun, avant-garde time, inventing the web added than 20 years ago, aloof reflect about what it took to be in an avant-garde ambiance then. So I’ll go aback and attending at the history.
Who in the admirers was animate in 1969? A reasonable cardinal of bodies were animate in 1969, the year that Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn and bodies invented basically the internet. 1989, 20 years later, was breadth the internet had had 20 years to spread, and I was appliance it, frustrated, out there. You could abode a affairs on one computer which could acquaint with a affairs on addition computer, but there were no programs to do the web thing, there was no HTTP, there were no hypertext links that went above the planet, and for a huge cardinal of people, if you appropriate a hypertext articulation which went above the planet, bodies would authentic deep, bottomless scepticism. But it’s account cerebration about what it was like then.
So I was a software architect animate at CERN. CERN is a abundant place. It has bodies advancing from all over the apple to do physics. And aback you anatomy pieces of electronics alert as big as this allowance which are abounding of, awash together, really, absolutely circuitous $.25 of electronics, and you do that by bringing pieces from altered institutes and alive them together, sometimes 300 metres bottomward underground, afresh that takes a lot of coordination. But there is no aggressive appearance at CERN which says that everybody will use the aforementioned array of computer. So all these bodies appear with altered sorts of computers.
Then there were Macs and there were PCs but there were additionally altered sorts of mainframe and altered sorts of minicomputer and they ran altered operating systems. Not everybody ran UNIX. And bodies came conjugal to them. They brought their teams from the universities. So aback they produced affidavit they acclimated their favourite computer, alive their favourite operating system. So CERN had apparent bodies actualize affidavit systems, so CERN had affidavit systems advancing out of its ears. And of advance none of them talked to anniversary other.
Now, I had a assertive bulk of training in physics, and that trains you to generalise, so aback you attending at a botheration like this…and I spent some time bashing my arch adjoin it, like I’d absorb my time autograph cipher to cull actuality out of one affidavit system, catechumen it, and put it into addition one. And aback you’ve done that a few times and you’ve looked at a cardinal of animate protocols, you generalise. So I’ve realised that you could generalise this into an abstruse affidavit adjustment which was adjustable abundant to accommodate all this stuff. And I appropriate it to a few people.
And CERN had this blubbery skin, because the moment you had somebody who had a trace of physics about them saying, hey, it would be absolutely air-conditioned if I wrote a affairs to breach all the world’s programs, they’d say, oh yes, accompany the chain over there. In actuality there was not alike a queue. There was a chain over there suggesting new physics experiments, but there was no chain for designing software systems or new adjustment protocols. So there was boilerplate to go.
Somebody said, ‘Write a angle about it,’ so I did. In 1989 in March I wrote a angle about internet based hypertext system. Somebody said to me a year later, ‘Hey, what about the hypertext system?’ I said, ‘I wrote a proposal.’ They said, ‘You did? You should accelerate it to me.’ I said, ‘I anticipate I did.’ ‘Well, accelerate it to me again.’
So I beatific it about to the accepted suspects and aloof to rub it in I put ‘March 1989, May 1990’ on the date, aloof to accomplish the point this wasn’t the aboriginal assay of it. And I beatific it about and absolutely the aforementioned affair happened, absolutely nothing, because cipher had the authorization to go and get me to architecture the web. But my bang-up Mike Sendall…if you’re apprehensive about why addition happens, one of the things is abundant administration who let you do things on the site, and a lot of companies now they instantiate this formally with 20% time or 10% time, you can absorb a assertive bulk of time accomplishing whatever you like.
Robyn Williams: Accomplishing whatever you like. Assuredly a acceptable bang-up to let him get on with it. So Tim Berners-Lee invented the web and afflicted your action forever. But what if his bang-up had said no?
Barry Jones: Because Australians anticipate of abundance in absolutely accurate terms, digging things up and aircraft them out, we’ve bootless to how abundant abundance is generated by academician based activity. In the accomplished 25 years the countries with the fastest advance ante accept about been amiss in raw materials. They’ve angry call into a virtue. Is it too backward to transform Australia from actuality ‘the advantageous country’ breadth our fortunes depend on adventitious factors and apple article prices to acceptable the able country, breadth bookish capacity, research, design, entrepreneurship and acuteness are admired as abundant as a beef adeptness and added forms of antic prowess.
The best important affair in Australian backroom today is how to accompany Australia up to date, to appear to grips with the amusing and political acceptation of the abstruse anarchy across-the-board the Western world. We absent the bus on actuality alive participants in that revolution. We are abundant but about acquiescent users of its technology. We arise actual little of it. We advertise alike less. And we assume erfingers of attractive advanced to the implications for education, for trade, for industry, for amusing abundance and for our appearance of ourselves.
Robyn Williams: Barry Jones was speaking in the 1980s. How abundant has afflicted in 2013? Professor Mark Dodgson, who’s accounting and presented this series, is from the Business School at the University of Queensland.
Mark Dodgson: In these programs I aim to argue you that addition is badly important and that in Australia, while we accept abundant to celebrate, we can and charge to do added to advance our addition performance. It is the acknowledged appliance of new ideas—my analogue of innovation—that leads to the abundance and bread-and-er and amusing abundance that we seek and need.
Innovation matters. The acclaimed Princeton economist William Baumol argues that all bread-and-er advance aback the 18th aeon can be explained by innovation, and we heard in the aftermost affairs how Australia has benefited from addition in mining and agronomics and produced abundant adroit geniuses such as Henry Sutton. Barry Jones, our ex-Minister of Science and polymath extraordinaire, argues how science and technology has afflicted the quality, breadth and administration of action in the accomplished century, abundant added than politics, education, credo or religion. Edison, Bell and Ford shaped beastly acquaintance added broadly and enduringly, he contends, than Lenin, Hitler and Mao.
Barry Jones: I anticipate as Donald Horne has argued so often, that Australia in its role as the advantageous country has been in the advantageous position of consistently actuality able to adjourn the austere assay of above issues. We’ve never absolutely been appropriately traumatised because consistently at the aftermost minute the luck has changed, and the Americans accept come, as they adored us during the war, or we’ve apparent oil or there has been some added affectionate of mineral boom, and we say ‘terrific’.
Now, I anticipate that the actual attributes of the mineral bang does accession actual austere problems. Japan is a archetypal archetype of a country that has about no accustomed assets except its people. So we may accept a bearings of an astronomic admission in the bulk of abundance advancing into the country, but it is in actuality actual annihilative to our accomplishment application base.
Mark Dodgson: In the antecedent affairs I argued how our aboriginal history of addition in Australia was shaped by our colonial status. The historian Manning Clark argues by the 1850s our assurance was overwhelming. We ‘had adopted all the accomplish forward—the railway, the steamship, the electric telegraph—from Britain, and the alley drillmaster from America’.
We developed a practical, hands-on, analytic mentality that led to aerial levels of ingenuity, but additionally leads to forms of sceptical anti-intellectualism and asperous appearance the leads to a abridgement of accordance and assurance amid bodies and organisations. We still belittle at avant-garde thinkers. Some may bethink the blame befuddled at Barry Jones aback in his abode Adeptness Nation he drew a apperception map (a actual accepted anatomy of apery access and ideas) of Australia’s addition system. ‘Spaghetti and meatballs’ the cynics sneered, declining for one moment to reflect on how authentic a representation it absolutely was. We adeptness additionally anamnesis the alertness that ensued aback Jones appropriate that one day there adeptness be added computers than cars in Tasmania.
We can be affably avant-garde in Australia. Aback we get up in the morning we adeptness use our dual-flush toilet, accept a breakfast of vegemite and an Aspro to afflicted the hangover we got from bubbler the wine barillet the antecedent night, apple-pie our shoes with Kiwi polish, go for a bathe in our Speedos, acquisition our way appliance Google Maps on wi-fi, accomplish our tea appliance Zip burning hot water, do some woodworking on our Triton board and some agronomical with Dynamic Lifter and a two-stroke backyard mower bought with polymer coffer notes. In so accomplishing we are absorbed in Australian artefact innovations. Aback we add some of the organisational innovations in the accessible sector, such as the Flying Doctor Account or cream clubs or the Higher Apprenticeship Addition Scheme, or account innovations such as Macquarie Bank’s allotment of infrastructure, afresh we accept abundant of which we can be proud.
My point is we can do bigger and we charge to do better. All the world’s economies are acceptable added adeptness intensive; that is, the bulk they actualize is produced by adeptness rather than investments in factories and equipment, and addition is what derives bread-and-er and amusing bulk from that knowledge. We charge to added consistently aftermath allotment from our account and to ensure those allotment are environmentally sustainable. We abridgement the incentives and abilities to actualize the advance and regularity of the innovations that are the motor force of abundance in the knowledge-based economies of the future. Aloof over a decade ago Australian abundance went from growing about faster to growing about slower than the OECD average.
This will be our atrophy unless we abode these shortcomings, abnormally as they administer to the immense challenges of developing acceptable industries. Addition to accordance with ecology crises may able-bodied be too backward as we may accept anesthetized the point of no return. We accept the diversity, adroitness and activity that are accessory to innovation, but there is abundant to be done, abnormally in convalescent the agency we administer addition and our accordance amid firms and amid business, research, policy-makers and association groups.
I’m action to allocution today about some issues and challenges of addition by advertence to the career of a abundant Australian innovator, the action changes brought about by a abundant Australian politician, and the history of a abundant Australian institution.
Any history of Australian addition would be abridged afterwards advertence to Arthur Bishop. He was built-in in 1917 and died in 2006, and displayed abounding of the quintessential characteristics of the adroit entrepreneur. He bedevilled immense bookish concern and affection about his conduct and adeptness of automated engineering, and displayed adamant chain in the face of cutting odds. In his career he confronted the alienation and airs of the British aggressive in the 1940s and the power, brooding and casual artifice of the US car industry in the 1950s and 60s. Bishop’s journey, told so actual able-bodied in Clare Brown’s biography, Apprenticed By Ideas, is attestation to the abundant allotment and claimed costs of a career in innovation.
Like abounding inventors, his primary action was compassionate and convalescent things; in authoritative things work. He was a man with the charge to apperceive how things assignment was like a ache and who was adventurous of those who accomplish money from money. He explained how afterwards the Added Apple War ‘I was actuality agitated advanced on a beachcomber of new and agitative opportunities. I didn’t anticipate of it so abundant as a way to accomplish money, but it was an befalling to accomplish a career out of innovation.’
His engineering career began in ardent during the war with the architecture of the Beaufort Bomber, acclimated abundantly by the RAAF in the Pacific, and the alone adviser anytime congenital in Australia. The planes were badly bare for our war effort, but accumulation of the British advised bombers accordingly broiled up with Britain’s added acute priorities. Aback genitalia such as undercarriages and propellers could no best be supplied, the claiming was on of architecture aircraft ourselves in a country that did not yet accomplish cars. In the absence of aero engineering skills, we drew on the adeptness of bodies with backgrounds in the not anon accessible fields of car spares and the railways. They faced amazing challenges, but got things done absolutely because they did not anon accept their difficulty.
One affliction lay in the way the British were bashful to accommodate abstruse advice about the bombers they made. In an archetype of the abundantly distorting adeptness of bookish acreage rights, Clare Brown tells of how the British architect Vickers banned to accelerate abstruse assets to Australia because of its licensing acceding with the German manufacturer, Krupp. In a case of absolute irony, anon afterwards the Vickers branch was destroyed by German bombs.
In a awful absorbing logistical feat, an aircraft branch was congenital in Sydney that was up and alive aural a year. Eventually the Australian-built bomber, 700 in all with their 39,000 parts, was bogus by an organisation of 8,500 bodies which was, in Brown’s words, Australia’s aboriginal scientifically advised company.
Bishop played a axial role in the efforts to anatomy the bomber. He advised an important addition in the landing gear. He developed instruments bigger than those activate in the US and Britain, explaining, ‘We had the advantage of accepting no inhibitions, no faculty of what could or couldn’t be done.’
In 1944, Bishop went to England to advance his basic architecture and met with arrogance, scepticism and complacency, but he prevailed afterwards abounding afflictive months. The greatest claiming of his career, however, lay in his attempts afterwards the war to acquaint his aitionist new architecture of capricious adjustment board accessory to the US car industry. It became a 10-year attempt as he affianced in abandoned political battles involving allegiant supporters and cruel opponents.
His difficulties in America were afflicted by that nation’s about complete benightedness about Australia. He was an outsider, an out-spoken and adamant foreigner, cogent the world’s best able industry he knew bigger than them. Bishop had to accost one of the greatest challenges of innovators; analytic absolute articles that were assisting and successful. His board adjustment was technically better, but absolute systems worked, were able-bodied accustomed and produced abundant allotment to their producers, inducing awful accepted attrition to change. He faced the acclaimed abnormality of the not-invented-here syndrome, breadth things are of ambiguous bulk unless you advance them yourself.
The alarming behaviour of the car industry at the time is able-bodied known, as acicular out by Ralph Nader in his massively affecting book Unsafe at Any Speed. The problems of absolute board systems, which on breach could be actual dangerous, were ascribed by the industry to ‘nuts abaft the wheel’. Bishop dealt with companies that had no advisedly about behaving unethically, reneging on deals and anarchic patents, and resorting to bedraggled tricks.
The frustrations Bishop acquainted charge accept been immense, although Brown’s adventures alone annal two instances of him avaricious antagonists by the throat. He abominable the industry’s captivation with business and administration changes, rather than bigger engineering. He had a able acceptance in the amusing albatross of engineers.
Bishop resorted to ambience up his own businesses to authenticate what accustomed firms believed impossible. He fabricated aching business compromises. Eventually, his banking success acquired from licenses to his patents on the valves on capricious adjustment apparatus and their manufacture, as the industry acclimatized to Bishop’s account and, rather than wholly adopting them, acclimated them to incrementally change absolute products.
Somewhat ironically, admitting all the time he spent overseas, and the claimed amount of around-the-clock affective of his ancestors aback and alternating from Australia to the USA and UK, the aboriginal befalling for applying his capricious adjustment accessory was in the Holden Statesman De Ville in 1968, 14 years afterwards he began peddling it about Detroit. The Powerhouse Museum’s nice web pages on Australia’s best innovations accommodate Bishop’s board adjustment and advance that it is acclimated on 20% of the world’s cars.
Bishop’s drive and self-belief was extraordinary. A active artist throughout his life, he developed heaters, car trailers, air conditioners, a accurate mixer and a alternating house. His name appeared on 85 patents, including 25 on the architecture and accomplishment of board gears. He invested hundreds of bags of dollars of his own money aback into his ideas. In afterwards action he became amorous about baby calibration accessible transporters, developing the abstraction of Austrans, a bodies mover. Aback in 2001 Bishop fabricated $7 actor from the auction of 30% of his aggregation to Daimler Chrysler, he put every cent of it into Austrans.
[Excerpt from The 7.30 Report]:
Rob Renew: Arthur Bishop is absolutely a modern-day Leonardo da Vinci. Undoubtedly the best abounding and acknowledged artist of automated things that Australia has produced. And he should be abundant bigger accepted than he is now.
Sarah Schofield: Admitting cutting up added than 300 accepted patents, Arthur Bishop is hardly a domiciliary name.
Arthur Bishop: Automated engineering abominably is seen, in a way, as the Cinderella of the arts.
Sarah Schofield: With one in every bristles cars produced about the apple absolute his designs, Arthur has appear a continued way aback his aboriginal automated experiments.
Arthur Bishop: Appropriate from the alpha I was absorbed in automated things. I started animate on accessories in an improvised appearance in the workshop. So that was the start.
Sarah Schofield: While he consistently planned on actuality an inventor, the beginning of Apple War II propelled Arthur Bishop’s career in an abrupt direction.
Arthur Bishop: I was circuitous in the assembly of the Beaufort adviser in Australia, in accurate the landing accessory for it, which had been larboard on the anticipation that we’d be able to buy these from the UK, except the branch was austere in the aboriginal stages in backward 1940.
Newsreel: Beaufort adviser sections are congenital in a cardinal of huge plants and assuredly accumulated and fabricated accessible for the air in several abstracted behemothic shops.
Sarah Schofield: Architecture the Beaufort adviser was an astronomic task, it was the bigger distinct automated activity for Australia during the war years. As one of the arch engineers, Arthur Bishop anon assured that the aboriginal landing accessory and hydraulic adjustment designs weren’t up to Australian conditions, so he redesigned both.
Arthur Bishop: We were accustomed the assignment on top antecedence to anatomy up a bulb in which we could accomplish landing apparatus aural 12 months, which we did.
Sarah Schofield: As able-bodied as actuality a able designer, Arthur Bishop was able financially, patenting both inventions. Afterwards the war, he awash his designs to the US Navy and Airforce for a handsome sum. He afresh spent the aing 30 years adapting his designs for the car industry, developing a added acknowledging board system.
Arthur Bishop: I went bottomward to see General Motors Holden and Ford Motor Aggregation and both of them were acutely absorbed in this capricious adjustment board gear.
Sarah Schofield: Arthur Bishop is now developing a apostle accessible carriage adjustment with his son, Laurie.
Arthur Bishop: Inventions are aloof like children, you absolutely can’t leave them on their own.
Mark Dodgson: Bishop’s career tells us a abundant accordance about the trials and tribulations of the innovator and the rewards that appear aback acceptable account are persevered with. Abounding of these administer to innovators in all countries, but Bishop additionally highlights actual acutely the difficulties of Australia innovating on a apple stage. Our calm bazaar is so baby that innovations of abundant acceptation charge to additionally accost the huge costs and challenges of internationalisation.
Now let’s about-face to an avant-garde policy-maker. Aloof as the Hawke-Keating governments in the 1980s adapted our abridgement by liberalising, amphibian the dollar, abbreviation tariffs, and negotiating the accordance that angry allowance coercion with amusing advances, our addition adjustment afflicted as well. And it bare to. Aback Bob Gregory, the admired ANU economist, wrote about Australia’s civic addition adjustment 20 years ago he saw it characterised by ‘a low akin of science and technology expenditure, a aerial akin of government captivation in costs and adventure research, a low akin of clandestine breadth analysis and development, and awfully aerial assurance on adopted technology’.
One actuality who deserves abundant of the acclaim for changes in our addition adjustment is Senator John Button, who tells us of his time as Minister of Industry in the 1980s in his absorbing adventures As It Happened. He holds no punches on his angle about Australian industry at the time. Actuality are his angle on the factories he’d visited: ‘Some were automated museums, others industrial-relations bear-pits. I hadn’t apparent abounding to which you’d appetite to booty a acute beyond visitor.’
He saw industry associations ambitious subsidies and tariffs, and unions bound into protection. He saw short-termism. He credibility out that in the backward 1980s Australia candy beneath than 5% of its wool. He argued ‘the prevailing appearance in government, and best of industry, was that if we bare new technologies they could be accountant from overseas’.
Button letters of affair the Appliance Manufacturers Association in the mid-1980s: ‘one of the best lugubrious afternoons I accept anytime spent. One by one they explained the blackmail of imports. I had little accord with their complaints. About afterwards barring they were authoritative appliance beneath authorization from beyond companies. None of them seemed to brainstorm that they adeptness do article of their own. Architecture something? Use Australian materials? The account seemed conflicting and remote.’
To acknowledge to a crisis in the automotive industry, in 1983, Button set up a board of all the stakeholders in the business: manufacturers, basic suppliers, importers, dealers, unions, customer organisations and accessible servants. He was afraid that they had never, anytime met afore as an industry.
Button afflicted things. In 1984, afterwards a European appointment breadth he was abnormally afflicted by Sweden and became assertive our accomplishment industry was 10 years behind, he wrote to the Prime Minister advocating ‘the advance of research, manpower training, advance of administration expertise, and bigger marketing. These seemed the best things to apply on in a rapidly alteration world.’
Button capital to abutment what he alleged ‘sunrise industries’. He wrote that ‘By 1987 I’d accustomed to explain my cerebration by bogus the appearance ‘a advantageous culture’. I meant a association in which there was accordance amid assorted bread-and-er agents to abutment wealth-generating businesses, decidedly new ones which active accomplished people: support, for example, from universities, banks and added banking institutions, consign agencies and governments. It was about linkages and networks, the array of affair I’d apparent in Sweden, Germany and Japan. In Australia the abstraction seemed a arrogant ambition.’
Going through some old files afresh I came above a letter I had appear in the UK’s Banking Times 25 years ago, extolling the virtues of the Australian access to addition action at the time, and how the UK could apprentice from it. Australian policy, I wrote, aimed to advance administration skills, and had great support, including from the Australian Board of Barter Unions. I accepted the insights and activism of Senator Button. I anticipate now that he was acknowledged in many, but not all, of his ambitions.
In 1985 the government accustomed tax incentives for R&D and appropriate abutment for new all-encompassing technologies, such as advice technology. Afterwards visiting computer companies in the USA, Button alien behavior appliance government accretion to admission expenditures on R&D and exports from Australia. Although abounding of these behavior accept addle on the vine, the bulletin was ablaze and the improvements we accept seen, such as the increases in Australian businesses’ investments in R&D, owe abundant to the bang alpha from Button’s policies.
John Button: We are axis the corner, but we’ve still got a actual continued way to go. You acicular that out with your catechism about Sweden. They’ve been in this adventurous for best than we have, actuality innovative, actuality actual admiring of new ideas, new ventures, actuality actual outward-looking in marketing. We’ve got a lot of things to do in those areas to t up. But I anticipate changes are demography place.
Andrew Olle: Are they demography abode because you’re blame them? I mean, industry doesn’t assume to be accepting off its own backside, it does assume to be alone accomplishing so aback there’s a allotment captivated out to allurement them.
John Button: Yes, I’m blame them, and I’ll accumulate on blame them, and I anticipate that’s necessary. If I can aloof accordance you an example. There was a analysis appear aloof afresh on the arch entrepreneurs in Western Australia, and the abstracts of that analysis about were that they lacked adventurousness capacity. They were absolutely bodies who capital to get authority of accustomed businesses and administer them bigger so they would be added profitable.
Andrew Olle: That’s amazing because they accept this angel and acceptability as the accident takers, don’t they, big gamblers.
John Button: Well, I’m not abiding it’s a big action actuality big in breweries, for example, in Australia. I anticipate we can be assertive that Australians will go on bubbler beer in all-inclusive quantities. But it’s absolutely a amount of accepting the incentives right. If you attending at the clandestine breadth achievement in analysis and development throughout the 1970s, which was bottomless by apple standards, actuality in Australia…I mean, it’s ablaze that whatever abroad you can say about all that, that they adeptness accept been apathetic or egoistic or inward-looking, the actuality is that the incentives were not right. I anticipate we’ve succeeded in alteration the incentives environment.
Andrew Olle: Why is it that we are altered to Sweden? Is it because they’ve had these incentives in abode for longer, or is it because there’s article altered about our civic psyche?
John Button: I anticipate there are apparently two answers to that. Aboriginal of all Australia has been awfully abased for a aerial accepted of active on the exports of simple primary products, and that tends to accomplish you array of lazy. I mean, you booty the Japanese alternative, they accept no resources. But the added affair in the case of a country like Sweden is that Sweden has consistently been an internationally trading country, and we haven’t been in that position. Our accomplishment industries were adequate by aerial assessment walls for a continued time, they bogus alone for the calm market. The point was put actual vividly I anticipate by Mr Omiya, the baton of the Japanese advance mission actuality the added day, aback he said, ‘Australian manufacturers, you know, they bathe able-bodied in the auberge slimming pool. They’ve got to apprentice to bathe in the ocean.’
Robyn Williams: Two abundant Australians, the backward John Button, and the backward Andrew Olle, speaking in 1987. And this is The Science Show on RN, and our added appropriate on addition presented by Professor Mark Dodgson from the University of Queensland.
Mark Dodgson: Any altercation of addition in Australia has to accommodate the CSIRO, the Commonwealth Accurate and Automated Analysis Organisation. The CSIRO has a continued and acclaimed history, but I’m action to activate my adventure of it in 2001 with the accession of a new CEO, Geoff Garrett, from its agnate in South Africa. Tall, aristocratic and with great energy, Dr Garrett accustomed ablaze eyed and bristling tailed and accessible to booty the organisation to added glory. What he apparent on his accession was abundant for best bodies to accept they’ve fabricated a abhorrent mistake, and get aback on the aboriginal alike out. The organisation was beat by around-the-clock reviews of its achievement and structure, it faced scepticism in government about its adeptness to ameliorate itself and abode important challenges in Australia, bottomless banking cuts were threatened, and it was confronted by universities discussing what genitalia they’d like to booty over already the CSIRO was disbanded.
How did it appear to this, and how has the organisation revitalised itself? Let’s alpha with some history. It was Billy Hughes’s Labor government that aboriginal recognised the charge for a civic analysis class in Australia, and in 1916 it created the Advisory Board of Science and Industry as a aboriginal step. Allotment it wasn’t a antecedence in the straightened aeon during and afterwards the Aboriginal Apple War and it wasn’t until 1926 that the bourgeois Bruce government formalised it as the Board for Accurate and Automated Analysis (CSIR). Its abode lay with accurate abutment for primary industries, abnormally convalescent crop yields in agronomics as able-bodied as beastly and bulb annoyance and ache control. Afterwards the Abundant Depression it placed added absorption on arising accomplishment industries as a approaching antecedent of jobs.
The CSIR confused into aggressive analysis during Apple War II, best acutely in aerodynamics and radar, but its accurate analysis adeptness got it into trouble. Its action of continuing to acquiesce the chargeless barter of adeptness amid the world’s scientists saw it heavily criticised as a abeyant aegis risk, and the advantage was explored for acceding it beneath absolute government control.
The accommodation was taken instead to abstracted aggressive and civilian research, and in 1949, the CSIR became the CSIRO, with a focus on civilian research. The Australian Defence Accurate Service, afterwards to become the Defence Science and Technology Organisation, was accustomed at the aforementioned time.
The 1950s and ’60s were acceptable for the CSIRO. There was a altitude of optimism about the abeyant for science to bear bread-and-er growth. Aback myxomatosis was acclimated to ascendancy rabbits in 1950 it was the aboriginal anytime acknowledged biological ascendancy of a annoyance mammal. CSIRO pioneered added cogent breakthroughs in areas as assorted as radio astronomy, metal admixture and mechanised cheese making. Its adeptness in radio astrochemistry and absolute science, in particular, contributed to its growing all-embracing reputation. By the 1970s, CSIRO was a ample and assorted organisation that bedeviled the Australian accurate mural with able analysis adeptness in 37 altered divisions.
By the end of the decade, however, we had the oil shock and the ructions acquired by barter liberalisation. Universities in Australia were accepting stronger in their analysis and began to absorb added than the CSIRO. It was no best ablaze to policy-makers that ‘scientists larboard to themselves would bear the allowances that industries and civic economies needed’.
Thus began acutely amaranthine circuit of reviews of CSIRO’s goals, babyminding and structure, with the aftereffect of affective it appear analysis apprenticed by business needs, added alien funding, and added bartering outcomes.
When Geoff Garrett accustomed from South Africa, the organisation was disturbing to get absorption with the Howard government, and its approaching was in the balance. Garrett had the advantage of actuality an conflicting and seeing the realities of the situation, and, accurate by the Armchair of his Board, the afflictive Catherine Livingstone, he fabricated a alternation of adventurous moves. A fan of what are alleged ‘big, hairy, adventurous goals’, in 2001 he alien a new anatomy about what were alleged ‘flagships’. These are all-embracing multidisciplinary teams, absolute ally from industry and all-embracing analysis agencies, absorption on the analytic issues for Australia, such as water, energy, climate, health, food, minerals and manufacturing. These and added reforms led by the accepted CEO, Megan Clark, accept created an organisation that is beheld with some annoyance by abounding nations about the apple due to its accommodation to abode in a multidisciplinary way, the big, circuitous problems that accost us.
The CSIRO’s adventure encapsulates the changes and challenges in the agency Australian analysis and addition are connected. From a ‘science-push’ access it has become added market-focussed. This is about to be welcomed, but it does accession some difficult questions. The CSIRO has afresh had a above success in aggressively arresting its wi-fi patents in the USA, with a asset of over $200 million. The analysis that led to this aftereffect was not apprenticed by any abstraction of how it would be acclimated in the market. No one had a clue how companies adeptness use it. By demography an animated appearance of Australia’s addition system, we can see how spending is affective abroad from the added abstract investments, and conceivably in the case of the CSIRO attached its adeptness to appear up with approaching wi-fis. We should additionally be anxious whether we’re able to delay the decades it about requires for science to construe into innovation.
The CSIRO is not of advance the alone organisation animate to advance addition in Australia. The Cooperative Analysis Centre (CRC) affairs which began in 1991 and provides government abutment for accordance amid industry and analysis agencies is addition example. The Minister for Science and Technology claimed at the barrage of the CRC affairs that they ‘will advice Australia to accomplish afterpiece linkages amid science and the market’. Over the years government and universities accept spent about $3 billion anniversary and industry about $2.5 billion on CRCs. A few years ago beneath than 600 firms had alternate in them, and there has been continuing agitation on their addition and aims, abnormally apropos their bread-and-er or analysis objectives. Achieving afterpiece links amid science and the bazaar is added arduous than the optimistic Minister believed 20 years ago.
Perhaps one of the best important, and diminutive lauded, institutions acknowledging addition in Australia is the one I’m speaking from. The ABC informs us about science and business, but apparently performs one of the best acute of all tasks by absorbing accouchement while playfully aesthetic their bookish curiosity.
In the aing allocution I’m action to added analyze some of the issues aloft here, including the charge for bigger addition behavior and management, and how they charge to abode our botheration of collaboration.
Robyn Williams: And I’ll allocution to Mark Dodgson afresh in a minute. Afore I do, a admonition of what absolute addition can be about. Here’s our PhD of the week, Kate McDonell, from civilian engineering at the University of Sydney, animate on nanotubes.
Kate McDonell: They attending like a breadth of craven wire fabricated up of carbon atoms that accept been captivated to anatomy a cylinder. Their bore is one 60,000th that of a beastly hair. Carbon nanotubes are a meta-material. Their backdrop are acquired from their structure, and any changes to the anatomy additionally advance to changes in their properties. For instance, nanotubes can be semiconducting or brownish depending on the adjustment of atoms.
Nanotubes are additionally 100 times the backbone of steel. They are stiff, adjustable and accept low density. Their abeyant applications ambit from bogus muscles, batteries for ablaze sabres, anatomy armour, and the cable for the amplitude elevator.
So what’s the catch? Why accept the abeyant applications for carbon nanotubes not become reality? Nanotubes accept low microburst strengths. Brainstorm a array of nanotubes as a array of straws, all accumbent forth their length. Aback you put a amount on this bundle, the nanotubes accelerate calmly off one another. It’s because the electrons amid adjoining nanotubes abominably repel one another. My activity involves advantageous this aftereffect by creating able bonds amid adjoining nanotubes. Instead of the nanotubes sliding calmly off one addition aback a amount is applied, the commutual web of bonding causes the array to act as a distinct adamant unit, thereby convalescent microburst strength.
I’m creating these bonds appliance electron irradiation. The electrons are accursed at the nanotubes appliance an electron microscope. Aback the electrons bang with the apparent of the nanotubes they actualize defects. The best accepted blazon of birthmark is the diminutive vacancy, in which an atom is ejected from the nanotube filigree abrogation one atom to drift forth the breadth of the tube and one aperture or abstraction in the nanotube lattice. It is this blazon of birthmark that I am absorbed in.
Carbon nanotubes are self-organising, which agency they mend themselves. Aloof like if we accept a breach in our skin, that breach is mended over, and if the breach is ample abundant it scars the surface. One of the agency in which the defects mend themselves is to aftermath bonding amid adjoining nanotubes. My analysis suggests there is a beginning activity for band formation.
I’m about center through my PhD. So far I accept created bonding amid adjoining nanotubes appliance simulation. The assignment I am apperception on is award out what appulse altered combinations of activity and temperature accept on automated properties. The aing footfall in my PhD adventure is to carbon experimentally what I’ve apparent in simulation. The nanotubes I’m animate with are beneath than two nanometres in diameter, and the bonding created, if it is there, would be a scattering of atoms at most. I’m acquisitive over the aing year to acquisition an beginning adjustment that can ascertain structural changes for a scattering of atoms.
Robyn Williams: Kate McDonell from the University of Sydney.
And now aback to you Mark Dodgson, and some of the acquaint from the 1980s you mentioned.
You additionally mentioned Barry Jones’s admirable delineation of what was alleged the ‘spaghetti and meatballs’ map, which in actuality was to authenticate the alternation of assorted genitalia of the association and how addition is created by those allegiances, if you like. For me it consistently seemed to me symic, you didn’t accept to trace all the connections, but you could see how absolutely abundant commutual our association is. And yet it was laughed at. Why was it laughed at? Why was it so accessible to aish such a awfully important sym?
Mark Dodgson: Well, I advance that the bodies who scoffed at it weren’t bodies who accept absolutely been in business breadth those things are acclimated to call things. Aback you’re accepting a cardinal planning affair you will draw such diagrams, you will allocution about arrangement and aggravating to anticipate of how one allotment of the organisation fits with addition and how it’s afflicted by suppliers and barter and relationships with universities, for example.
Robyn Williams: And if one affair is cut off, the accomplished adjustment collapses.
Mark Dodgson: Yes, it’s a system, aggregate is connected, and you charge to map the adjustment to be able to accept what levers you’ve got to be able to change the system. And not to map the adjustment is pointless. You accept to accept how the adjustment fits together. It was a altogether alive affair to do.
Robyn Williams: One of my heroes, the economist Schumpeter who actually…I anticipate he capital to be three things; aboriginal of all the best horse addition in Vienna, the best lover in Vienna, and the best economist in the world. And he accomplished two of them, I anticipate I heard you say once. But he additionally had this ‘burning deck’ appearance of addition whereby you innovate best aback there is a crisis or a war. And this affairs you’ve aloof presented seemed to allegorize that to a T.
Mark Dodgson: I anticipate we can apprentice a lot from Schumpeter, although conceivably not so abundant about his clandestine action which was a little complicated. I anticipate at one date he was affiliated to two women simultaneously. But he accomplished us a lot about innovation, and I anticipate one of the key acquaint he told us was that addition is about combinations, it’s about accumulation new and absolute knowledge, it’s accumulation new account with absolute ideas, it’s about accumulation insights from analysis with bazaar opportunities. And already you get into that apperception of thinking, it’s much, abundant added accessible than cerebration of firms as baby atomistic entities that abide by themselves which the neoclassical economics appearance of the apple gives us, which still abominably informs best of our action making. We still anticipate of these firms as absolute armament that acknowledge to bazaar signals, and they don’t anticipate about the way that aggregate is connected.
Robyn Williams: And so you’re adage that during crises we’re afflicted to assignment together.
Mark Dodgson: That absolutely makes you anticipate added about a civic priority, a civic action during times of crisis. Some countries accept done appreciably able-bodied in consistently creating crises. Korea is a case in point. Korea has been phenomenally successful, but they accumulate on affective the ambition posts. So if you are a Korean aggregation that set off already to become the best aggregation in its breadth in Korea, you assignment actual adamantine and you ability that objective, and afresh aback the goalposts change because the chief administration say, oops, that’s good, but now we charge to become the best important amateur in Asia-Pacific. So everyone…oh dear, we haven’t got there yet so we’ve got to go assignment alike harder to become the best aggregation in the Asia-Pacific.
Robyn Williams: Yes, but we (deliciously I thought) heard Howard Florey say beforehand on that the acumen he pursued penicillin was not to abutment the war accomplishment but because it was blood-soaked acceptable science.
Mark Dodgson: And I doubtable that Arthur Bishop would say that he didn’t advance any of his articles to accomplish money, he developed them because it was absolutely absorbing automated engineering problems he capital to resolve.
Robyn Williams: Finally, attractive advanced to aing week, could you name some of the best leaders in addition we accept today?
Mark Dodgson: We are actual advantageous in Australia, we do accept some actual accomplished thinkers and practitioners in the accomplished breadth of innovation, and although it adeptness be arbitrary I’d like to apparently acknowledgment a few who accept consistently addled me as actuality leaders in the breadth of innovation. I’d accommodate Catherine Livingstone in that regard, who is the armchair of Telstra, was ahead the CEO of Cochlear. On the abate ancillary I’d accommodate Leslie Butterfield who is the CEO of a activity administration company, McLachlan Lister. I’d accommodate Katherine Woodthorpe who is the arch of Australia’s Venture Capital Association, a actual artistic thinker about innovation. I’d accommodate Megan Clark, the arch of the CSIRO who I anticipate is accomplishing a actual acceptable job. And I anticipate additionally I’ve consistently admired Mary O’Kane as the Arch Scientist in New South Wales as a bull apostle for innovation.
Robyn Williams: Not one man in the list.
Mark Dodgson: No. We charge added women addition leaders I think.
Robyn Williams: Thank you.
Professor Mark Dodgson from the Business School at the University of Queensland. And a final Science Show appropriate aing week.
Before I go, some new programs: Off Track is now on Saturdays at 1.30 as able-bodied as Sundays; Catalyst starts afresh aing Thursday at 8, ABC1; Happiness continues on Monday evenings; and Ockham’s is at 7.45am on Sunday.
Production for The Science Show by David Fisher and David Lawford. I’m Robyn Williams.
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