The Innovation Agenda
By Roger La Salle
The Innovation Agenda
In Australia the new Prime Minister is strong on innovation, we are to be the innovation economy. This is great news, but why don’t we actually innovate instead of just talking about it – the mind boggles, it’s always more of the same.
A Case in Point
Despite our talk of innovation, what we see in Australia like in most developed countries is that innovation is entirely lacking when it comes to solving one of the biggest problems – traffic.
Even in Australia a country with really only two well populated cities and just 22 million people, over 1.5 million new cars are sold every year, and with the life of a car running at ten plus years all we see are ever growing traffic queues.
Will roads fix that?
Of course the common and simplistic solution proffered by Government is to make car access more difficult by providing more bike lanes, seldom used to anywhere near the downside effect they have on traffic flow, or financial penalties for entering the city precinct with tolls and car parking levies.
Quite simply this is crazy stuff which does little more than frustrate workers and put them at odds with their governments.
The other tried and failed approaches include building more roads and wider freeways, or improved public transport.
Sorry to say, all of these are costly failures.
In the case of more roads, people that tire of traffic snarls turn to overcrowded public transport. Meanwhile the government widens and builds more roads, the result is that traffic flow improves, so people revert to old habits, back to road travel and the consequent log jam of traffic. It’s a never ending cycle.
As for public transport, there is simply insufficient capacity and even if there was, there is no place to park at public transport hubs and of course the traffic to these, assuming there was sufficient parking, would again be gridlocked.
What’s the Innovation?
We are told that high speed internet is the answer to the world’s problems and in the case of traffic, this is indeed the case.
If you walk into any inner city office all you will see are people perched over computers doing their jobs or speaking on telephones. The question must be asked, “why do they have to be centrally located?” Simply, they don’t.
With proper internet access and good multimedia 90% or more of these people could work from home and maybe attend the office once a week or even less to keep in social contact with other staff.
In reality, the only people that need to be in the city are those needing a personal customer interface, like bank tellers, doctors, dentists, shopkeepers and restaurateurs. The rest could be at home being much more productive and saving hours per day in travel time with a lot less energy wasted in frustration waiting in traffic queues.
So what’s lacking?
In essence what’s lacking is a proper management reporting method so people’s performance can be managed from afar with little need for personal interface.
Such reporting is easy to do, all it takes is a proper understanding of how to put metrics around job functions, a method embodied in the innovation of “The Principle of Contradictory Reporting”.
It’s that easy is it?
Yes – the answer is simple, the effect dramatic and the extra revenue to government coffers provided by restraining road works would be enormous.
If you wish to be the Innovation Economy – then for heaven’s sake – think like an Innovator?
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Roger La Salle, trains people in innovation, marketing and the new emerging art of Opportunity Capture. “Matrix Thinking”™ is now used in organizations in more than 29 countries. He is sought after as a speaker on Innovation, Opportunity and business development and is the author of four books and a Director and former CEO of the Innovation Centre of Victoria (INNOVIC) as well as a number of companies both in Australia and overseas. He has been responsible for a number of successful technology start-ups and in 2004 was a regular panelist on the ABC New Inventors TV program. In 2005 he was appointed to the “Chair of Innovation” at “The Queens University” in Belfast. www.matrixthinking.com