Tag Archives: innovation

CREATIVE ECOLOGIES: Where Thinking is a Proper Job


John Howkins’ book  “The Creative Economy: How People Make Money from Ideas” (2002) made an impact by taking a holistic approach to what we often refer to as the information or knowledge economy.

His new book goes a step further in addressing the nature of creativity and its relationship to innovation within a larger context.

Howkins talks about how:

The way economics and business has approached (economic choices) for the past fifty years has been to focus on one-off innovation implemented in mass production with ever lower costs and prices. Business has seen creativity and innovation as specialist functions. I call this the repetitive economy. We are now seeing a shift to the creative economy where, although basic goods and services have not diminished in absolute terms, the bulk of growth comes from their added symbolic value.

Howkins is no ivory tower academic and brings a wealth of deep and broad real world experience to bear on his explorations.  In 2006 he was listed as one of the Fifty Most Important People in Intellectual Property by ‘Managing Intellectual Property’ magazine and in 2007 he was nominated #1 Creative Star in China by ‘Beijing Business News’.

You can download the first chapter of Creative Ecologies for free at:

I’m going to buy the book, and I think that it is a probably a “must read” for anyone who is interested in a fresh and stimulating exploration of the subject.

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP

“simple patent protection does not apply anymore”

This was a quote from Jean-Noël Durvy, Acting Director Innovation Policy – DG Enterprise and Industry, European Commission, Brussels.  He said this during an opening speech at the European Patent Forum 2009.  According to the lead link from an interesting news agency called “Ag-IP-News” he went on to outline some of the new challenges to the IP system presented by the world of digital technologies.

I am trying to see if there are any papers etc available from this event now it has taken place –if there are then I will post an update with details.

The G8 & the agriculture ministers’ meeting

Last month in Rome the G8 Agriculture Ministers’ meeting was held.  The lead link provides all the details anyone would ever need on this meeting (and more…)  Looking at the final declaration point number 5 deserves a special mention.

“5.    We call for enhanced support including investments in agricultural science, research, technology, education, extension services, and innovation. We also commit ourselves to increasingly share technology, processes and ideas with other countries in the interest of increasing the capacity of national and regional institutions and governments, as well as promoting food security. These efforts are vital to increasing sustainable agricultural productivity and rural development in each country, in accordance with various agricultural conditions, respecting biodiversity and improving peoples’ access to food, social and economic development and prosperity. We will continue our support to capacity building in developing countries in sanitary and phytosanitary standards in order to facilitate access to markets and fulfill requirements of consumers.”

Plenty of IP touch-points in there!  Innovation… sharing…

Of course the meeting was reportedly both positive and negative, depending on which version of events you read.  However, surely it can only be a good sign that this meeting took place and that agriculture is receiving this high level focus.  We will keep an eye open as to whether this translates into more attention/action at the main G8 meeting in July.

Assessing and supporting a country’s innovation

On March 16th we noted that US government funding for university research had been declining, and how this might impact out ability to maintain a lead in innovation.  According to a recent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group and the National Assn. of Manufacturers, the US has lost its lead and now ranks only 8th in a list of “Innovation-Friendly Countries”: (See lead link and scroll down to “Innovation Nations” or to view the whole report click here)

Will increased investment in alternative energy technologies by government and the private sector reverse this trend? Possibly so. But the US is also slipping way behind in high school math and science proficiency.

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP

Shrinking US economy – shrinking public funding for university-based technology research

You can read or listen to this item at the link above from NPR’s Marketplace. They said:

“With budget-conscious universities cutting funding for high-tech research, potential breakthroughs that could stimulate the economy are being put on the back burner”

Since the mid 1950s government investment in basic research has been declining.  And large technology corporations, which had been contracting with US universities for their basic research needs, have been moving offshore. 

If the US wants to regain its global leadership in technology IP, investment in basic research needs to increase; and that research needs to be conducted at and by US based institutions.

Post written by Peter Bloch, consultant to CAS-IP

Strategic use of IP from South Africa?

The Afro-IP blog posted an entry last week about a new law in South Africa regarding IP rights.  The blog post publishes the following quote from the Department of Science and Technology:

“The specific object of the legislation is that intellectual property emanating from publicly financed research and development should be commercialised for the benefit of all South Africans, and protected from appropriation.”

Of course, it is not without criticism – see the linked article here from a technology news site called “IT web”  for some comments from Andrew Rens, who is an intellectual property fellow at the Shuttleworth Foundation

“The Bill will have wide-ranging consequences for the South African research community … the country could see a decline in research co-operation from international consortia with universities, a decline in philanthropic funding and a move away from open access.”

Innovation strategies; the top downs & the bottom ups

This item was on the “random rantings” blog of Freek Vermeulen, Associate Professor of Strategic & International Management at the London School of Business.  It deals with an idea of how an organisation can ensure “bottom up” innovation without loosing sight of your clear strategic “top down” goals.  It includes an interesting factoid about how microprocessors started out in life.

Reversal of the traditional flow of innovation?

This Boston Globe article builds an argument that “innovation’s centre of gravity” is set to move further from developed nations and closer to poorer ones.  It uses current examples of mobile technology innovations, until now unknown in the US & Europe, that are building a financial sector in areas of India populated by those living (until now) in a purely cash economy.  These innovations are unlocking new services and stimulating the market.  Big technology providers are taking notice and are reacting by moving research hubs into the developing world.

The article quotes:

“C.K. Prahalad, a business professor at the University of Michigan, has called [it] “the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” – the vast aggregate purchasing power locked away in the 4 billion people who make up the world’s poor… companies are confronting the unique challenge of making high-tech products cheaply enough to make a profit. In some cases, this means shifting jobs for talented designers and engineers to the developing world – not just to save labor costs, but in order to better understand the markets they are now trying to reach.

“Developing markets offer the best opportunity for global firms to discover what is likely to be ‘next practice,’ as contrasted with today’s best practice,” Prahalad has written. “The low end is a new source of innovation.””

The start of a reversed trend in TT flow?