Further to my last blog post on a need for a National Ministry of Innovation, I’d like to expand on this further as I’m presently here in Singapore and feel this is even more topical.
Always Singapore provides you with a positive impression when it comes to development. It is a country that consistently experiments and explores its options to grow its economy. Innovation is within this mix but I still think it should be more central, visible and coordinated to extract that little ‘extra juice’ often needed today.
Visiting Singapore on this trip I’ve been examining where innovation ‘fits’, and there are plenty of examples of experimentation backed up by investment seed money, but for me, innovation still lacks a certain coherency and consistency of purpose within policy. I feel with the changing nature of innovation and its increasing value creation aspect it does need to be given a greater sense of attention, so further investments can build innovation deeper into the fabric of society. A national innovation body can bring this coherency of purpose that Singapore strives for.
I have championed for a number of years this need for a clearer National Innovation Strategy to deepen and support all the different activities needed to be ‘housed’ within Singapore. It is at this national level you achieve a greater match between supply-side inputs and the demand side by understanding the roles played by all the parties. You can’t afford any form of hands-off approach today; you need a strong strategic focus on the roles and policies for the delivery of that innovative society that is needed to compete effectively in today’s world.
A national innovation policy structure can go well beyond a conventional set of prescriptions. Where? It can provide for a greater intensity in:
- Channelling R&D into specific technology and industry challenges.
- Clarifying what is around the world that is missing that needs to be brought into Singapore in nascent technologies etc, so as to support what has already been drawn in, thus anchoring the value of what is produced in Singapore.
- A national policy allows for more comprehensive ‘roadmaps’ in key industries and research to be understood and the gaps narrowed.
- The more focused funding of sector-based industry-university-government research partnerships that met this National innovation policy.
- You achieve a more robust approach to clustering that has a broader regional need.
- You create deeper knowledge to the methods, processes, approaches and techniques needed for innovation.
- You add further impetus to where private sectors needs to adopt and where public sector needs to support.
- You speed up the rate of knowledge transfer between the players with a more coordinated agenda.
- A national policy gives fresh emphasis on the tax code to spur innovation and where to invest and can help to shape future trade policy in its championing.
- Lastly you develop clearer ways to measure often those elusive innovation metrics that provide the justification on return on investments by the parties involved.
For me a National Innovation agenda, driven by a clearly identified body, helps in driving national and global solutions through coordinating innovation. It builds up the ongoing knowledge of innovation in its evolving process and allows for greater monitoring, peer review and the build up of good policy practices that stimulate the growth within the economy.
I’d just like to see innovation having this greater recognition of its role for society within Singapore. Having innovation as more central in policy decisions, recognised and seen would add further momentum to all the present good work invested in innovation activity. It connects and strengthens the dots that are already established. I still think it’s the way forward for providing Singapore an even more competitive edge .