The Australian Centre for Innovation has decided to cease operations rather than risk irrelevance.
News of the decision has made its way to lists of voluntary winding up applications and when iTnews asked the organisation why that was so, CEO Ron Johnston quickly posted an explanation.
The post is not prolix: the only reason offered for the windup is that “The demand for our special insights on science, technology and innovation has declined as governments and companies have moved to require end-to-end analysis, policy formulation and program delivery in house.”
The Centre was established in 1992 as an independent non-profit company. The organisations site proclaims its charter “included contributing to the objectives of the University of Sydney and the Warren Centre for Advanced Engineering. We have been deeply involved in developing a better understanding of the changing nature of the global knowledge economy and the means to prosper within it. At the same time, the Centre has continued its research and consulting in the areas of innovation, research and technology policy.”
Johnston’s post says “I believe it is fair to claim, that we have significantly advanced the understanding of the role of science, technology and innovation (STI) in the national and global economy and of the tools and policies required to support the growth and application of STI (though it has become apparent it is a never-ending challenge).”
He also claimed the organisation “helped to pioneer the application of tools like scenario planning to strengthen the future-orientation of strategy, planning and management, and to interpret the potential characteristics of a range of emerging technologies. “
“And we have had a marked impact on the learning of thousands of engineering students, providing them with a wider perspective on the professional aspects of their skill development, and of the role of technology in their future career.”
Innovation think tanks have had a hard time of it lately: the Australian Institute for Innovation (a2i) shut in 2016 after being unable to secure further funding. The a2i lasted just six years.
But the nation is not bereft of innovation aspiration: the Federal Government’s National Innovation and Science Agenda remains in place, but its four year-funding expires at the end of 2019.
Liberal Party policy celebrates some of the Agenda’s achievements but does not guarantee continued funding, while the Australian Labor Party’s draft policy [PDF] includes a section titled “Innovation and the Economy of the Future”.