AndersB

Innovation in different countries

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The EU has published a report about the level of innovativeness in different countries.

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/policy/innovation-scoreboard/index_en.htm

 

The scoreboard takes into account:

 

Enablers: the basic building blocks which allow innovation to take place - human resources, open, excellent and attractive research systems, and finance and support.
 
Firm activities: which capture innovation efforts in European firms - firm investments, linkages and entrepreneurship, and intellectual assets.
 
Outputs: show how this translates into benefits for the economy as a whole - innovators and economic effects.
 
Here is the chart of the EU countries' scores:
innovation-performance-2014.jpg
 
The report also compares EU performance against other countries. Australia measures 0.389, which is 62% of the average EU score. This is near equal with Greece (country code EL), who scored 0.384.
 
Is it time for Australian politicians to invest more into research and innovation?
Edited by AndersB

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The EU has published a report about the level of innovativeness in different countries.

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/innovation/policy/innovation-scoreboard/index_en.htm

 

The scoreboard takes into account:

 

Enablers: the basic building blocks which allow innovation to take place - human resources, open, excellent and attractive research systems, and finance and support.
 
Firm activities: which capture innovation efforts in European firms - firm investments, linkages and entrepreneurship, and intellectual assets.
 
Outputs: show how this translates into benefits for the economy as a whole - innovators and economic effects.
 
Here is the chart of the EU countries' scores:
innovation-performance-2014.jpg
 
The report also compares EU performance against other countries. Australia measures 0.389, which is 62% of the average EU score. This is near equal with Greece (country code EL), who scored 0.384.
 
Is it time for Australian politicians to invest more into research and innovation?

 

 

I'm sure it is pure coincidence that the two scores mentioned are very close to Fibonacci ratios!  :ph34r:

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How am I not surprised that Northern Europe comes out on top? Is it the northern lights or something? :)

 

Anders - have you come across 'Beyond Budgeting' (Bjarte Bogsnes)? He touches on some very interesting themes that may correlate with those results.

 

Forget Oz gubment ever being a leader in this space. They are about supporting rent seekers and career self-interest. Culturally and intellectually Oz is a relatively desolate landscape (as exhibited if comparable with Greece).

 

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This is a sweeping generalisation, but based on my own observations (and many other foreigners I've spoken to say the same thing), Australians are smart but aren't generally great lateral thinkers.

 

My guess is that conformity is encouraged here (nanny state and all that). I've certainly encountered the "that's how it's done here, fit in or **** offf" mentality when suggesting that there are better ways to do a particular task practised elsewhere.

 

Pretty much by definition, innovation is based on doing something differently and thinking out of the box and I think that is regarded as un-Australian in many workforce cultures.

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This is a sweeping generalisation, but based on my own observations (and many other foreigners I've spoken to say the same thing), Australians are smart but aren't generally great lateral thinkers.

 

My guess is that conformity is encouraged here (nanny state and all that). I've certainly encountered the "that's how it's done here, fit in or **** offf" mentality when suggesting that there are better ways to do a particular task practised elsewhere.

 

Pretty much by definition, innovation is based on doing something differently and thinking out of the box and I think that is regarded as un-Australian in many workforce cultures.

 

Australians are relatively well off due to the wealth from natural resources relative to the size of the population. Until that changes, the incentive/drive for living from the collective brains of the nation will not exists to the same extent as countries like Japan as an example.

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Australians are relatively well off due to the wealth from natural resources relative to the size of the population. Until that changes, the incentive/drive for living from the collective brains of the nation will not exists to the same extent as countries like Japan as an example.

 

I can understand the "we're doing well so we don't need to think" argument at a macro level.

 

However within the overall boom to infinity and beyond (so Pasoce and the pollies tell me) economy there are many industries, firms and small businesses that are battling. I would expect them to adopt more of a "if we don't do something differently we will get the same result" attitude.

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This is a sweeping generalisation, but based on my own observations (and many other foreigners I've spoken to say the same thing), Australians are smart but aren't generally great lateral thinkers.

 

My guess is that conformity is encouraged here (nanny state and all that). I've certainly encountered the "that's how it's done here, fit in or **** offf" mentality when suggesting that there are better ways to do a particular task practised elsewhere.

 

Pretty much by definition, innovation is based on doing something differently and thinking out of the box and I think that is regarded as un-Australian in many workforce cultures.

 

I think there are cultural differences between here and Northern Europe that influence innovation.

 

For example (prepare for an inherent rant-type post...),

 

(things may have changed since I last visited), in places like Netherlands, Berlin, etc. you aren't treated like cattle when you board a train (treat people as trustworthy). Here you have to shuffle through cattle gates (treat people as untrustworthy). Staff there are more friendly while ticket inspectors here act as bouncers. In the case of Netherlands, in general they treat drug use with maturity (coffee shops, etc.) whereas here it is a ban everything mentality. Here they classify substances with known medical benefits as substances with no medical benefits (completely unscientific nanny barbarianism).

 

In the case of Norway (from personal experience), a bachelor degree isn't anything special - you're almost expected to do a masters if you want to consider yourself educated (a family member is doing her masters, and her boyfriend a PhD - both science related). Here it's off to the mines to make a living or build houses to foreigners to get rich. In Scandanavia the prisons are of such quality it is almost like a home detention. Here the gubment wants to store prisoners in containers, and the system is antiquated and dilapidated.

 

In northern Europe (moreso the continent) there is a cultural familiarity and acceptance of naturism (FKK), whereas here people freak out if you see a nipple - a hang over from the prudish British ways. In Germany there is a culture of building family-based industries with focus on apprenticeships and excellence. Here it's 457 visas because we don't want to train anybody.

 

Maybe it's just my bias but in general I view northern Europeans (NEs) more mature than those is Oz. The nanny state here is intolerable at times, yet there it is even more socialist but not as intolerable.

 

I guess the choice between innovating and freezing to death (when you can't dig up rocks) is a good motivator, but there are cultural dynamics at play too.

 

As a final example look at Norway's management of mineral wealth ( http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-09/all-norwegians-become-millionaire-shareholders-in-world27s-big/5191480 ) in comparison to here (government scared off by big business to introduce mining rent tax).

 

Innovation isn't only about 'smartness'. There's more to it than just intelligence or knowledge.

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I can understand the "we're doing well so we don't need to think" argument at a macro level.

 

However within the overall boom to infinity and beyond (so Pasoce and the pollies tell me) economy there are many industries, firms and small businesses that are battling. I would expect them to adopt more of a "if we don't do something differently we will get the same result" attitude.

 

Some small businesses are probably adjusting to changing environments. But you probably won't get those changes on a wide scale until there is a major shift in the economic circumstances (ie. the next big recession). 

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I also think that the weather has something to do with productivity. The colder northern Europe is much productive/richer in general than southern European countries (Club Med). Australia has a relatively warm climate in general. Perhaps humans are more productive when they're freezing their n@ts off!

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I also think that the weather has something to do with productivity. The colder northern Europe is much productive/richer in general than southern European countries (Club Med). Australia has a relatively warm climate in general. Perhaps humans are more productive when they're freezing their n@ts off!

I believe I mentioned in my travelogues the thing that Al and I both noticed. f*cking Long Winters!

 

Put an average smart person in a room for 6 months and they'll come up with something, then their friends join in. We have tattoos being cool, they have people in handmade chain mail being cool.

 

That said though

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I believe I mentioned in my travelogues the thing that Al and I both noticed. f*cking Long Winters!

 

Put an average smart person in a room for 6 months and they'll come up with something, then their friends join in. We have tattoos being cool, they have people in handmade chain mail being cool.

 

That said though

 

Norway is the home of black metal. Sweden is synonymous with great thrash metal, death metal and other forms of metal. Finland have Lordi and the metal Eurovision victor.

 

That is what you get from long winters. :)

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I also think that the weather has something to do with productivity. The colder northern Europe is much productive/richer in general than southern European countries (Club Med). Australia has a relatively warm climate in general. Perhaps humans are more productive when they're freezing their n@ts off!

 

I have pondered a similar theory that the further north/south from the equator you go the more productive society becomes. It holds in general (Vic vs Qld, Nsw vs Qld, Chile vs Colombia, Club med vs scandinavia, Canada vs US and the list goes on...) But then you strike the exceptions like nth Korea and Tasmania.  :twisted:

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How am I not surprised that Northern Europe comes out on top? Is it the northern lights or something? :)

 

Anders - have you come across 'Beyond Budgeting' (Bjarte Bogsnes)? He touches on some very interesting themes that may correlate with those results.

 

Forget Oz gubment ever being a leader in this space. They are about supporting rent seekers and career self-interest. Culturally and intellectually Oz is a relatively desolate landscape (as exhibited if comparable with Greece).

 

I had a quick look at Bjarte's ideas. On the face of it, it makes sense to invest in the opportunities for efficiency improvements when they arise, rather than wait until next year's budget.

 

I'm not sure what to make of the report and what the implications are for Australia. Our nearest competition is not very well-known for innovation: we just beat Malta, Slovakia and Hungary, but trail behind Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic.

 

Innovation by nature displaces old ways of doing things. So, it may be politically unattractive for incumbent management or experts to accept that the basis for their career advancement is obsolete.

 

Perhaps there are cultural aspects that hinder innovation to flourish in Australia. Just take the idea that spending all your discretionary money on ever more expensive real estate is a huge misallocation of a nation's resources. As we know, that makes vested interests and property investors unleash all out war. A calm rational debate is very difficult to facilitate when the culture is very partisan.

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Perhaps there are cultural aspects that hinder innovation to flourish in Australia. Just take the idea that spending all your discretionary money on ever more expensive real estate is a huge misallocation of a nation's resources.

 

Excuse me, we don't spend ALL our discretionary income on real estate. Some is set aside for booze, pokies and tattoos.

 

I think everything becomes crystal clear once you think of Australia as a giant property development / land banking / property price manipulating corporation (like Mirvac). It's a propery company that happens to be a country, just like it's a country that happens to be a continent.

 

The different branches of government are supporting functions for the primary aim of increasing property prices, like IT, HR and finance are supposed to be supporting functions of a company's core function (even if HR/finance typically usurp power)..

 

E.g let's regard property flipping investing as a zero sum pyramid scheme that requires exponential growth in the bottom level of the pyramid for gamblers investors to continue making money. The different branches of government encouraged people to breed like a swarm of rabid bats* and brought in record levels of immigration to bolster the base of the pyramid.

 

Once that was no longer enough to maintain the pyramid (exponential functions are a bitch), they started marketing Aussie property to the most populous nation on Earth and turned a blind eye with respect to enforcing regulation restricting foreign investment in property. Genius! After all, a healthy property market is a healthy economy.

 

* I expect the analogy police to roast me like a marshmallow over a campfire for this post.

Edited by Turkey

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I had a quick look at Bjarte's ideas. On the face of it, it makes sense to invest in the opportunities for efficiency improvements when they arise, rather than wait until next year's budget.

 

One thing that stood out when I saw a presentation of his last year was to have a values based organisation rather than a rules based organisation.

 

The metaphor/example he used was traffic lights vs. roundabout. Traffic lights direct traffic on a set of rules, simplistic to navigate but inefficient; a roundabout is more complex to navigate but more efficient as a driver can make decisions by the own judgment rather than a pre-determined set of controlling rules.

 

An example is tax code (law). Using this source an example ( http://books.google.com.au/books?id=dvzfwUx2ZTwC&pg=PA146&lpg=PA146&dq=swedish+tax+code+%22number+of+pages%22&source=bl&ots=H90X6vvTxI&sig=7g9Cb9_CyNybuP2Yn28fAfsvsFk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YaAXU_gRhoOVBZfzgIAN&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=swedish%20tax%20code%20%22number%20of%20pages%22&f=false ):

 

Swedish tax code is 700 pages; in the UK it is 8300. I'd suggest that in Australia it would be in the order of thousands of pages. Although you could argue that it is a matter of simplicity in design, I'd argue it is also a reflection of culture in trust (treating people as adults) and distrust (follow a zillion rules) - following principles vs. following rules. Hello nanny state.

 

If you treat people like adults, they'll respond as adults; same goes for if you treat them as adolescents.

 

Another point he raised that the company he works for (can't remember the name, big Norwegian oil company) was ranked #1 for transparency. Compare that with the culture here. The gubment won't release FIRB stats on dwelling purchases by foreigners as if it is some state secret. Unions are up in arms when companies want to use GPS technology to improve efficiency - for fear of being caught out as a 'bludger'.

 

IMO culture is the major driver for innovation.

 

The theory of cold climates does have a few outliers like Singapore (hot climate) and Russia (cold climate).

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The Winter War is an interesting case study in innovation (there's a great doco on youtube). Some of the tactics the Finnish used were 'out of the box' such as the Molotov cocktail, rendering the much larger and more equiped Soviet army inept. It's amazing that up to a million Soviet soldiers died during the war.

 

A culture of innovation was arguably the Finns' greatest strength in that conflict. Both sides were from cold climates too. :)

Edited by Mr Medved

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