Scenario: You have an idea to save the earth; it ticks all the right boxes – manageable, positive environmental impacts, economics drivers. Then your problem becomes, it takes a government department to act in its pedant fashion a solid 12 months to determine you have a sound proposal; that the Minister will be interested and then forward through the Ministerial process for the policy announcement. So what is the cost? Personally, two major risks: Your funds dry up waiting and waiting has a cost; someone might leak out your proposal and a pro-active body will develop and package your idea. Why would they do that – package your idea?
The next step of government once Ministerial approval is given is call for Expression of Interest (EOI) or a tender (RFT or RFQ), or if fortunate called as a select process (select meaning limited responses canvased). Once called your package is most at risk – it is most likely the call will be a contestable program. Yes, you may have guessed the problem; your idea is used as the basis of the call and offered as a framework for the development proposal. This means those that, during the 12 months hiatus, proactively developed your idea can now offer it to tender with many more questions fully answered or they may be better able to offer additional value of the proposal.
Why does this happen? Because in this country government cannot be seen to proactively encourage any industry to be innovative at the early adopter stage. But, I hear you say taxpayers money is involved and at risk. But, we say that is not true, it is the innovator that is taking the risk, all that is required of government is encouragement and ensuring a sufficient procedure is in place for ethical behaviours. If you look hard at current policy and find pleasure in the ‘bell curve’ it becomes very easy to see that current policy follows the pareto rule but it is skewed to mature or big brand programs only. This inclination does make an absolute mockery of term ‘strategic direction’; it follows that known acceptable programs tend to be tactical in the response pattern and is likely to be reactionary and not proactive.