Waltz with your innovation – 1,2,3 step

What really goes wrong with the next step from innovation is a common question. The most probable answer is scientific reputation. Followed by you. Followed by your assistance choice. Think this: You have a really good solution for a problem you have identified. You put your energies into making it possible. So you go from inventor to innovation. Chances are it goes wrong at the next point – what is known as the valley of death in the leap to commercialisation. You spend vast amounts of money in relative terms and still no significant progress. There is plenty of talk and countless possibilities. However, there is very little progress.

Chances are you challenged conventional wisdom – first mistake. Someone else has something to lose. Chances are you have improved a widget – next mistake. It was someone else’s cash cow. Chances are you did not realise you have set a new standard, or at least the potential to change is recognised. This means you are causal to change. Have any of you ever thought that what you cause to change might not like to change?

Once you have spawned you idea and it is in front of your eyes, and you dream of the introduction to the market. We all think for the good mankind here it is, wonderful!

To have your idea move to being accredited it must be measured in some way. By what measure soon becomes a dilemma. Does it produce an electric current, does it produce noise, and does it produce gases and so on? This is where scientific reputation becomes important. Chances are you need some sort of national accreditation body give it a number of some sort. The most common delay to the introduction of your idea is proving it is a benefit. A couple of examples are the CSIRO writes of the promise of a particular technology, financiers have promised funds, buyers are prepared to place orders. But, you only now go to the EPA or some enforcement equivalent body asking for the merits to be rewarded with an exemption or sanction of some sort. Your mistake – market acceptance is not enforcement acceptance. Now considerable effort is needed to save your initiative. You may even need to change your design because of scientific reputation.

Will you accept the notion you must change? In an article, http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235608 , JULY 15, 2014, Steve Tobak wrote: “As a veteran of Silicon Valley, I’ve had the distinct pleasure of working with more than my fair share of talented and innovative entrepreneurs. Sadly, some of their behavior was just dysfunctional enough to royally screw things up for themselves and their companies…… That’s not meant to be as irreverent as it sounds. I have always felt empathy for founders and their stakeholders. After all, it’s not as if I were some paragon of virtuous behavior when I was an executive, either. Nobody’s perfect……… Nevertheless, you can’t fix a problem until you face the truth. So whenever I have an opportunity to help a promising startup that can’t find its way or a mature company in need of a turnaround, it is difficult to watch them fail simply because those in charge aren’t willing to deal with their limitations…….. Any decent psychiatrist will tell you that on some level smart people do understand what’s really going on. They do have common sense. They hear what others are telling them. They know what they’re doing. So when they suppress it, bury it in their subconscious, hear what they want to hear – call it what you want — that, my friends, is a choice……….    I bet I know what you’re thinking. There are lots of reasons why startups fail. Yes, there are. I’m sure I’ve seen them all. But if you dig down a bit, the root cause of most of them is that their leaders choose not to see what’s staring them right in the face. Think about it. You find a reason and I’ll show you an entrepreneur in denial………. Lots of companies run out of cash. But while some can’t raise capital, you would not believe how many can and simply don’t. Oftentimes, their founders aren’t willing to give up a piece of the pie. They try to bootstrap a promising venture and end up starving it to death. Or they have too high a burn rate, aren’t willing to invest the time it takes to raise a round of funding, wait too long and run out of time……… It’s hard to imagine how many beneficial ideas, inventions and innovations never see the light of day because they offer solutions that don’t actually solve any real problems. Or they’ve come up with concepts, not products……… Lots of entrepreneurs are not in it for the long haul or for the right reasons; they think they can make a quick million or feed their egos. Some don’t think they need a unique value proposition or competitive differentiation. Others have holes in their strategy so big it would take a miracle to fill them.”

Co2Land org say there is another problem we should also mention. Be very careful with who you ‘are allocated’ to help with commercialisation – their motive may not match your own expectations. Example: You see a long-term relationship with your enterprise; they may see the need for you to make a company exit. Who is right – the right of the company or your association right!

So it is a three step, a waltz no doubt: reputation, you and your partnership choice.


Work Smarter – retail v’s wholesale rules

The various ways innovation can be killed off achieves only one goal, to prevent us from doing things smarter. In 1994 the Department of Finance issued a statement aimed to clarify working smarter. In 2014 the Australian Government again said: We need to work smarter. What does smarter mean? You could take the view it is a balancing term where working smarter is a term that illustrates the rigor and complexity of the English language. Smarter used this way works equally well in arts, literacy, and performance tasks. However, what if it were used as a verb as an irritating means to stop something innovative?

The US gives us a good example of this where the legal challenge to a regulator that issued a rule for good and smart behaviour needed to be defended because it balanced the demand supply equation and that disrupted business as usual. This example was blogged by Joel Eisen: D.C. Circuit Vacates FERC Smart Grid “Demand Response” Rule.

Joel B. Eisen is Professor of Law and Austin Owen Research Fellow at University of Richmond School of Law. His scholarly work is available here.

Last Friday (May 23), in Electric Power Supply Association v. FERC, a D.C. Circuit panel split 2-1 and vacated Order 745, a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rule designed to promote “demand response” (DR). DR is a rapidly growing and valuable means of reducing electricity demand, thereby benefiting consumers and the environment. It is also an important part of the Smart Grid, in which smart meters and devices that communicate with one another and energy service providers can further promote these goals. Indeed, former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff has called DR the Smart Grid’s “killer app.”

The case tested a question of near first impression about the Smart Grid: which level of government regulates it? For now, the D.C. Circuit has held squarely for the states, concluding that DR regulation is a matter of exclusive state jurisdiction. If the decision stands, it will have many adverse implications for federal regulation to advance the Smart Grid and use the wholesale electricity markets to achieve energy reductions and environmental goals.”

What was the argument for the smarter innovation? 1. Directly affects wholesale rates by reducing prices and improving overall market functioning. 2. It has the effect of enabling demand-side resources, as well as supply-side resources, and improves the economic operation of electricity markets. 3. The regulator believed there would be limited Demand Response participation in the markets without encouragement.

The disruption to the smarter solution was achieved by dissention. It was not an issue of being straightforward and sensible, it was that it was competing with the established market and compensated those other than the supply side of the market. The smarter practice affected (can do) the wholesale market in a positive way, but it was “a part of the retail market. It involves retail customers, their decision whether to purchase at retail, and the levels of retail electricity consumption.” The regulator was empowered to regulate practices affecting the wholesale market, not the retail market.

So dear innovators, we have a situation: Working smarter has drawbacks, it can inflict pain, it can wound and be irritating to watch the dissenters argue you have no right expecting a retail outcome where it might affect the wholesale heaven of the established. It does tend to put the perspective on the ‘valley of death’ referred to in commercialization preamble!


Fair Go – going going, if I were a charity

If I were able to classify myself as a charity. Think of the ‘free trade’ deals I could do? I might even avoid being sued for helping Australians! Actually it is not funny, many of the employer groups are considering or are reported as lobbying to be considered as a charity. Where is this talk heading? The conversation is getting down to the watering down of the disclosure laws and how are killing off manufacturing in Australia and creating a service industry based on bankable power that favours overseas interests.

The United States of America has learn’t a lesson from this sort of folly. Today they are putting considerable effort in rebuilding their manufacturing sector, and small business has a big part to play in this role because they are the innovators, the engine that is faster to adapt and foster the happiness factor just by doing.

Tristan – you are spot on where you say “The biggest killer of manufacturing jobs is the free trade agreement”. He was actually talking about the current government when they signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Thailand in 2005 and South Korea in Dec 2013. Then he goes on to say “The government’s own fact sheet acknowledged that domestic manufacturing would be detrimentally affected by the FTAs? Australia finalises free trade agreement with South Korea?” Then quoting the Guardian, 5 Dec 2013: “A fact sheet provided by the government acknowledges some sectors could face increased competition from imports of South Korean products and services, such as motor vehicles and parts, steel products and textiles, clothing and footwear.”

Tristan then raises the issue we should all worry about: “All the FTAs the Liberals have signed also include the contentious clause allowing foreign corporations to sue Australia over legislation that is good for Australians but which detrimentally affects foreign corporations’ profitability.”

Yesterday, 7 April 2014, it was announced that Australia has now signed a FTA with Japan, and claimed is the benefits that come with it including jobs, businesses benefiting and banks smirking with glee. However, if you consider foreign corporations can now sue Australia if we affect they profitability, and that many of the companies that exist in Australia are overseas owned, our Government has made itself irrelevant!

Our Government cannot deliver on any promise to help mainstream Australians and small business innovation is being strangled – the fair go has gone. But what about the promise to create jobs – we currently have 840,000 jobless Australians on Newstart since September 2013 and it is the highest level for 15 years. Promised is to create 1 million jobs in 5 years.
The catch in this statement: The jobs were never promised to go to Australians, nor was it said the people would be well paid, nor ‘real jobs’ because many of the programs would count welfare recipients as employed.

As some further evidence also consider the Federal Government Agency, Austrade has argued for the lowering of tourism wages and a relaxation of 457 visa restrictions to allow guest workers to fill the tourism jobs. Reports on the Mining industry suggests the same there too. Manufacturing, well that is being killed off, and skill sets wasted. The answer get jobs in house renovations that will save you! The question is now will the service industry be enough to bring our great nation forward? Well look back to the USA, they are now desperate to rebuild their manufacturing industry, it is the powerhouse of being a world leader, and the heroes for the USA are the small business innovators and determination to succeed at the satisfaction of something tangible.

That is it – the problem is we think virtual, we need tangible. Oh no, some politician is going to borrow that phrase for their purpose. Quick build an Abbott proof fence.

A ‘true’ reflection of our community thinking

Alan Kohle – finance presenter on ABC News, said: Abolishing the carbon tax will cost real money – $13.7 billion over four years – because unlike the minerals resource rent tax (MRRT), it would have actually worked. He postulated that the repeal of the MRRT and its associated spending measures produces a net GAIN to the budget over four years of $9.5 billion … and this was supposed to be a tax. This makes interesting reading, the MRRT is a tax that is a net gain to the economy and the repeal of Carbon Pricing is a cost. Now we are starting to understand that the Senate is on about – is expected to vote for costs at a time when someone or something declared ‘budget emergency’.

Jokingly, a near neighbour suggested the best way to tackle the deficient is to remove the cabinet from our executive. It makes some sort of sense if you consider the spin doctors make up the words, the power brokers approve and the Ministers mouth the words with Shakespearean gusto, and possibly cannot answer simple questions outside the script, often saying when asked to do so – I am not the author Ill get the person that wrote it to answer?  It would reduce our deficit would it not?

But far more damaging is what our trading neighbours think…Great conversation with a phone call coming in from …….. yesterday afternoon…have confirmed our first ……… be shipped to us end of January, plus additional projects (really interesting ones) over there. They also provided some friendly political advice that our esteemed PM was doing considerable harm in Asia and needed a bit of “polishing”…… brought gales of laughter and the comment that this is why he was not being taken too seriously at the moment because it was not believed he was a true reflection of our community feeling.

Are our Asian neighbors right? What is so sad about this story is that originally, the project mention above was mooted to be manufactured in Australia – government programs were solicited and proved difficult. It also seems incredulous that the program administrators expect the bankable is sufficient because they approve or disapprove through a program. If you go to the bank with that view they are likely to say government is irrelevant – It is starting to sound like a prophesy, is it not!

Then someone said something ridiculous – I thought they were ‘nomads’ – but they get angry when I TALK TO THEM – The joke is in ‘no mads’ OK!

DoIICCSRTE – again one more time around

If you wondered if the writing is on the wall for climate change adaptation strategies what better declaration other than to say we need a new super department and call it the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

As of 26 March 2013 the transition has started in a move the Australian Government hopes will be seen as logical and a way to portray that climate change is taken seriously across all of government and across all portfolios. In asking the question will it work? Consider:

Logical – The movement of Energy Efficiency to Resources; energy and emission reduction policies best fit is with Climate Change.

Illogical – the same super minister overseeing mining companies will manage renewable energy.

Means – the urgent need to decarbonize the economy.

Ends – to cut funding to over 140 projects across 33 universities around Australia. To affect more than 100 researchers in the ability to carry out critical work on climate change adaptation.

The game is to be seen as promoting innovation. That word innovation is being used as a football – or should we say moneyball.

If you are not aware the opposition is committed to reducing expenditure by $23b and if you think of what the Government has done – it is making that very difficult to do as the expenditure trimming has started and it will be difficult to extract efficiency dividends on already lean departments without stopping practices all together.

Therefore it is a game of tactics as both the government and opposition are committed to strategy for climate change. The tactics appear at this stage to be:

Government – creating a Super department and reducing the Department of Climate Change staffing numbers from about 1000 to around 600, and reducing funding to research facilities.

Coalition – reunite Climate Change and the Environment in a relationship it believes makes more sense, and revisit six green star accommodation at the Nishi building at a cost of $10 million a year.

Co2Land org take s particular note of the coalition stance and where they say it makes more sense – it does for control purposes. However, it will fall into the same traps of the Howard era and quickly be unworkable as a policy instrument. But then again that will allow ‘yes minister’ to continue and compel a review at opportune times.  The term then was a ‘broad policy approach’ – history to repeat itself?

Because it is good reading we suggest you research this matter asking the questions:

And what happened to Climate Change Adaptation? Has that once commonly used title now gone altogether? Then follow up on the link –

The ABC did a story last month about the future of the body charged with preparing the nation to meet the challenge of global warming, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.