Saturday, April 05, 2008

ACT 2020 Summit Close

Following more small group discussion, there was a final plenary session for the ACT 2020 Summit. This had the opportunity for people to put in individual comments. It was useful in giving people the feeling they had been heard, but was not a lot of practical use. At this stage it started to turn into something like The Oprah Winfrey Show.

At one stage a video screen was used to show the drafting of the points covered, but then this was switched off, leaving two white boards. The material on the white boards was not readable from past the first couple of rows of seats.

Senator Lundy put my suggestion for a web discussion forum to the Chief Minister's staff and this will likely be taken up. If that is successful, hopefully the national summit will do the same. I might then get some more students for my course on how to use such technology for government. ;-)


Rendering of the TEAL classroom at MITIt occurred to me that the TEAL style learning room design could be used for this type of event. I tough it might be used for the Australian 2020 Summit, in the great hall of Parliament House. In this mode, groups of people would sit around tables. The same room would be used both for sessions involving the whole room and for table based group work. This would reduce the logistical difficulties in having to have lots of rooms and moving people in and out.

However, the Great Hall of Parliament House is 1120 square metres, four times an MIT TEAL room and so would only accommodate about 500 people when seated at conventional round tables.

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Towards a Carbon Neutral Capital

At the same time the ACT 2020 Summit was on in one part of the National Convention Center in Canberra, there was a "Switch to Green Conference 2008" in another part and a Switch to Green Expo. I sneaked out of one of the 2020 sessions and had a look at how to make Canberra carbon neutral.

One of the exhibits was from Australian Ethical Investments. They mentioned that their web site was getting a lot of traffic from my blog. There were a range of solar panels, green power, insulation and other products on display. There were no computer products on display, which could be a potential market.

iQhome were displaying LED low energy lights. As well as one designed to fit into existing fittings, to replace halogen down-lights, they had new fittings in interesting shapes with LEDs built in. One type of light was the "LED Bar", a long bar, with a row of LEDs in it, which can be simply screwed to a surface.

The most eye catching lights were "LED Boards", which looked like panels from the starship Enterprise. These were sheets of transparent plastic a few mm thick which appeared to glow. This effect was achieved by embedding a row of LEDs along one side of the sheet and etching fine lines in one surface. The light traveled through the plastic and was reflected from etched lines. These could be attached to flat surfaces. One was being used in the back of a picture frame to back light a transparency and the result looked like a still image on a plasma TV. It might be possible to fix these as shelves.

These type of LED lights are much more expensive than incandescent and fluorescent units. However, they allow light to be carefully positioned where required and thus can be used for effects which are otherwise not possible and in a way which can reduce energy use.

Another stand had an energy saving technology which required no power or computers: the YWCA Canberra "Walking School Bus". A walking school bus is a group of schoolchildren, with someone at the front to direct them (called the "driver") and someone the end to collect stragglers (called the "conductor"). The bus walks a set route picking up children in the morning and dropping them off in the evening. This way two adults can look after a group of about 17 children, without the need for them to be driven in a vehicle.

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Afternoon Canberra 2020 Session

The morning session of the Canberra 2020 Summit was a little disappointing. I was frustrated by the process of using a face to face forum, which limited the discussion to one speaker at a time. It seems bizarre that in the 21st Century we would be working this way. However, the rapporteurs did a good job of note taking. By the time the points had been transcribed to white boards at the front they made a lot more sense and were much more coherent that the discussion sounded to me.

I quickly tried the record the themes:

Active citizenry: Included and engaged
Recognized city of excellence: regional creative hub
Linked internationally, nationally, and regional
Designing and planning for its future
Making it easy to make choices and participate
No "No Lost People"

Indeginious Future:
Communities and families Inclusion
Community Saftey

Economic and Digital IT:
City for Asia Pacific / Hub of Innovation
Form "Infrastructure ACT"
Radical rethink housing and planning
Refocus the public sector to risk and outcomes

Creative future:
Healthy futures
Sustainablity and the city: Design the city around pub.ic transport; Implement bio regional planning; Move to best practice building; Become carbon neutral
Education and skills: Become a capital city for education and culture; Life long learning; redesign the notionof "school"

The lunch break discussions were almost more useful than the formal sessions. Some issues which came up were the changing demographic of Canberra, transport needs (such as a Canberra Sydney fast train Saturday. Also one of the ACT Government staff commented that they would at least like a day off for having to work; like the federal summit, the ACT public servants working at the summit are unpaid.

Another issue which came up was how to communicate the outcomes of the ACT 2020 Summit and accept further input. The ACT Government's plan was to put the outcomes on the Chief Minister's web site and invite input. The Moodle web site I set up for the Open 2020 Event seems to have been well received and I might see if the ACT Government would like a similar one.

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Opening of ACT 2020 Summit

Greetings from the ACT 2020 Summit, which is on Saturday 5 April 2008 at the National Convention Centre (NCC), in Canberra. By a curious coincidence, in 1996 I wrote a 2020 scenario as part of an ACT Government project about Canberra, including the NCC.

The theme of the day is "Innovation: for a city state whose core natural asset is its people". Lynette Glendinning, from PALM Consulting Group is managing the complex process which which has working groups and facilitated plenary discussion. The idea is participants split into groups to discuss one to and will then consider what comes out in a later session.

The mechanics of the complex process took up quite a bit of time and I was more than a little confused. I was supposed to have a number on my badge which indicated which group to join. There was no number, but the group on the digital economy was under subscribed so I thought I will go there.

The audience at this stage is very enthusiastic and applauded the introductions from the Chief Minister and others. However, I am not sure that this enthusiasm will extend throughout the day. The idea of having 350 people in one room working on one thing does not make a lot of sense.

At 10:30am We moved from the theater room into one with a flat floor. There were 12 square tables. with about 18 people around each. The setup of the room reminded me of MIT's TEAL room, minus the technology. The noise level was a little high for comfort and the light level a bit low. The session started with the facilitator introducing themselves, the rapitor (note taker) and people introduced themselves around the able. It turned out that many of the people around the table were from the ANU and from other universities. But we also have Brand Hoff, founder of Tower Software and Senator Lundy, as well as the head of AARnet.

The discussion got a bit bogged down on open source versus proprietary software (we had been through this at the Open 2020 Summit on Thursday). "Cloud Computing" also got a mention. We then got back to the issue, assuming we had broadband in Canberra, what could we do with it. One use is to replace travel.

The link with Asia came up with sport being a way to connect. Infrastructure was also an issue, with rail links to Canberra (I proposed a hybrid one). Also the need for a new convention center (I proposed the one at the ANU could be combined with an educational and decision support center). Tourism was also an issue and other services sector. One idea support for local entrepreneurial activity. "Canberra e-City, the Hub of Australia" was suggested. The need for city economic planning was mentioned.

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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

ACT 2020 Summit

The ACT Government have sent out details of their Canberra summit., as one of the Australian Government local 2020 summits. The name of the event has been changed from the ">Canberra Summit", to the "ACT 2020 Summit". Unfortunately there appears to be no web page for the event (unlike the Open 2020 Summit I am co-charing). Here is the program I was sent:


Saturday 5 April 2008

... Canberra

Facilitator: Lynette Glendinning, PALM Consulting Group

THEME: Innovation: for a city state whose core natural asset is its people.

PROCESS: Working Groups and facilitated plenary discussion. Participants will discuss a topic in the first session (topics listed below) and will then consider emerging themes in the second session.



    Registration and coffee


  • Opening and scene setting MP
  • Working Groups in topics

  • Education and skills
  • Economic infrastructure, the digital economy and information technology
  • Sustainability and the future of our city
  • Healthy futures
  • Strengthening community/supporting families/community inclusion
  • Options for future for indigenous Australians
  • Towards a creative future
  • Community safety
  • Reconvene and plenary report back
  • Discussion of emerging common themes from the topics



  • Synthesis of key themes emerging from topics
  • Allocation to Session 2 Working Groups
  • Working groups on Innovation themes – how can we best position the ACT for the future?
  • Plenary report back

Afternoon Tea


  • Identify key issues for the National Summit – which themes have national as well as local implications?
  • Closing remarks

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Report on the ACT Innovation System

The ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, launched a report on innovation in the ACT, on 19 March 2008. The study was done by Howard Partners, and the full 174 page report is available online ( 1.8 Mbytes of PDF). This should be useful for the Canberra 2020 Forum to be held on April 5 on the theme 'innovation'.

The report has a readable 5 page executive summary and set of recommendations. At about 24 Kbytes per page, the report is reasonably efficiently encoded. However, it would help if the summary and recommendations were provided separately, preferably in the form of a web page which would be easier to find and read. Appended are excerpts from the recommendations, summary and table of contents of the report.

One deficiency of the report is that it does not address new approaches to intellectual property, such as Open Source and Open Access. These provide the potential to unlock creativity, innovation and economic development currently lying unused in tertiary institutions and government agencies in Canberra.

Recommendations From the Report

1. An entity, tentatively termed Innovation Canberra, be formed to provide leadership and direction in the development and implementation of knowledge based innovation strategies for the ACT and surrounding region—with a particular focus on the ICT and the creative practices sectors.
2. Innovation Canberra consist of members drawn from business, creative, education, and government sectors.
3. Members of Innovation Canberra be required to contribute to overhead and operating costs, with the ACT Government providing seed funding for start-up costs.
4. Innovation Canberra be tasked to develop a strategic agenda of major projects and initiatives and advocate, promote, and seek funding support from industry, higher education and government—locally, nationally and internationally.

Creating and leveraging sector linkages

5. In view of the potential for the creative sector to make a stronger contribution to economic development, the ACT government give consideration to making further investments to build capability. In particular, initiatives to accelerate the bridging of the technology and creative sectors should be examined.

Stimulating and supporting innovation at the enterprise level

6 The ACT Government establish an ‘Ideas Fund’ to nurture innovative ideas and concepts to a stage of development where they become potentially marketable products and services and are of interest to customers and/or technology investors.
7. The Epicorp incubation and enterprise development model be extended, in partnership with universities, research organisations, and national collecting institutions, into a Canberra Innovation Development Centre directed towards product development and scale up for technology and
arts and creative businesses.
8. A program to support innovation strategy development in more developed and mature start-up firms be examined—for example, program support to cover the cost of advice and mentoring to assist firms develop innovation management strategies and the organisational infrastructure
pertinent to their business models.

Innovation, Creativity and Leadership

9. The ACT Government be a participant in a collaboration between Government and ACT universities in an ARC Linkage project application for innovation in government procurement. As one of the smaller jurisdictions a pilot study should be undertaken for the ACT public sector.

Branding and positioning of Canberra

10. There is need to develop a more progressive view and brand of Canberra, particularly in the domestic market. The ACT Government, together with industry through the Canberra Business Council, higher and further education institutions, the national collecting institutions, research
organisations, and the Australian Government develop a strategy to position Canberra as an international city of design.


11. The ACT Government support an annual Canberra Exhibition that showcases, celebrates and markets ACT innovation capability across the science, technology, and the cultural and creative sectors ...

From: Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, Report of a Study of the ACT Innovation System, Howard Partners for the Australian Capital Territory Government, March 2008, ISBN-978-0-642-60439-2,
ISBN-10: 0-642-60439-8
From the Executive Summary:
... Cities and regions provide the frameworks for innovation by being ‘hubs of capability’ and facilitating ‘linkages’ between businesses, research and teaching organisations and government organisations. The concept of ’hubs’ and ‘linkages’ provides the basis for the analysis of ‘innovation systems’. ...

This study complements the science system approach by documenting capability in what will be referred to as the ‘arts and creative practices system’ and drawing attention to the importance of creativity as a major source of innovation. Creativity is linked to innovation through design as well as research, teaching, and experimentation in art and creative practices. Cultural institutions, such as libraries, galleries and museums also have a role in the ‘arts and creative practices system’. ...

In 2004-05 a total of $698m was spent on research and development in Canberra—amounting to 10.2 percent of total research and development expenditure in Australia. Almost 90 percent of expenditure in Canberra was performed in the public sector. Business expenditure on research and development Innovation, Creativity and Leadership amounted to $99m (1.0 percent of the Australian total). Sixty two percent of this was incurred in the electronic equipment and computer services (ICT) sectors. This compares with 11 per cent for Australia as a whole.

Several research intensive and software development based businesses have grown in Canberra and become sustainable, often on a global basis, on a foundation of relationships developed with Australian Government departments and agencies and the Defence Materiel Organisation.

However, the study indicates that contracting with the Australian Government presents particular challenges, particularly in the absence of a demonstrated ‘track record’. Unlike the United Kingdom and European countries, the Australian Government does not use its procurement system to source or stimulate innovation. This constitutes lost opportunity. ...

The strengths of the ACT science system relate to its position as an international centre and global hub for research and teaching excellence across a number of disciplines, including natural and life sciences, information and communications sciences, economics, the policy sciences and humanities, and curatorial studies.

Research excellence attracts top students who in turn provide the human
resource base for businesses starting up or relocating in Canberra, for government advice, and for national institutions wishing to tap into world class expertise and capabilities.

The arts and creative practices system reflects the location and activities of the national collecting institutions based in Canberra—including the National Library, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives—and teaching and research undertaken in the schools of art, music, design and architecture located at the ANU, the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology. ...

A private college, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), is a leading educator for the computer game development and 3D digital industries. ScreenACT, the ACT Office of Film, Television and Digital Media, is responsible for implementing industry development initiatives. Canberra has a developing film and television production industry, with a particular strength in non-fiction and documentary film, and which displays potential to grow. ...

In June 2006 there were 3,000 creative businesses in the ACT, representing 10.7 percent of all businesses in the Territory—this data does not include businesses located in Queanbeyan. Creative businesses have a higher propensity to be micro-businesses—with 40 percent of GST registered creative businesses being sole traders compared to 36 percent across all industries. This is reflective of a
pattern in other capital cities—particularly London and Berlin.

There is scope for substantial further development of the creative industries through linkages and partnerships between universities and colleges, creative content providers, the substantial computing capacity available in the ACT (through the ANU and NICTA) and optical fibre communications capability. ...

The study outlines a number of key issues that need to be addressed in going ahead with an innovation based economic development strategy. These include creating critical mass among smaller businesses through collaborations and networking, the exercise of leadership and building business capacity and capability for expansion and growth. ...

The study has suggested that there are a number of initiatives that can be put in place to capture and develop innovation opportunities for the ACT. There was a strong view that government, industry and universities should work in partnership to capture the ICT and creative capabilities of Canberra through investment in an MIT style media laboratory. ...

From: Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, Report of a Study of the ACT Innovation System, Howard Partners, for the Australian Capital Territory Government, March 2008, ISBN-978-0-642-60439-2,
ISBN-10: 0-642-60439-8

From Table of contents of the report:
Executive Summary 1
Recommendations 6
  1. Introduction 9
    1. Background 9
    2. Innovation and innovation systems 10
    3. The competitive environment 21
  2. Approach to the study 22
  3. The innovation policy context: vision, plans, and frameworks 23
    1. Innovation policy objectives 23
    2. The Canberra plan and strategy 24
    3. The economic framework 26
    4. Australian Government purchasing and procurement 32
    5. Issues and implications 37
  4. Innovation system capability 39
    1. Research and development capability 39
    2. Creative capability 52
    3. Business and entrepreneurial capability 62
    4. Conclusions 64
  5. Innovation system institutional framework 65
    1. Institutions for teaching and research 66
    2. Cultural institutions 67
    3. Lead businesses 68
    4. Networks 73
    5. Conferences, awards and prizes 78
    6. Technology parks and seed funds 80
    7. Investors 81
    8. Support services 83
    9. Policy and strategic framework 84
  6. Innovation system dynamics 85
    1. Framework 85
    2. System attributes 87
    3. Interactions and connections 90
    4. Issues and implications 92
  7. Canberra’s distinctive capabilities 93
    1. A City with an international outlook and connections 93
    2. An international centre for research and teaching 94
    3. Centre for culture, arts, and creative practices 94
    4. A Centre for defence procurement 95
    5. An attractive place to live and work 95
    6. Implications 96
  8. Best practice 97
    1. Berlin 97
    2. Ottawa 98
    3. Washington, DC 98
    4. London 101
    5. Wellington 102
    6. Observations and implications 103
  9. Some emerging trends 105
    1. The ‘democratisation’ of information technology 105
    2. The convergence of information technology and creative practices 106
    3. Higher education engagement 107
    4. Biotechnology 108
    5. Demand for security solutions 109
    6. Government procurement practices 110
    7. Centralisation of government administration in Canberra 112
  10. Key issues to address 113
    1. Creating critical mass 113
    2. Leadership 114
    3. Building a culture of collaboration 114
    4. Building business capability in the creative industries sector 115
    5. Support for new business development 116
    6. Resources 117
    7. Out-migration of skilled people 117
    8. Policy issues 117
    9. Innovation, Creativity and Leadership
  11. New visions for Canberra 119
    1. A centre for a technology, arts and creative practices industry 119
    2. A ‘connected city’ 120
    3. An international city of design 122
    4. An international centre for conservation management and practice 123
    5. Australia’s ‘education’ capital 123
    6. Sustainable City 124
    7. Issues and implications 126
  12. Actions and initiatives 127
    1. Establish leadership and direction 127
    2. Build a framework for new business support 130
    3. Advocate for innovation in government procurement 133
    4. Position Canberra as an international city 134

Attachment A: Strategies and actions to establish Canberra as an international city of design and architecture 135
  • Achieve UNESCO ‘City of Design’ status 135
  • Branding through the Canberra Biennial 137
  • Establish a Graduate School of Design 138
  • Plan for a National Design Museum 138
  • Encourage Establishment of a Peak Body for Design 139
  • Overall framework 139
Attachment B: Australian Government Contracts Gazetted for Procurement of Goods and Services in the ACT and Region 2006-07 141
  • Classified by ANZSCC Code 141
  • Classified by Agency/Department 144
Attachment C: Profile of Research and Development Expenditure in the ACT. 147
  • Overview 147
  • Higher education 148
  • Government 153
Attachment D: A note on financing start-up businesses 155
Attachment E: The MIT Media Lab 159
References 163

Table 1: ACT Industry Percentage Contribution to Total Factor Income 27
Table 2 ACT Employment by Industry Sector (‘000) 31
Table 3: Australian Government—purchases of goods and services in the ACT and region exceeding $10m 33
Table 4: Australian Government purchases of goods and services in the
ACT region—ANZSCC code 34
Table 5: Innovation system capability investment framework 40
Table 6: Higher education expenditure on R&D by type of activity 2004 ($’000) 41
Table 7: Higher education expenditure on R&D by type of activity 2004 (proportion) 41
Table 8: Summary of higher education expenditure on R&D by research fields 2004 ($’000) 42
Table 9: Summary of higher education expenditure on R&D by socio-economic objective 2004 ($’000) 43
Table 10: Higher education research commercialisation indicators 44
Table 11: Government expenditure on research and development 45
Table 12: CSIRO research commercialisation indicators 46
Table 13: Major Australian research infrastructure located in the ACT 46
Table 14: Business expenditure on R&D, by industry - by location: 2005-06 47
Table 15: All ACT Students by Higher Education Provider and Broad Field of Education, Full Year 2005 48
Table 16: Students by Higher Education Provider and Broad Level of Course, Full Year 2005 49
Table 17: Australian Government Business Support Programs 51
Table 18: Employment in Creative Industry Segments, 2001 census 54
Table 19: Number of creative businesses in the ACT by segment—2006 55
Table 20: Innovation system institutional framework 65
Table 21: Expenditure on R&D, by industry - by location: 2004-05 147
Table 22: Higher education expenditure on R&D by source of funds 2004 ($’000) 148
Table 23: Higher education expenditure on R&D by source of funds 2004 (proportions) 148
Table 24: Higher education expenditure on R&D by type of activity 2004 ($’000) 149
Table 25: Higher education expenditure on R&D by type of activity 2004 (proportion) 149
Table 26: Higher education expenditure on R&D by research fields 2004 ($’000) 150
Table 27: Higher education expenditure on R&D by research fields 2004 (proportion) 151
Table 28: Higher education expenditure on R&D by socio-economic objective 2004 ($’000) 152
Table 29: Higher education expenditure on R&D by socio-economic objective 2004 (proportion) 153

From: Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, Report of a Study of the ACT Innovation System, Howard Partners, for the Australian Capital Territory Government, March 2008, ISBN-978-0-642-60439-2,
ISBN-10: 0-642-60439-8
See also:

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Canberra 2020 summit

The ACT Government has announced a Canberra 2020 Summit, on 5 April 2008, before the Australia 2020 Summit on 19 and 20 April 2008. I took part in the previous ACT Government 2020 study in 1993.
The Government is calling for registrations from Canberrans keen to participate in the Canberra 2020 Summit, one of a number of local summits being organised in the lead-up to the national summit to be convened by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on April 19 and 20.

Registrations for Canberra’s own 2020 summit, to be held in the ballroom of the National Convention Centre on Saturday April 5, open today and close on Friday March 21.

The event is being jointly convened by the ACT Government and Canberra’s three Labor federal parliamentarians, the Member for Canberra, Annette Ellis, the Member for Fraser, Bob McMullan, and ACT Senator Kate Lundy.

The Canberra 2020 summit will have the theme of innovation.

Chief Minister Jon Stanhope said today up to 300 people were expected to share their inspiration and generate ideas that could be pursued not just in Canberra, but nationally. ...

From: Innovation the theme of Canberra's 2020 summit, Media Release 091/08, Jon Stanhope, ACT Chief Minister,
8 March 2008

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