Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Creative Ecologies and New Business Models

John HowkinsJohn Howkins, author of "The Creative Economy: How People Make Money from Ideas" (2002) and the forthcoming "Creative Ecologies: Where Thinking is a Proper Job" (UQ Press, April 2010) will talk on "Creative Ecologies and New Business Models", in Canberra, 26 November 2009:
How can we harness creative ecologies and discover the business environments in which creativity and innovation best thrive?

The Creative Industries Innovation Centre, in partnership with the University of Canberra, invites you to attend a special event by world-renowned creative industry expert, John Howkins. He will be joined by University of Canberra graduate, Michael Tear, who is a member of the CIIC Advisory Board and Managing Director of Bearcage Productions.

"Creative Ecologies and New Business Models"

Thursday 26 November 2009
4.30pm start for 5pm-7pm

The University of Canberra
Innovation Centre Foyer
Building 22
University Drive South

RSVP: Tracy Doherty

Phone: (02) 6201 5995
Disability access is available.

Parking information: Parking is available in the car park directly across from the Innovation
Centre (see map attached).

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Friday, August 28, 2009

Creative Industries Content for the Digital Education Revolution

Public Sphere #3: Australian ICT & Creative Industries Development is now taking place in Wollongong and online. One issue I would like to see addressed is government and industry strategies for the creative industries to be involved in producing content for education, thus providing synergy with the Government's Digital Education Revolution.

Ideally, Australian industry can produce educational content for use in Australian schools, universities and TAFES, and the for use around the world. One problem with this is that the creative industry policies tend to emphasise entertainment and culture, seeing education and not very interesting or profitable. But Australia is spending billions of dollars on equipping schools for computer and Internet assisted education. It would be a shame if all this system delivered was booring and not relivant content from the USA and the UK.

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Intellectual Property for innovation

Andrew BlattmanAndrew Blattman from SPRUSON & FERGUSON Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, talked on Wednesday 26th March 2008 in Canberra at the second of the Innovation ANU: a staged business and commercialization development seminars. He talked about what patents are and what they are for.

There were about 80 people at this event, many kore than the first seminar. As Dr. Blattman pointed out, this is a large event for a relatively dry subject like patents. The excellent free drinks beforehand may have helped. But I suspect that the idea that students and staff of the university could win thousand of dollars for a bight idea and have access to millions of dollars in venture capital has spread by word of month.

Researchers probably think that IP protection is limited to very tangible inventions, but Dr. Blattman pointed out that particular shades of the color purple has been trademarked, as have made up words and shapes of pharmaceutical tablets. Other IP protect, such as plan breeders rights, and copyright, are available. Different forms of IP, provide different protection. Patents provide protection for the first to patent, whereas copyright and trade secrets will not protect from independent invention.

A patent provides a monopoly for 20 years. In return, the details of the patent must by published within 18 months. The details of patents are available online. There are 45 references to the ANU at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

the US The process of applying is complex and takes time.

As Dr. Blattman pointed out, there is no exemption from patents for researchers. So researchers need to be aware of patents, as it might stop them using a process in their research, even one they invented.

Business processes can now be patented (I have consulted on some business process patent applications).

To get a patent, the application must be for something legal , useful and not obvious to someone skilled in the field. This can include methods of medical treatment. Patents can be taken out on processes which may not be highly valued, that is for the market to decide. The patent office will search to see if the invention had been previously published. It is important to realize that if the inventor publishes details of the invention before patenting it, this will likely prevent it being patented.

Usually competitors will wait to see if a patent is valuable, before taking legal action to have it invalidated.

More than one patent can be taken out, for example for a formula, how the substance is made, how it is used. The patent does not need to be for a fundamental breakthrough, it can be for a small incremental improvement in some existing process.

There is an important difference between US and most other areas, in that it is "first to invent", that is who can show they invented first gets the patent. Most other places it is first to lodge the patent. It is therefore important to keep good records.

Slides and audio of Dr. Blattman's talk will be available.

ps: The ANU has a very readable and useful 34 page "Manual for the use of ANU Intellectual Property", which includes a flowchart explaining the process. Under this: "... the ANU claims ownership of IP generated by its staff in the course of their employment duties. Students at the ANU own the IP generated by them during their studies.".

The ANU manual also emphasizes the use of laboratory notebooks, to provide evidence of an invention. Unfortunately the manual is out of date. It assumes that written records of research notes are printed on paper and that laboratory notebooks are not electronic. The advice that "It is preferable to make regular hard copy print out of results and paste them into the laboratory notebooks" is unworkable. The ANU needs to revise the manual to provide realistic advice on keeping legally admissible electronic records.

Also the manual does not mention open source or creative commons type licenses.

Also the name of the ANU's commercialization arm which was ANUTECH, needs to be changed to the name adopted in 2004: ANU Enterprise Pty Ltd (this seems to have been missed in the 2006 review of the manual).

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Intellectual Property for Seminar

ANU are sponsoring a seminar on Intellectual Property (What it is, how to protect it and how to use it.) by SPRUSON & FERGUSON Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, Wednesday 26th March 2008 in Canberra. For the next five weeks, there will be a seminar each week covering a different area of commercialisation and business planning. This is part of Innovation ANU: a staged business and commercialisation development program for ANU students and staff designed to transform cutting edge research and business ideas into tomorrow’s leading businesses and commercial entities.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Green Car Proposal for Australia

Accoding to a news report the Universal Design Company (UniCo) is proposing to refit the disused Mitsubishi's Tonsley Park car plant in Adelaide to assemble alternative fuel "green" vehicles. The cars would initially have V6 engines capable of running on biofuel and LPG, with hybrid electric engines later.

The plan envisages the first cars made by 2009, so presumably these will be assembled from imported components, using an existing design. It take several years to design a car and more to make the parts.

The plan is said to be support ed by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. But it is difficult to see how a plant making a small number of cars (30,000 per year) could be cost effectively assembled in Australia, unless some radical new technology is used. Dual fuel LPG/biofuel engines do not appear breakthrough technology.

... Under the plan, car parts and "trans-hybrid" engines would be shipped to Adelaide and assembled at Tonsley Park to produce specialised people movers and easy-access vehicles seating up to seven people. The V6 engines would initially be dual-fuelled, running on biofuel and LPG, with plans to introduce electric hybrid engines in the future. ...

Southern Suburbs Minister John Hill, who is in charge of redeveloping the site, said there was a high level of interest and "lots of exciting propositions".

"I would welcome the interest from this company," he said.

Expressions of interest for the site, being collected by Mitsubishi, close today. ...

From: Secret bid to build 'green' cars at Mitsubishi plant, LAUREN NOVAK, The Advertiser, Adelaide, March 21, 2008 12:10am

According to the news report, Universal Design Company (UniCo), was formed by Chris Burrell, who previously started UniCab Australia. An ASIC search shows that "UNIVERSAL DESIGN CO. (UNICO)" is a business name registered with the Office of Fair Trading, New South Wales (no: NSW BN98311428). There does not appear to be a web site for UniCo. The web site for UniCab <> is now "parked" by Primus Telecommunications PTY LTD.

Premier of South Australia is in India, discussing business opportunities. These mostly seem to be about mines and some about defence industry. These seem more likely ways to redeploy the workforce from the closing Mitsubishi car plant.

INDIAN INDUSTRIES searching for new avenues in mining and exploration can now look forward to setting base in South Australia. The South Australian premier, Mike Rann has asked Indian businessmen to enter into joint ventures and partnerships with companies in his province in mining and exploration. He said that huge opportunities existed for mining copper, uranium, gold, zinc and zircon in South Australia. He was speaking at an interactive meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) in New Delhi.
Speaking at the meeting, Rann also invited the Indian entrepreneurs to have tie-ups in the defence sector, which includes shipbuilding, submarine support, systems integration, electronic warfare, surveillance, research and development. ...

From: South Australia invites India for mining, defence ties, Mineguruji, MeriNews, 14 March 2008
Also a consortium of Indian universities is to establish a campus in Adelaide. It is unlikely that many ex-car plant workers will be employed there, but this might be a better prospect for the South Australian economy, than a car plant:
The Icfai University has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state of South Australia to set up its campus at Adelaide.

Initially, the university is planning to launch postgraduate management programmes in a leased space in Adelaide this year before setting up a full-fledged campus with other courses over a period.

The MoU was signed by the visiting South Australia premier Mike Rann and Icfai University chairman Subhash Sarnikar here on Saturday. ...

.... The students would spend a year in the Icfai campus in Adelaide and the second year at an existing university.

In the process, they get degrees or diplomas from both the universities ...

From: Icfai to set up campus in South Australia, BS Reporter, Business Standard Ltd, Hyderabad, March 17, 2008

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Commercialization of University Innovation

Greetings from the first Innovation ANU commercialisation and business development program event. These are happening over the next six weeks, with seminars and workshops on how to commercialize an idea and plan the business to exploit it. Teams will then be selected and helped to develop their ideas. As well as several prizes and thousands of dollars of assistance there is $7M of internal funding available to commercialize the ideas. The event was organized by the ANU Office of Commercialization. Details will be provided on the ANU web site next week.

The first seminar was a curious event, held in the foyer of the John Curtin School of Medical Research. This building looks like a space-dock out of Star Trek. After drinks in the foyer, we went into the Finkel Lecture Theatre, to hear about the project (same location as one on Research Participation in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Program). The first seminar "Commercialization 101" was by Hamish Hawthorn, Chief Executive Officer of ATP Innovations.

The Finkel Lecture Theatre is one I associate with high technology, as the last time I was hear was to hear the Australian Department of Defence ask for help with research for the f-35 project.

ATP Innovations is based at ATP in Sydney. This has resonances for me as I previously helped ATP run seminars, launched a new journal there, got bought lunch by their software engineers and used ATP as an example of innovation.

Commercialization 101

The first seminar was a presentation about the ideas behind commercialization. There were no slides show or notes, which made it very different to the average academic lecture. This might have been done to shake the staff and students out of their usual mode of working.

The iPod and new drug development were used as examples of innovations. The example of the iPod white earplug were used as an example of good marketing ("cool factor"). The options for commercialization were discussed.

However, without some of the usual academic props of slides and notes I felt uncomfortable. Perhaps this will change over the coming weeks, with the later seminars.

As it is, I felt I was being given one of the seminars satirized in QANTAS TV advertisements. In these a motivational speaker is asking the class "where are you?", "where do you want to be?", "how do you want to get there?". As they ask this a bored member of the class takes over the computer screen and finds themselves a QANTAS flight to get out of there. For researchers and academics not in the business field it is difficult to distinguish what is genuine advice from experts and what is not.

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Commercialisation of ideas

The Australian National University's Staged Business and Commercialisation Program is running a competition for students and staff for ideas which can be commercialized. There is A$1000 for the best ‘elevator pitch’ and best ‘executive summary’ and A$25,000 in financial, legal, and patent advice for the top two projects. There might be some ides in this for the Canberra 2020 summit on innovation.
Innovation ANU is a staged commercialisation and business development program for ANU students and staff designed to transform talent, creativity, and energy into tomorrow’s leading business and commercialisation ideas.

The program will provide participants with seminars and workshops on commercialisation and business planning, mentoring and guidance from professionals, and opportunities to work and collaborate within an interdisciplinary team.

Participants will have the opportunity to submit business or commercialisation plans, which will be judged by members of the ANU and local community. The top two proposals will receive awards of A$25,000 and financial, legal, and patent advice from top local firms.

All participants will also be eligible for the best ‘elevator pitch’ and best ‘executive summary’ awards of A$1000 each.

Launch Event

Come to our exciting Launch Event to find out more.

When: 6pm, 19 March 2008 ...

From: What is Innovation ANU?, Staged Business and Commercialisation Program, 14 March 2008
Simplified Chinese translation:




ps: I am not quite sure why I put a translation on this, perhaps I feel my web site needs more Chinese readers. ;-)

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Monday, April 09, 2007

Citizen Journalism Research Job

The Queensland University of Technology is advertising a research job with Citizen Journalism. This is to work with projects such as Online Opinion, (which I am on the editorial advisory board of).

Queensland is working hard at being a power in the new "Creative Industries", with their
Creative Industries Precinct hosting the 2007 China Media Centre Conference in July (where I am speaking on my work on the web design for the Beijing 2008 Olympics).
Research Associate in Digital Media and Citizen Journalism - Creative Industries Faculty, QUT

A Research Associate is required to work collaboratively with a team of researchers on an ARC Linkage Project on digital media and citizen journalism. The Research Associate will be part of a collaborative research project based in the Creative Industries Faculty.

This position is required to work collaboratively with a team of QUT and externally-based researchers in Brisbane and Sydney. Partners on this project include the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS), National Forum (publishers of On Line Opinion) and The Brisbane Institute. The position is for two years, and the starting salary is $63 285 to $72 781 pa.

This position will involve working with an academic and industry team on the development of new forms of digital media that facilitate citizen journalism, and an investigation of their impact. It involves project management, management of stakeholder participation, development of research methodologies and performance metrics, and documentation of project outcomes.

The person will work with the project team, under the direction of the Chief Investigators, on managing relations with external stakeholders, developing appropriate methodologies and performance metrics for embedding and evaluating online participation in cross-platform media environments, with a focus upon news and current affairs and factual programming.

The successful applicant will have an understanding of social networking media, and a capacity to work collaborative across a range of user communities, as well as project participants in government, industry and media, and skills in the areas of applied social research, and project management.

The Research Associate will report to the Chief Investigator at QUT on the project for regular supervision, and will be required to liaise with the Management team. This will require an ability to commit to interstate travel, particularly for meetings with the Sydney and Brisbane-based project members.

The person should have an understanding of the broader context in which debates surrounding citizen journalism have gained increasing significance in the digital media environment. Information technology skills, particularly as they relate to the establishment and maintenance of collaborative media environments (e.g. blogs, wikis, social networking media) are desirable, but not essential.

Further information on the position can be found at

The closing date for applications is Friday 27 April, 2007. ...

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