Nailing The Innovation Myths

Good to see a new report from the Judge Business School in Cambridge highlighting some of the myths about how high tech firms are created. Much of Europe tends to focus on large multi partner research schemes such as Framework 7 whereas much of business wold prefer something like the SBIR and DARPA contracts common in the US.

The report found little enthusiasm amongst successful, fast growing high-tech firms for the kinds of multi-partner research grants involving university-industry collaboration that are favoured by UK policy makers and, in contrast to the US, a dearth of R&D contracts with public sector customers. It argues that for decades UK Government policy has been based on three fundamental myths about how new hi-tech firms are created:

–       that university research is the key source of technology and innovation for new hi-tech firms

–       that venture capital is the primary source of finance

–       and that the best way for Government to support technology development in companies is by funding multi-partner research collaborations between universities and private sector firms

While the first two points may be true (to some extent) in Silicon Valley (at certain times),  countless billions have been frittered away trying to create new Silicon Valleys in various parts of the world.

The report also calls “for the establishment of “Intermediate R&D Institutes”, similar in some respects to the Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany, to provide a more mission orientated environment than is possible in universities to develop and commercialise technologies with long lead times.”

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