A workshop held in Canberra on 21 March addressed the issue of ‘What is Australia’s capability to take advantage of the opportunities arising from emerging enabling technologies’. This represented the culmination of two years of work by the National Enabling Technologies Strategy Expert Forum, chaired by Ron Johnston.
The Chief Scientist has initiated a series of projects to address the mid-term future of Australia, under the title of ‘Securing Australia’s Future’. These projects, which will run to the end of 2014, have been contracted to the Learned Academies.
Ron Johnston, a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, has been appointed a member of the team tasked with analysing the role of new technologies in Australia’s security, cultural, democratic, social and economic system. This builds on his experience and contribution as Chair of the National Enabling Technologies Strategy Expert Forum over the past two years.
There has been some prognostication in the US that the era of new-technology driven innovation is coming to an end. Robert Gordon writes “global growth is slowing – especially in advanced-technology economies. Regardless of cyclical trends, long-term economic growth may grind to a halt. Two and a half centuries of rising per-capita incomes could well turn out to be a unique episode in human history.” http://www.cepr.org/pubs/PolicyInsights/CEPR_Policy_Insight_063.asp.
In recent years, social innovation has experienced a steep career. Numerous national governments and large organisations like the OECD, the European Commission and UNESCO have adopted the term. Social innovation basically means that people adopt new social practices in order to meet social needs in a different or more effective way. Prominent examples of the past are the Red Cross and the social welfare state or, at present, the internet 2.0 transforming our communication and cooperation schemes, requiring new management concepts, even empowering social revolutions. (more…)