Catalysing conections

In an effort to combat some of the barriers to innovation in Australia, Innovation Catalyst (IC) Global is a digital ‘hub’ developed by Data61 as a mass collaboration across research, government and industry to catalyse innovation through capability discovery, problem solving, and data visualisation.

Australia is rich, dumb and getting dumber”. It’s a shock-tactic headline from the AFR describing a Harvard University analysis of the Australian economy,  but it hits a nerve. In 2017 the same publication headlined “OECD report shows Australia needs innovation re-think”, with the further commentary that “the impasse between the commercial world and the academic world in this country is alarming.”

We love the story of the overnight Aussie success story – the Unicorn. But the truth is that single, clever innovations can’t solve our problems. We need to convert more often. And it’s hard to do that when the information we rely on to innovate is so fragmented and difficult for to everyday people to discover.

This is where Innovation Catalyst (IC) Global can help. The initiative aims to:

  1. Increase discoverability and access to knowledge
  2. Increase the impact of efforts already undertaken by promoting collaboration
  3. Reduce fragmentation and map the bigger picture by drawing together public information
  4. Bridge the language divide between the technical and non-technical

Starting in 2017 with an initial mandate to boost collaboration between industry and research, the IC Global initiative launched Expert Connect (beta); a searchable directory of Australia’s research expertise, drawn together through multiple data sources to automatically create and maintain a single point of online entry to technical resources.

With over 80,000 expert profiles across all knowledge domains and ranking according to business experience and communication skills, small businesses can now gain access to specialist knowledge like never before.

That said, finding answers is difficult when all you can articulate is your problem. For this reason, the IC Global initiative also boasts a way for small businesses to utilise open ideation, through the Innovation Challenge marketplace. The marketplace allows public posting of funded problems for solution, conversely facilitating a single point of entry for funded research opportunities!

IC Global’s suit of platforms also includes InnovationMap; a geospatial representation of innovation activity which plots infrastructure and collaborative working environments to help progress collaboration.

With IC Global addressing three of the major barriers to innovation in Australia – convenience, discovery, and language – from several different angles, we hope to see many more Australian businesses innovating and putting these theories of Australia’s lack of innovation to bed once and for all.

Feature image shows the IC Global team receiving a TechDiversity award. Guest post by Kirsten Lawarik, Engagement Manager at CSIRO’s Innovation Catalyst (IC) Global.