Kristin: I’ve been scanning ‘Venturous Australia’, the review of the National innovation System. Earlier today I read through the recommendations looking for elements that are relevant to the work we do at Bridge8. Item 7.6 recommends ‘facilitating favourable conditions for the development and use of new and emerging technologies’ and includes ‘foster(ing) public awareness and community engagement’. We think the work we have been doing recently on nanotechnology education and public awareness (Including AccessNano for The Australian Office of Nanotechnology in DIISR) helps create favourable conditions for the responsible development of emerging technologies and would like to see greater support for our initiatives in this area.
One recommendation catching the eye of bloggers and ‘twitterers’ is Item 10.2, which recommends that ‘an advisory committee of web 2.0 practitioners should be established to propose and help steer governments as they experiment with web 2.0 technologies and ideas’. Of particular interest, and perhaps concern, is who would comprise this panel and how web 2.0-active these participants would be. The value of web 2.0 is the dialogue – the conversation that occurs between two (often) opposing views. I’m not sure that it is possible to ‘steer’ through web 2.0, if anything it requires full immersion. This is something I will watch with interest.
The other recommendation that stood out was Item 7.14 which recommends that ‘To the maximum extent practicable, information, research and content funded by Australian governments…should be made freely available over the internet as part of the global public commons’. This is sensible if the innovation system is designed to foster public awareness and engagement, especially through web 2.0 technologies. Sharing freely and building on ideas enables subsequent innovation to emerge. It certainly provides access for participation and prevents re-inventing the wheel. However, as Laurel Papworth points out, the review document itself has been copyrighted rather than released under a more open license. Is this tightly-held content an artifact of ‘business as usual’ (to quote page 7.93), or it is a specific intention of the author for this document?
Should I be hopeful? Stay tuned for how these recommendations might be implemented…..