A compendium of Case studies for the australian innovation system report 2011

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A compendium of Case studies for the australian innovation system report 2011


This Australian Innovation System Report 2011 Case Study Companion is a collection of case studies that represents the breadth of the Australian innovation environment. All contributions reflect the views of the individual contributors and in some instances the situation may have changed since the case study was submitted.

The Report to which this companion is linked, defines the Australian Innovation System as an open network of organisations interacting with each other and operating within framework conditions that regulate their activities and interactions. These three components of the innovation system; networks, innovation activities and framework conditions; collectively function to produce and diffuse innovations that have economic, social and/or environmental value.

This Compendium has arranged the case studies collected according to the five themes used throughout the Report: Skills and Research; Business Innovation; Links and Collaboration; Public Sector and Social Innovation; and Opportunities and Challenges. Although the contributions have been assigned a particular theme most will reflect a number of the themes described. For the majority of case studies, organisations submitting have self identified the theme.

As the report itself states, innovation is highly contextual, evolves out of varying mixes of activities, and is influenced by framework conditions that are not globally uniform. This acknowledges that innovation is about people: the knowledge, technology, infrastructure, rules and cultures they have created or learned, who they work with, and what new ideas they are experimenting with.

We hope that you find this collection informative. Where possible, web links have been provided for each case study, should you wish to find out more.

You can access the Australian Innovation System Report 2011 and this Compendium from the Department’s Internet site at:


For more information, or to comment on the report, please contact:

Manager, Collaboration Research

Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research

GPO Box 9839


Telephone: +61 2 6213 6000

Facsimile: +61 2 6213 7000

Email: InnovationReport@innovation.gov.au


The Department wishes to thank all those who have contributed case studies to this companion to the Australian Innovation System Report 2011. They include Commonwealth, State and Territory government departments, businesses and other private organisations, universities and publicly funded research organisations.


Australia’s human capital is the sum total of the skills, experience and inventiveness of everyone in the country. Human capital is deployed to create new sources of economic growth and new ways to address social and environmental challenges and centres on the level and quality of the workforce skill base. As our population ages and global markets become more competitive, Australia must therefore significantly improve foundation and higher level workforce skills to lift productivity and raise innovation levels. This requires workplace cultures that promote employee engagement, create high performance workplaces and learning organisations, encourage job flexibility and knowledge exchange, and provide incentives for innovation.

Many ideas that inspire transformative innovation are born from research. Australia's research capacity indicates how well our national innovation system is equipped to supply highly skilled researchers, productivity-enhancing knowledge and solutions to environmental and social challenges. Increasing the number of businesses investing in innovation requires more people with necessary research and technical skills to undertake R&D and operate and maintain world-class research infrastructure capabilities.

The following collection of case studies illustrate the important role that higher education institutions, publicly funded research organisations (PFROs) and skills organisations play in the Australian innovation system by maintaining and improving national research capacity and the skills base.

Australian Catholic University

Virtual Week

Associate Professor Peter Rendell, Australian Catholic University and Professor Fergus Craik, University of Toronto developed Virtual Week that uses a board game format to assess prospective memory. This type of memory is involved in remembering to carry out future intentions such as keeping appointments, and turn off appliances. Half of all memory failures in daily life are prospective memory failures and some have dire consequences. Virtual Week is an objective behavioural measure that importantly closely represents the types of prospective memory tasks that actually occur in everyday life. Developing such a measure has been fundamental to developing our knowledge of prospective memory that can inform the identification of strategies to minimise lapses of intention. Avoiding such lapses is important at all ages but particularly for older adults wishing to maintain independence.

A/Prof Peter Rendell had six journal articles in 2010 which arose from ongoing collaborations with international researchers including Prof Matthias Kliegel, Dresden University, Germany, Prof Louise Phillips, Aberdeen University, UK, Prof Mark McDaniel Washington University, St Louis; and Prof Val Curren, University College London. In 2010, Virtual Week was further translated into Persian, French, Polish and Italian. This involved Peter Rendell collaborating with researchers from each of these countries.

Other significant collaborations in 2010 included:

  1. Rotman Institute, Toronto, using Virtual Week as a memory training activity for older adults

  2. Osaka University, Japan, testing the use of various reminders

  3. Washington State University, St Louis, difficulties carrying out intentions by those with Parkinson’s Disease and

  4. Oklahoma State University, looking at how spouses of older adults interact when carrying out intentions.

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