Last night Dr Terry Cutler gave a particularly engaging lecture for the Faculty of Business and Enterprise at Swinburne. He headed the Review of the National Innovation System, and the report of the review, entitled Venturousaustralia: building strength in innovation, was released by the Minister, Senator Kim Carr, on September 9. On the night, Terry was backed up by a panel consisting of Dr Richard Hames, Professor Murray Gillin and Professor Andrew Flitman, as well as lots of questions from the very interested audience.
Terry Cutler's consulting business, Cutler & Company, has been a Melbourne fixture for over a decade, as has Terry. I came across him as a member, briefly, of the Library Board of Victoria, and later when he did some work for the State Library of Victoria - a project on developing a new way of looking at the business of libraries.
Starting with a few basic if sometimes eclectic facts - did you know that out of 16,000 Australian centenary medals, four were for innovation? or that Australia has a massive trade deficit in intellectual property, and the deficit is widening? - the presentation took a high level approach to the issues in Australian innovation, without summarising or repeating the report.
Equally eclectic, but definitely heartwarming for libraries, was his reference to Australia's failure to enact legal deposit legislation for digital publications as a potential point of failure in our innovation system, and his comments on the neglect of national collections and their digitsation.
The presentation concluded with a cartoon, which took a minute or two to read and was headed "Innovation is all about incumbency and challenge" - itself a challenging statement for a room full of incumbent academics, as well as an incumbent university librarian.
I am not going to review what is becoming known as the Cutler Report, but please do download a copy. Ignore the copyright statement, which the principal author is constantly apologetic about. The report is meant to be read and then acted upon.