The Scientist Gardener on Innovation versus Investment

There’s a good post by the Scientist Gardener on Investing in Innovation. It’s a response to James (who has Giant Corn) who commented on Research Funding in a post that I would have linked to at the time if I’d been up to speed after Christmas.

He makes the point that it’s not enough to have a good idea. I think a lot of the push for relevance or real-world results ignores that the Investment, Development and Marketing of new products all require non-trivial skills. Simply asking university departments to monetise their research takes funding away from what they’re (hopefully) good at – having ideas – and funnels it into what they’re not so good at.

It reminds me of the quote from John W. Gardner:

The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.

Could you say something similar about the society that scorns pure research, but exalts shoddy business?

About Alun Salt

When he's not the web developer for AoB Blog, Alun Salt researches something that could be mistaken for the archaeology of science. His current research is about whether there's such a thing as scientific heritage and if there is how would you recognise it?