Tunnel vision resource focus failing WA, says Charles Bass

Updated: May 22, 2019

Gareth Costa | The West Australian

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The business community in WA is still too resource-focused and is failing to leverage some world-class facilities, according to mining entrepreneur Charlie Bass.

A silo approach to innovation at universities and companies meant facilities, ideas and technology, such as the planned Square Kilometre Array in the Murchison, Edith Cowan University’s cyber security centre and the creative use of technology by the WA Academy of Performing Arts were not being fully utilised and taken to the next level of broader commercialisation.

Mr Bass spoke to WestBusiness ahead of a presentation last night hosted by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation on how board directors needed to value their company’s intellectual property.

“You can’t teach entrepreneurship and innovation,” he said.

“And it’s not about getting rich.”

Instead it’s a “mindset” with communication and teamwork vitally important in solving problems and taking an innovative idea to commercialisation.

“I didn’t understand former premier Colin Barnett when he consistently said that he ‘didn’t get’ innovation,” Mr Bass said.

“That’s because everything he saw or was told was about marginal innovation.”

That type of innovation only affected a company’s bottom-line and “generally reduces employment,” according to Mr Bass.

Much of the problem was that companies viewed research and development as a cost.

At the corporate level, that attitude might not change easily, but CERI, the not-for-profit foundation Mr Bass established, teaches innovators from universities and research centres that innovation is a process.

Innovators should develop a comprehensive intellectual property strategy to future-proof their bright ideas.

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