These points are from an article by Mariana Mazzucato published in the Observer on 15 December 2013 called ‘Let’s rethink the idea of the state: it must be a catalyst for big, bold ideas’.
1. The function of the state in innovation is not to do things better than others are doing, but to do those things which at present are not done at all.
2. Governments are capable of dreaming up ‘big mission’ projects like putting a man on the moon which lead to development of new technologies which otherwise would be difficult to do.
3. The idea of the government funding the ‘public good’ must be recognised and acknowledged. Transport, healthcare, research and education need to be done by government.
4. Pfizer moved its R&D lab from the UK to Boston because of the £32bn a year that the US NIH spends on biomedical knowledge.
5. All the technologies that make the iPhone smart were pioneered by a well-funded US government: the internet, GPS, touch-screen display and Siri.
6. Public funding should today be used for new missions around climate change, ageing, inequality and youth unemployment.
7. A new narrative is needed to describe the role of government, and its entrepreneurial and risk-taking role should be acknowledged and appreciated by finding ways of it benefitting from its investments.
8. Recent successes with BBC’s iPlayer and Government Digital Services’s website show what can be achieved when brains and knowledge operates within the government sector.
9. Competences and dynamism must be developed within the public sector rather than taking the mindset of axing as much as possible.
10. The ability of government to do ‘big’ things must be recognised and that means forward-thinking public spending is crucial for a creative, prosperous society.
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