This paper does not provide a solution to the primary problem, lack of first stage funding.
This is perhaps the start of a new period of thinking by government. Yes, there are far too many pages of repeated paragraphs and certainly the greater part of the paper is devoted to either large company or large government departmental thinking. But at the heart is the same old story that, decades on, has still not been addressed, the lack of funding at the £250,000 to £2 million level. None of the previous government strategies has succeeded to address this problem.
But what surprised me more than anything was that the individual is not considered to play any real part in innovation. I quote: " Most new ideas do not come as a flash of inspiration to a lone genius inventor; they come from how people create, combine and share their ideas". This thinking goes right back to the 1960's when some bod made the exact same comment and, in my humble opinion, set the idea into stone that no single individual can succeed at innovation. I will put to one side the idea that we now read each others minds like ants and do not need to think as an individual, "we all thought of it at once sir" is surely something out of a communist user manual?
There is nothing about competition; let alone the idea that the driver of innovation is to compete against any existing supplier. That omission shows that there is no understanding of the role of competition in society. But the greatest failure is there is no delivery of new capital on free enterprise terms to the start-up. The idea that a £3,000 voucher will somehow mean that, immediately afterwards, somehow, the capital to pay for all of these additional work OUTSIDE of the local university. I have taken this from "A Capital Spillway Trust":
"I now turn to the particular difficulties presented to the individual inventor when they set out to create new jobs through the application of new thinking embedded in a patent application for a completely new product or process.
But when we turn to inventions of what are completely new products, then we must allow for the time it takes for the full process of development of:
1. the initial ideas, registration and procurement of patent protection,
2. manufacture of initial prototype,
3. design and manufacture of working first stage marketable models,
4. professional evaluation of marketability,
5. re-evaluation of design,
6. world patent applications
7. and subsequent office actions to secure the same,
8. organising and evaluating a basic sales structure,
9. final design for perceived market
10. and ramping up production for the first sales,
11. setting up and paying for the necessary advertising and marketing campaign
12. and finally assembling the team of people that will serve to take up this challenge of a completely new product and taking it to market.
This process takes many years and much investment to complete. For a full free enterprise marketplace to exist, this process must be completed outside of existing industry so that a fully competitive national industrial base is achieved and maintained. To do that you must have completely new businesses coming forward on a regular basis to compete with the existing suppliers to a market, any market. You must replace old businesses with new businesses and old technology with new technology. Defunct products beyond their initial lifespan must be replaced with the best you can turn out. You must have full and completely free competition.
As things stand, the lone inventor is expected to either fund these costs themselves, which is effectively impossible or, to raise funds from a venture capital group that will marginalise them to gain complete control of the start up with the aim to sell on the resulting business to the largest business in that industry within three to five years or, again, the inventor will have to turn to an existing business to fund it. Thus from the outset, the inventor cannot build up a completely new competitive business. This is an important aspect as you therefore do not have a full and free marketplace and thus always, without change, existing customers, including governments, will never be able to see fully competitive supply to a free market."
Sadly this paper does not address any of these first stages with any solution that overcomes their own perception of the first stage failure to provide funding. The £3,000 voucher is, quite frankly, a joke, (with the greatest of respects), as any innovator worth their salt already knows full well that the university is under funded, never has all their own internal research projects fully funded and has the same difficulties as the external innovator in sourcing those crucial first stage funds.
They simply do not exist.
As for the longer term funding of new industry. I ask the minister to go ask ANY "financial adviser" where anyone can get LONG TERM equity Capital. He will find it also does not exist.
There is much to be done to bring the UK government up to speed with shortfalls that were identified decades ago. That is the primary problem to be overcome. This paper does not address those needs.