Dr Nicholas Gruen is one of those guys with a list of qualifications, achievements and high-level roles as long as your arm who seems to pop up everywhere with good ideas. Recently, the Lateral Economics CEO directed the research project behind the “Open For Business” report, which tempts G20 leaders with a potential US$13 trillion that could be added to their combined economies through open data policies.
Back in June, he popped up at Industry House in Canberra to give an hour-long presentation on “driving government innovation without money” to a room packed with senior Australian public service members, but what he says is by no means exclusively applicable to Commonwealth organisations.
The talk, which Gruen introduces simply as “a bunch of ideas”, covers the explosion of new kinds of public goods that are privately provided, government as a platform, digital public-private partnerships and other ways to innovate on a tight budget …
“If you think about Google, by the back of my envelope Google creates about a trillion dollars of value every year for the global economy, and the poor suckers manage to get by on the smell of an oily $60 billion rag of revenue, just scraped off the trillion that they [generate].
“Now isn’t that remarkable? … Google is, if I’ve got my sums right, 94% a gift to the world, and they’re all as rich as their wildest dreams.”