Re-inventing the Kiwi: How to make New Zealand a land of innovation
Please join me to hear Professor Adam Jaffe, Director and Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in Wellington and this years’ Sir Douglas Myers Visiting Professor.
Professor Jaffe will discuss what New Zealand needs to do to generate and maintain the kind of innovation necessary to accomplish our social goals in the 21st century.
Innovation, broadly defined, is the primary source of improvements in the quality of our lives and our social and physical environment. Research shows that innovation is more successful in large networks of innovators in relatively close proximity.
We can’t move New Zealand closer to other countries, and we don’t want the population of Japan or even Australia. So we need to devise policies that will mitigate our geographic disadvantages and improve our ability to innovate. This means investing in the “inputs” to innovation (the capabilities of our people, scientific and industrial research) and constructing an innovation system that maximises the interactions among New Zealand innovators and between New Zealand innovators and the rest of the world.
Professor Jaffe was for several decades one of the leading US scholars studying the innovation process. He moved to New Zealand last year to take up the position of Director of Motu Economic and Public Policy Research in Wellington.
Before joining Motu, Professor Jaffe was Chair of Economics and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Brandeis University, Associate Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and Senior Staff Economist at the President’s Council of Economic Advisers under President George HW Bush. He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SB in Chemistry, 1976; SM in Technology and Policy, 1978) and Harvard University (PhD in Economics, 1985).
Professor Jaffe is the author of two books - Patents, Citations and Innovations: A Window on the Knowledge Economy (with Manuel Trajtenberg, 2002) and Innovation and Its Discontents: How Our Broken Patent System is Endangering Innovation and Progress and What to Do About It (with Josh Lerner, 2004) - and dozens of scholarly articles, which have collectively received more than 30,000 citations according to Google Scholar.
Professor Jaffe was a co-founder of the Innovation Policy and the Economy group of the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States. He has served as a member of the Board of Editors of the American Economic Review and as Associate Editor of the Rand Journal of Economics. He was the organiser, with Ben Jones of Northwestern University, of the conference The Changing Frontier: Rethinking Science and Innovation Policy, which was held in August 2013, and will be forthcoming as an edited volume. Professor Jaffe’s research focuses on technological innovation and technology diffusion, particularly as it affects environmental and energy technologies.