Before you cast stones and say something to the effect of “government has no place in private enterprise” hear me out. I tend to agree that government should not have a direct role in Innovation, Commercialization and Entrepreneurship (ICE); however, they have an incredibly important part to play in influencing the process. Government should be involved in ICE by setting the policy and framework to facilitate the growth of ICE.
Why shouldn’t government be involved directly? This isn’t black and white and there may be areas where publics interests are served by having the government involved directly. In most cases, however, the public is probably better served by having the government involved indirectly. Governments are the ultimate bureaucracy and this environment is generally not conducive to ICE.
How should government be involved in ICE? In my opinion, ICE occurs in the private sector particularly the CE of ICE. The sequence of events is typically Entrepreneurship, Innovation and then Commercialization, but ICE makes a cooler acronym than EIC. Back to the original question of how should government be involved in the ICE process. Government should set policy and incent the sort of Innovation and Commercialization behaviours that they want to promote. This is a hands off approach where the government creates the proper conditions to facilitate the growth of ICE. This is done through tax incentives, grants and tax credits. The important distinction between this type of involvement and the typical government program is incentives are lean and the majority of the benefit is passed directly to the innovator. Programs should benefit the entrepreneur and innovators rather than create large administrative bureaucracies.
This will be the first in a series of posts on ICE and the role of government in the process. The next post will start at the beginning so to speak and attempt to define “Innovation”.
- Ian Graham