March 27, 2013
A reader sent me a link to a call for experts issued by one of the European Commission’s entities. The program is called horizon 2020 and a countdown timer on the Web site reports how many days until Horizon 2020 launches. The program is a “framework” for research and innovation. The Europa.eu Web site says:
The European Commission is widening its search for experts from all fields to participate in shaping the agenda of Horizon 2020, the European Union’s future funding programme for research and innovation. The experts of the advisory groups will provide high quality and timely advice for the preparation of the Horizon 2020 calls for project proposals. The Commission services plan to set up a certain number of Advisory Groups covering the Societal Challenges and other specific objectives of Horizon 2020. To reach the broadest range of individuals and actors with profiles suited to contribute to the European Union’s vision and objectives for Horizon 2020, including striving for a large proportion of newcomers, and to gain consistent and consolidated advice of high quality, the Commission is calling for expressions of interest with the aim of creating lists of high level experts that will participate in each of these groups.
The list of expertise required is wide ranging. What is fascinating is that in the lengthy list of what’s needed there is no call for search, big data, content processing, or analytics. The EC has funded Promise (more accurately PPromise) which has a focus on search from what strikes me as a somewhat traditional approach combined with a quest for “good enough” solutions. I suppose innovation can result from the pursuit of “good enough.” I wonder if the exclusion of search and its related disciplines form this call for experts is a reflection on the role of information retrieval or one the results which have flowed from previous EC support of findability projects. On the other hand, perhaps the assumption is that search is a slam dunk. If so, then those engaged in search and content processing have to do a better job of communicating the dismal state of search and its related disciplines.
Much work remains to be done, and calls for expertise which omit specific remarks about information retrieval trouble me. Maybe the “good enough” notion is more pervasive than I understood.
Stephen E Arnold, March 27, 2013
January 28, 2013
Can the importance of innovation be overstated? Perhaps, if your source is heavily invested in the concept. Innovation Excellence asks (and answers), “What is the Missing Cost of Not Innovating?” We thought that doing a good job with what you have was important, too. Can everyone or every company be an innovator? We don’t think so.
The crux of the article lies in justifying innovation costs when the benefits can seem nebulous. At times, writer Paul Hobcraft can sound downright defensive:
“Often the person asking the ‘what is the ROI on innovation’ has never been involved in creating, designing or managing innovation. They can often be the ‘bean counter’, the hard-nosed CFO out to drive up the short-term performance, imposing short-term deadlines on getting the innovation launched within a given calendar year to meet much of his performance measures. They also often do not really appreciate that there are real disparities on time, investments and resources for managing an incremental project against one that leads to discovery or disruptive innovation and why these are dramatically different.”
He does have one point. It is important to keep the long term in sight, even if details are a little vague, while struggling with the short-term needs that concern those “bean counters.” Being able to clearly communicate such needs to the higher-ups is important for those charged with forging a path to future success; see the article for Hobcraft’s tips in this area.
However, it is also important to maintain a realistic perspective when dreaming of the future. It is tough to arrive at the next best thing if you’re struggling to make payroll each month. In the end, it is a matter of balance.
Cynthia Murrell, January 28, 2013