Feeds

Government hurting, not helping, innovation

We're not all David Beckhams, you know

Application security programs and practises

The UK government has come under fire for its ability to foster innovation in IT, with criticism reserved for "big" government projects and a crippling regulatory framework.

Jonathan Steel, founder and chief executive of software consultancy The Bathwick Group, said Tuesday the "monolithic" approach to procuring and implementing IT in government projects has been proven to be the "wrong model."

"Innovation would be best served by supporting small innovative technology companies. It's impossible for small innovative companies to get work with government unless you go through a big, prime contractor," Steel said.

And, far from being a benign benefactor providing a framework that fosters growth, government is "strangling" innovation through regulation of the small businesses. "I wish they would do a lot less [rules and regulations]. One reason we [the UK] are less innovative [than the US] is because of all those rules," Steel claimed.

Steel was one half of a debating duo at Silicon.com's CIO Forum in London on Tuesday, arguing against a motion that the private sector delivers less innovation in IT than the public sector. Supporting the motion was former minister for science and technology at the Department of Trade and Industry, conservative MP Ian Taylor.

Taylor argued the UK government has a good history of innovation, "pulling together ideas that can be used by the private sector". This spans the release of the UK's wireless spectrum to telecoms companies, the transfer of knowledge in defense and security projects to develop unmanned vehicles and robots, and advances in the storage and analysis of data in distributed networks.

Taylor said government is able to stimulate the process of innovation through funding and education, calling national and local institutions the "bulk applier of ideas."

Steel shot back, saying that the rise of the internet meant innovation was coming from many different places and that this helped minimize the role played by government. "True innovation is not something that happens centrally. It comes from individuals. Since the advent of the internet, we have seen a massive increase in innovation because individuals can innovate and create new things," Steel said.

The public sector, he added, was unable to innovate to the same extent as the private sector because innovation involves a degree of risk and the public sector is, by nature, risk averse as it's responsible for the public's money.

Quoting a football analogy, Steel summed up: "Just because you support football doesn't make you David Beckham. Because the public sector supports technology, doesn't make you innovative. Period."

An audience of public and private sector CIOs attending the debate at the Hilton Hotel on Park Lane supported Steel and voted against the motion.®

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.