What’s the buzz?

I thought it was absolutely hilarious that Innovation Minister (OK, that is hilarious in itself), Christopher Pyne, should say that the Innovation Statement (aka National Innovation Agenda – NIA) must go beyond buzz words and then proceed to reel off multiple buzz words.

I think the Cat should have a competition about the number of meaningless buzz words that will be contained in the statement to be issued next week.  (Do you notice how these meaningless words and phrases just roll off the tongues of the rent seekers?)

Here’s the beginning of the list:

  • entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • innovation hubs
  • technology accelerators
  • incubators
  • start-ups (various forms, always exciting, hopefully high-growth)
  • high-impact entrepreneurship (because low impact would never do)
  • government as exemplar (that one really cracks me up; been down to a Centrelink office lately?)
  • crowd-sourced funding, with exemptions from governance and reporting requirements so investors can be fleeced
  • university-industry collaboration, specific form of culture of collaboration
  • angels (just not the Gabriel type)
  • building management capability
  • networks
  • facilitating new market development
  • eliminating the fear of failure (I really love that one too).

Of course if the government doesn’t have a long-term strategic innovation framework, we will be completely ROONED.

Another point:

The one thing I do like about all this innovation chatter is the adulation for Israel and its innovation model.  Given the deep unpopularity of Israel among the left and their support for BDS, give us more Israel talk, I say.

(Is it passing strange that the Australian economy has been one of the better performers over the past 20 years and we have done this without all this crap?  France has a you-beaut National Innovation Strategy and that has worked really well for that economy.)

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61 Responses to What’s the buzz?

  1. Bruce of Newcastle

    Critical Mass!
    Attract Venture Capital!
    Australia’s Silicon Valley!
    Exploiting our Intellectual Capital!
    Commercialising our Wonderful University Research!
    Innovation Nation!
    Reduce Taxes and Red and Green Tape!

    Oops, not that last one.

  2. TheSemiMentalBloke

    Great buzz words but I think “Hopefully” belongs to the sporting world.
    Hopefully and PB.

  3. Rabz

    Sustainable benchmarking paradigm

    You know it makes sense! 😕

  4. Mike of Marion

    Islamaphobia – immediately used anyone goes away from the narrative.

  5. Top Ender

    Have to get in “stakeholders”.

    Also “tackle” as in “tackle climate change”. Used so much it is a meaningless cliche.

  6. "Up The Workers!"

    Christopher Pyne will go far.

    Australia’s own “www” (“World-Wide Weasel”, or “Weasel-Word Waffler”) Malcontent Turncoat, speaks weasel words almost exclusively.

    I think he learned some of them at Kevin Rudd’s beloved “Beknighted Nations”.

  7. rich

    France has a you-beaut National Innovation Strategy and that has worked really well for that economy.)


  8. Alfonso

    The Poodle better start using ‘synergy’ a lot more. Without synergy the departmental creativity drivers are lost.

  9. a happy little debunker

    My all time favourite – ‘Shovel ready’.
    Ultimately meaning ‘how deep is the hole we’re gonna dig’?

  10. Des Deskperson

    Foster entrepreneurialism
    Unlock creative potential
    Invest in human capital
    innovation-led economy.
    an accommodating innovation ecosystem
    capability maps
    new and broader drivers of growth
    Environmentally sensitive partnerships

  11. Fred Lenin

    Judith a mate told me tgat years ago tge old Telecom started indoctrinating its workers ,with seminars given by idiot know nothing spouting Buzzwords .one of the enterprising techs invented a game he named ” Wankwords ” sheets of paper were printed ,with all the Wankwords printed in column ,each with a box ti tick .at tge next indocrptrination ceremony ,each Tech carried a clipboard issued to take notes ,as the speaker droned on ,each time he used a Wankword you ticked it off ,when they had all been spoken ,the whole audience stood up and bellowed ” Wankwords”. As in “Bingo ” .the speaker was destroyed emotioaly ,Telecom stopped the sessions for some reason .

  12. MacSpee

    Surely one of the great ones is
    “I refute that!”
    Oh, you mean “I deny that”

  13. sabena

    What fuel is used when the technology accelerator is pressed?

  14. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Wasn’t Adelaide once supposed to have a ‘multi-function polis’?
    One of those innovationy things wasn’t it? A long time ago now.
    Sorta like the Jetsons. All techie wizzing around in flying cars etc?
    Anyone know?

  15. Dr Faustus

    Building [capabilities/communities/consensus/trust]
    Big data
    New normal
    Policy hack
    Best of breed
    Social licence
    New normal

    Everyday words for the disruptive innovator…

  16. C.L.

    entrepreneurial ecosystem


  17. Tim Neilson

    a happy little debunker
    #1877012, posted on December 4, 2015 at 10:43 am
    You can be sure that the Innovation Statement itself will be shovel ready. About 5,000 acres worth of organic fertiliser I reckon.

  18. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Are the words “buzz words”, in themselves buzz words?

  19. Tim Neilson

    The late great Peter Ruehl once wrote that if you see the words “public funding” and “financially viable” in the same document, set your bullshit detectors to overload capacity.

  20. Some History

    Instructional scaffolding
    Disruptive Innovation
    Goal Digger
    Directionally Accurate
    Business Incubators & Accelerators (from Jason Clare & Bill Shorten this morning)
    Decision Fatigue

  21. Leo G

    Angels (just not the Gabriel type)

    Someone who regards government as an exemplar could very well be thinking of the Gabriel type, an exemplar being the perfect manifestation- as in the original model conceived in the mind of God.

  22. Stimpson J. Cat

    We will be completely ROONED.

    Of course you mean Rieuned.

  23. Ubique

    Going forward (as distinct from sideways or backwards)
    Disruptive synergy
    Sustainable new paradigm
    Sustainable disruptive digital technology innovation
    Consultative innovation consensus
    Window of opportunity (the hipsters will think this is new)
    Sustainable technological agility
    Synergetic agility
    Innovative new catalysts
    Entrepreneurial agility
    Global innovative agility
    Agile nation
    Catalytical agility

  24. egg_

    entrepreneurial ecosystems engineering via disruptive innovation?

    WTF that means, does Google have a KRuddesque translator?

  25. egg_

    How many disruptive innovators does it take to change a light globe?

  26. John Comnenus

    I think the innovation statement needs to foster a single pane glass view of the national innovation agenda. It should provide a constellation* level global view of the multiple concurrent parallel intertwining and mutually dependent pathways of strategic sector level innovations that synthesise into a rich tapestry of entrepreneur led, venture capital funded industry development and growth that will enable Australia to transition from a resource led to a service driven economy.

    (*Note a constellation view i.e. the view from a constellation of low earth orbit satellites is clearly superior and more strategic than the outmoded helicopter view).

  27. John Comnenus

    Judith could have been more specific in her request for Cat contributors to the buzz word list. I think what she was really doing was:

    Reaching out to a broad cross section of stakeholders in an iterative engagement model to document the buzz word development journey from its nascent state to a mutually agreed landing point of the optimised state to provide the scaffolding that will allow the government to construct a well socialised innovation framework that will make the most powerful impact to achieve maximum utility for the greatest number of industry participants.

  28. Combine Dave

    Mmm yes, but innovation needs to be sustainable 😀

  29. Combine Dave

    How many disruptive innovators does it take to change a light globe?

    That’s a trick question.

    Clearly a true innovative disruptor would enact legislation to make incandescent light globes illegal.

  30. John Comnenus

    Yes sustainable innovation is part of the post carbon economic paradigm.

  31. mundi

    To the luvvies, do something is apparently economic and therefore good.

    The don’t care if it’s productive, or generates more resources than it consumes, it just has to be doing something.

  32. Pearstewks

    Time to remember and resurrect the Multifunction Polis?

  33. woolfe

    Not bad John but conversation and agile missing.

  34. Sally Moore

    + “Social licence to operate”

  35. "Up The Workers!"

    Far too much “detailed programmatic specificity” for my liking.

    I prefer former Hawthorn Coach, John Kennedy’s famous bellowed exhortation to his players:

    “Don’t think; DO!”

    (But not being ‘weasel words’, that is probably politically incorrect)

  36. OldOzzie

    Reminded me of the Honeywell Buzz Word Generator as described here

    Buzzword Generator

    Buzzword GeneratorAre your deadlines tight for that presentation or report and you have no real content? Why worry when it’s perfectly possible to hide behind completely meaningless (but nevertheless credible sounding) business school/public sector/socio/PC/techno/HR jargon? Perhaps you need something like:

    “The Asynchronous Alphanumeric Server concept is nothing but hot air.”

    A thousand years ago, when I was selling big ticket computer systems for IBM, Honeywell published a ‘Buzzword Generator’ that for a few months dominated what was the steam-age version of the internet. In fact, their buzzword generator was an absolute pinch from an article by a 63 year old American public health worker called Philip Broughton. It was entitled How to Win at Wordsmanship.

    It used a matrix of three columns of words to generate very convincing gobbledygook. By taking any word from column A, adding it to any word in column B along with another in column C, a new credible acronym would be generated.

    Column A











    Column B









    fifth generation


    Column C







    time phase




    Propose “compatible transitional capability” to achieve “integrated transitional mobility” and your boss will probably promote you!

    The Buzzword Generator has certainly stood the test of time. Even after more than a third of a century, phrases like ‘integrated logic-based capability’, still have a certain cachet.

    Try searching the internet for ‘Buzzword Generator’ and you will find lots of variations on the theme – everything from HR buzzwords to Business School thesis aphorisms.

    An updated version of the buzzword generator – THINK SIMP LY

    Honeywell, the American computer firm, have just devised as an awful warning, what they call a ‘jargon kit’. It’s based they say, on the Simplified Modular Prose Writing System – SIMP for short – and using it anyone able to count up to ten can write 40,000 well balanced, impressive and quite meaningless sentences.

    I must thank Peter Green of eVision Services for sending me this:

    think simply

    Another update – John Laban has contacted me to say that Honeywell SIMP has been around for 30, possibly 40 years. Just goes to prove that a good, fun ideal has long legs.

    Thanks John

  37. Bert A

    John Comnenus,
    “Reaching out to a broad cross section of stakeholders in an iterative engagement model to document the buzz word development journey from its nascent state to a mutually agreed landing point of the optimised state to provide the scaffolding that will allow the government to construct a well socialised innovation framework that will make the most powerful impact to achieve maximum utility for the greatest number of industry participants.”

    Not good enough mate, not only did I understand every word, the whole thing made sense too!

  38. Art Vandelay

    Terms like ‘hub’, ‘incubator’ and ‘centre of excellence’ are so last year amongst the rent-seekers. This year’s fashion is ‘precincts’. So far in the home of well-heeled, taxpayer-funded parasites — Adelaide — they have managed to invent a large number of precincts which will apparently revitalise the economy, create jobs, pave the way for a low carbon future, and cure cancer.

    For example, there’s the:

    Research & Medical Precinct (in the old days, they just used to call it a hospital)

    Cultural Precinct (as far as I can tell, it’s the new name for the Museum and Art Gallery)

    University Precinct (the old term, ‘University’, was deemed not precinct-y enough)

    My favourite is the Riverbank Precinct. Apparently it will solve SA’s dire unemployment rate in true Keynesian fashion by developing an area where people can spend a large amount of money that they don’t have.

  39. It’s all very well to make fun, but without promotion by futurologists and innovation experts we wouldn’t have had CD ROMs with Encarta in our schools; a Sydney monorail which could transport you to…well, somewhere; the Multifunction Polis, Timmy’s Geothermia and the Port Kembla wave generator; Fuel Watch and Grocery Watch; the Human Rights Commission or any other tax gobbling qango with a name straight out of a 1950s Superman comic…and I could go on. Oh, how I could go on!

    We owe all these things to our potty intellectuals, many of whom have been declared “living national treasures” like they were traditional Japanese potters or sword makers. And all of this is thanks to communication through the sacred buzzwords so many of you deride.

    Not AGILE, people!

  40. Eddystone

    It doesn’t matter what goes into these Innovation Statements, just so long as “Sustainability”, which of course must be a key part, is always written in green.

    Oh, and hand out those recycled cardboard biros, that’s important.

  41. Leo G

    How many disruptive innovators does it take to change a light globe?

    There is only one Great Policy Disrupter, and he screwed the light globe years ago.

  42. Diogenes

    Terms like ‘hub’, ‘incubator’ and ‘centre of excellence’ are so last year amongst the rent-seekers. This year’s fashion is ‘precincts’.

    get with it, “precinct” is so 2014 – think catchy short name – like those skewered in this series of South Park..eg “ShtPaSoPa” (shitty art of south park, and nodofopa, socacheywo and my favourite – 3 miles north of Ausschwitz -“NoMoAuchie”- all South Parkian )

  43. Art Vandelay

    Diogenes, well, Adelaide is about 12 months behind the eastern states 😉

  44. John

    Not a “buzz word”, my English is too poor.
    Just a reminder that C. Pyne (Paine) was the “education” minister and young Roy did not finish his HSC. Neither of them would be able to generate a buzz word. But Malcolm could help. He is a barrister (b for bullshit).

  45. Ros

    sweet synchronicity and sweet point. Are they in or is it just that I don’t understand them.

    And I loved this,

    “This debate currently is quite binary. It’s either the full Harper or the no Harper,” Mr Morrison said.

    “There is a range of points that exist between those two options, which address the core of the problem . . . which is the inability of the current provisions to do the job that we believe they should be doing.””

  46. Combine Dave

    “There is a range of points that exist between those two options, which address the core of the problem . . . which is the inability of the current provisions to do the job that we believe they should be doing.”

    Morrison has gone full turnbull.

    Never go full turnbull…

  47. Megan

    * instilling a knowledge-sharing culture
    *significant identifying factors to inhibition
    *overarching mechanisms of change
    * sociability and solidarity dimensions
    *cultural fragmentation
    * eliminate superficial individual behaviours to win hearts and minds (a personal favourite, because my heart and mind are exactly what I want to hand over to a bunch of shallow, mouth-breathing, old school tie senior execs at work/sarc)
    *firmly anchoring group norms and values (to what? I ask. There is no coherent reply and no one to hear it if there were)

  48. Motelier

    Some great words and phrases upthread, but there is a three word anacronym that is missing

    Return On Investment.

    What? It does not belong here?

    Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!! 😳

    Of course. My mistake. This is about startups.

  49. John Montgomery

    imdontbsee what you have againstbstart-ups and incubator, or for that matter networks. This all worked very well back in the 1980s and 1990s in London and Manchester, She filed and Dublin. Surely there is nothing wrong with people setting up businesses?

    income up against a lt of horrible jargon in my work, which I usually just ignore. Most of it was invented by economists and business schools.

    To join in, I hate the word sustain ability, also stakeholders and community this or that.

  50. Zyconoclast

    How many disruptive innovators does it take to change a light globe?

    If it’s a compact fluorescent then it will change itself due to how agile, innovative and disruptive it is.

    If it’s incandescent, then none because Maocolm banned them.

  51. Copperfield

    Judith,do you have a bucket handy?…JustTransition

  52. Gary in Erko

    “At the end of the day” is so last century in meme space.

  53. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    * anything with “sustainable” attached to it
    * “@ ” in front of someone’s name in an internet post
    * “not for profit”, at least until someone finds the missing end word. It is a walking, talking, trailing sentence so …
    * “business model” replacing the perfectly adequate “business”
    * “tactic” or “drug” or “weapon of choice” simply because it is a stupid and meaningless addition
    * the mad preoccupation with using military jargon in a business context

  54. sabrina

    Judith – we did well in the last 20 years mainly because of China. France did not have this, but they also did have unlimited influx of migrants and socialism.

    Having said that university-industry collaboration is very much needed in this country. But the universities are now chasing publications and citations which result in higher ranking and more overseas students……… and therefore more money. In the process they are moving further away from the industry. Many universities now have academics whose main job is to write more papers, and not teach. Some of them are quite inarticulate and never practiced their art in industry. You have many of them in your discipline, Judith. What do you say to those academic Economists who never teach but write 25-30 journal papers every year in return for their ~200K salary package. You will find them in most universities here, just see Google Scholar.

  55. hzhousewife

    Return On Investment.

    It astonished me that the banks who back windmills etc keep doing so in light
    of the ever-growing statistics that show inadequate or negative ROI.
    Governments doing so I understand, because they are idiots.

  56. Mike of mollymook

    Mention was made of multifunction polis.
    This was a proposal by the Japanese government in the 1980s to invest in a technology friendly development in Adelaide.
    It was quietly shelved by the Australian bureaucracy and never talked about again when we worked out it was an elaborate scheme for the Japanese to export their old people to a hugh retirement set up in Australia.
    Multifunction polis is Japanese for old peoples home.

  57. Glenn Simpson

    All of the above are really delightfully ’empowering’, but if it is not too late, let me add some personal favourites –
    . ‘Enviro Tea Salons’ – no Bushells here!
    . ‘my unflinching passion for the challenge ahead’ – I’m not sure what to do
    . ‘Human Services Quality Framework’ – new name, same old bad management.
    . ‘Mindless and rancorous technicality’ – someone called in the lawyers.

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