Archive for the ‘Korea’ Category

Asian education systems

February 17, 2012

As the economic centre of the world shifts to the East, so is the centre of high performance in school education. Four of the world’s five highest-performing systems are Hong Kong, Korea, Shanghai and Singapore, according to OECD’s 2009 PISA assessments of students. InShanghai, the average 15-year old mathematics student is performing at a level two to three years above his or her counterpart in Australia, the USA and Europe

In recent years, many OECD countries have substantially increased education expenditure, often with disappointing results. Grattan Institute’s new report from its School Education program, Catching up: learning from the best school systems in East Asia, shows how studying the strengths of these systems can improve our children’s lives.

Success in these systems is not determined by culture – by Confucianism, rote learning, Tiger Mothers etc. –  nor is it always the result of spending more money. Instead, these systems focus on what is known to matter in the classroom – a relentless, practical focus on learning, the creation of a strong culture of teacher education, collaboration, mentoring, feedback and sustained professional development. 

Many western countries have begun to introduce versions of the reforms that these East Asian systems have implemented, or are talking about doing so. Most have much further to go. This report  provides an extensive assessment of how other countries can implement the lessons of these high-performing systems.

Thanks to the Grattan Institute for this work. Visit the Grattan website to download a copy of the report


Innovation Policy – Germany benchmarked

October 17, 2008


A 420 page study ‘New Challenges for Germany in the Innovation Competition’ has come to our attention courtesy of the National Dialogue on Entrepreneurship.


The report benchmarks Germany’s innovation performance against China, France, India, Korea, USA and Japan. The report reads like an OECD country survey – but suffers from extreme verbosity and lacks a tight summary section. Nevertheless it is a treasure trove of material e.g. interesting section on Korea’s cluster program.


Some of the salient points:

§          Germany faces challenges in coordinating policies across different parts of its Federal system.

§          In terms of strategies, German innovation policies place great emphasis on support for SMEs.

§          German policymakers must promote technology transfer and commercialization in a fragmented environment characterized by numerous research organizations and SMEs.

§          Overall, Germany shows great strengths in areas related to international trade and key technology sectors. Information technology is an exception, with Germany’s international technology profile lagging other economies.

§          Germany is now aiming to spend 3% of GDP on R&D.


Go to New Challenges for Germany in the Innovation Competition

‘Design’ now all-important

July 24, 2008

Dr John Howard (Canberra-based consultant/policy analyst) says design and creative practice are major components of industry and innovation policy. John has done excellent work in this field, and this month he launched Between a hard rock and a soft space: design, creative practice and innovation.” The international overview is worth sharing:

§          UK leads the world in its recognition of the creative industries. The Cox Review of Creativity in Business examined how to exploit creative skills more effectively (UK Treasury 2005). The Design Council is important – now runs a program ‘Designs of the Time’ (DOTT) and a new program, ‘Designing Demand’ helps SMEs become more competitive – offers flexible, structured processes, using expert Design Associates with business experience.

§ New Zealand has launched a design strategy and is looking to breed a cohort of design-led firms — brand builders based on ideas grown in New Zealand.

§ The German Design Council (Rat für Formgebung) is a world leader in competence centres for communication and know-how transfer in the design field. Runs competitions, exhibitions, conferences, consulting, research and publications.

§ The Swedish Industrial Design Foundation (SVID) improves awareness of the importance of design as a competitive tool, and encourages the integration of design methodology.

§ The Indian Government released a national design policy in 2006. It includes a ‘Mark of Good Design’ – only well-designed products can carry the mark. The aim is to ensure that the words ‘Designed in India’ come to mean good value. India is seeking to become a global design hub. Currently a roll-out of design-led business and academic centres.

§ Taiwan has a robust design policy, supported by a growing number of design schools.

§ South Korean students outnumber all other nationalities in most graduate design programs in the United States, and Samsung is an upcoming innovator.

§ China is shifting its manufacturing base from OEM to original design manufacture and brand-manufacturing operations. In 20 years, China has opened 400 specialist design schools to train designers and build design capabilities.

§ Singapore is creating centres to bring business and design and creativity together.

Thanks to Hari Argiro (Adelaide CC) for pointing us to John Howard’s article.


Asia Pacific Technology Exchange wins global attention (BEST PRACTICE)

April 13, 2008


The unstinting efforts of Cockatoo member, Geoff Mullins, were rewarded on 28 March with the launch of the Asia Pacific Technology Exchange by local federal member Maxine McKew MP. She said that ‘this is the innovation economy at work.’


The Exchange is designed to help establish a Silicon Valley-style business cluster in northern Sydney.


The launch also attracted global attention – excerpt of the article in the International Herald Tribune follows.


SYDNEY — A new Australian exchange, aiming to emulate the U.S. Nasdaq index with a focus on technology and innovation stocks, was established Wednesday with plans to become fully operational by the second half of 2008.


The Asia Pacific Technology Exchange, or Aptex, is a joint venture of the National Stock Exchange of Australia and Enterprise Pacific, a not-for-profit company. Based in Sydney, the venture plans to start with a minimum of 20 listed companies. The chairman of Enterprise Pacific, Geoff Mullins, said the new exchange expected to have 200 to 300 companies listed within its first 2-3 years. Mullins said he was not concerned about liquidity on the new exchange, which had been a problem in earlier attempts to establish exchanges in Australia, because of support from brokers and from connections being forged in the Asia-Pacific region. ”We are absolutely certain that this is under way. We have stakeholders signing up, we have companies signing up and we are ready to go.”


NSX had held discussions with stock exchanges in Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, PNG and Fiji on their possible participation. Inquiries had also been received from companies in Taiwan and Korea, and it was possible that 5 of the first 20 companies on the exchange could be Asian. Mullins estimated the total market capitalization of companies listed on the exchange to initially be between $350-650 million.

Contact Geoff at


New emphases in aid field

October 16, 2007




The Annual World Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) in Tokyo in May 2006 highlighted some VERY timely issues worthy of contemplation by economic development practitioners.     

§          A call for new analytical and evaluation tools to help infrastructure choices in energy, transportation, water. ”Our approach to infrastructure must focus not just on economic growth or human growth,” said Bank President Paul Wolfowitz in his opening address “It must also focus on ‘smart’ growth…growth that is economically sound, environmentally friendly, socially acceptable, locally desirable, and most important, growth that makes a difference in people’s lives.

§          Infrastructure investments have often failed the test, said Japanese Finance Minister Tanigaki. “Hasn’t donor support simply left ‘white elephants’ behind? Have we paid enough attention to adverse environmental and social impacts? Have we had sufficient dialogue with stakeholders?”

§          WB Chief Economist Bourguignon argued for better understanding of linkages between infrastructure investments and growth; getting the right balance between public and private involvement; dealing with cross-border issues and externalities – shared road and rail links, shared pollution; establishment of systems to deliver better data and evaluation.

§          JICA will merge with the ODA lender Japan Bank for International Cooperation in 2008, forming “the world’s second-largest integrated development agency after the World Bank.” 

§          Richard Manning (DAC Chairman) noted that “emerging donors” – Russia, Korea, Poland, Turkey, Brazil, China, South Africa, India – are using aid to position themselves to transform their relations with other countries. This could result in a slowdown in developing-country reform efforts.

§          Manning applauded moves by the UK, Ireland, Norway, and Australia to untie 100% of their aid, and Canada’s decision to allow 50% of its food aid to be procured in the beneficiary region.  



Korea’s innovative cities

October 16, 2007

Dated 2006

Dear Cockatoo readers – I have just returned from Korea where I was an invited speaker at a government seminar on innovative cities.

The Korean government is to build 10 new innovative cities over the next five years, each of around 20,000-30,000 people based in or near provincial centres outside of Seoul.

These would then receive at least ten each of the 170 research organisations that the government wishes to relocate out of Seoul over this period, which would provide the foundation for the development of new regional innovation systems. This is a very ambitious strategy and they haven’t yet worked out the full details, but it is very bold. 

Contributed by Prof David R. Charles, David Goldman Chair of Business InnovationUniversity of Newcastle upon Tyne Business School


Pacific Partnerships, says Rudd

August 15, 2007

Cockatoo’s roving reporter recently attended the address by Kevin Rudd, Australia’s Opposition leader, at the Lowy Institute, Sydney. Visionary stuff, although it was delivered in haste because he had to be somewhere else it seems. Rudd painted a grim picture:

§          If more Pacific Island states become failed states, the cost to the Australian taxpayer of emergency police, military interventions and medical supplies will be massive.
§          Increasing ethnic and political violence = wave of refugees to Australia as a country of first asylum.
§          The explosion of the HIV – AIDS pandemic in PNG presents a growing risk to the public health of Australian communities in the Torres Strait and Northern Australia.
§          Our fragile diplomatic relationships with the Pacific are creating an unprecedented strategic opportunity for non-regional states to occupy the vacuum. (= China and Korea).

Rudd announced that Labor will implement a long-term Pacific Partnership for Development and Security. This would begin with an audit and then action to:
§          Tackle the collapse in primary education and primary healthcare.
§          Build basic economic infrastructure.
§          Tackle urban male youth unemployment through targeted public works programs.
§          Provide microfinance in partnership with Australian Business Volunteers and financial institutions.
§          Emphasise good governance via training regional leaders, public servants and technical experts. Cooperation with NZ is opportune.

Go to


Tourism – antidote for war

October 24, 2003

Graham “Simmo’ Simmons (ex ABARE, Dept. Transport & Regional Services) now writes tourism pieces for a range of clients from his northern NSW base. He has penned his latest escapades: 

Just back from North Korea. On 1 September 2003, I was privileged to be along for the ride (delegation of members of the Australian Society of Travel Writers) with the very first group of Westerners and South Korean tourists allowed to enter North Korea by road, via an east coast route through the Demilitarised Zone.


This land route into North Korea opened briefly in February 2003, solely to allow a limited number of family reunions between long-separated North and South Koreans, but six weeks later, the border was inexplicably closed again. The re-opening of the border came as a milestone, the first time that tourists, travellers and others have been permitted to cross the DMZ.

 Seeing North Korea up close was a sobering experience. While the nuclear-standoff seems like a cowboy movie being run on the world “big-screen”, in the background the two Koreas are quietly getting on with reconciliation.

There is a Department of Inter-Korea Tourism, and the Director accompanied us on the trip.  On 3 October delegates from South and North Korea will jointly celebrate National Foundation Day in the North Korean capital Pyongyang. It seem that tourism and events like this are more likely than mere rhetoric from both sides to achieve real results in opening up the world’s last Stalinist nation.

The South Koreans and Russians are now talking about a railway from Paris to Seoul, via North Korea. If this happens, industry clusters could well develop all along the rail route’.