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Hypothetically speaking, say we’re all on the same page and all wanting more to happen around the innovation space – you know, spend $X here and see a clear $Yreturn there.

Say too there’s been a suggestion for an Advanced Technology Institute – somewhat replicated on overseas models – a better, faster link between industry needs and the country’s ability to provide clever science and tech answers.

You carry on down a path which would see the broad-brush IRL proposals for the ATI begin to be put in place.

Then, a bit down the track, going back to a private-industry business model that allows you to pull a lever here and you observe a result there, you think, ‘nah, let’s change the way we do things totally, fundamentally’.

Hypothetically speaking, you’ve got this ATI creation thing happening.

Why not use that process as a cover, as a way to bring in a new system – one that nobody had any idea was being proposed in the first place.

That would be a nice, subterfuge-type way to do it.

At the same time front what you’re still calling an ATI-creation with a person who only reports to you.

Of course, having the ATI Establishment Unit only report to the Minister direct, with no involvement of the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (the former Ministry of Science and Innovation) whatsoever also avoids that messy consulting thing too, as does not talking to actual industry.

While we’re speaking theoretically too, we might as well put a rule in place that no one from the Establishment Unit is allowed to talk to, or have anything whatsoever to do with, the senior management of Industrial Research Ltd.

At the same time, don’t put up any concrete idea of what…..(oh yeh, now we’ll call it Callaghan Innovation for that feel-good and distraction factor)…..the new body, structure or whatever looks like, nor what its purpose will actually be.

In other words provide no idea of what CI’s ‘value proposition’ will be. Remember, we’re working to a model that exists in someone’s head. Which in itself is kind of ironic, because the first core part of any innovation (no matter how it is defined) is market validation.

And just to make it really interesting and infuriating, say that all will be revealed, and only can be revealed (though there’s no reason why this has to be) on February 1.

That way it’s very difficult for the rest of us to object to something early, when we have absolutely no idea what we’re objecting to, (or alternatively endorsing).

This is another way of saying, speaking hypothetically, that the CI which is being forced upon us essentially in the blink of an eye, totally without consultation, is not democracy in action.

Steven Joyce may think that running the country is like running a company – but plenty of ministers have slipped up through assuming that. ……the law of unintended consequences comes to mind.

Just because a (super) minister wants something to happen, and has powers, doesn’t mean that they should be unilaterally applied.

The rumour is (and again, nobody knows) Callaghan Innovation is to be established as a Crown Agency – something that gives effect to Government policy (see Wikipedia)

Mr Joyce may feel that simply establishing such a beast means his desire to make more money from science/tech investments will come to pass at his command.

But, given its genesis, a Callaghan Innovation (Agency) will be just as secretive, bureaucratic and self-centred as its more famous C.I.A. namesake – and be regarded just as warmly by scientists, industry and the public as a whole.

By creating the CIA in such an underhand way, without consultation, excluding some of the main brains behind the original ATI concept, and telling us nothing, any potential reform of our innovation ecosystem has been put behind two years at least.

That is the time it will take to realise, yet again, a specialised Advanced Technology Institute, working directly to and with industry, and not through a stultifying encumbrance like the CIA, is what the country does need.

Now, apparently too, the CIA business case is meant to be signed off by Cabinet on Friday.

I bet there’s some heroic numbers in that.

Not that they’ll have been stress tested.

Not that anyone with a modicum of experience in the innovation area will have had an opportunity to go, ‘whew, not sure about that assumption, those figures.’

Not that any of us have had the chance to question.

But perhaps you’re right Mr Joyce, keep us in the dark, no one will be any the wiser.

It is almost Christmas and holidays are around the corner….we can simply steam into the new CIA mess that’s been created early next year.

Change by chance, by design or by stealth – Callaghan Innovation’s ‘birth’ far from democratic

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