Researcher goes on hunt for innovation secrets

By Rob O'Brien

A Queensland University of Technology researcher is embarking on a global hunt for the secrets to innovation through tracking down some of the world's brightest sparks.

Creative Industries researcher and Vice Chancellor's Fellowship recipient Ruth Bridgstock will travel the world to pick the brains of internationally recognised innovators in science, technology, and the creative industries to find out what makes outstanding innovators tick.

"Finding out the keys to their success will help us prepare students for their careers in these key sectors," Dr Bridgstock said.

Dr Bridgstock said innovators were people who successfully implemented valued, highly creative ideas in the course of their careers, something which was very important for businesses in the evolving world economy.

"The successful economy of the 21st century is an innovation economy – one where we constantly increase our capacity to create new knowledge and products, and find new ways of doing business, using new technologies," she said.

"Research has shown that science, technology and creative industries drive the innovation economy. We need to ensure that graduates moving into these sectors are in the best position possible to contribute."

Dr Bridgstock is interviewing 14 outstanding Australians living here or overseas who work in areas such as chemical engineering, polymer science, artificial intelligence, visual communication, games programming and film-making.

"These high-flyers have been very approachable and generous in sharing details about their lives and careers," she said.

"From the interviews, we will be able to identify skills and other attributes that make an innovator successful, and then take these back to universities to create courses to better prepare students for their working lives.

"This project will help ensure that people who have jobs in key innovation sectors have the right skills."

Dr Bridgstock plans to share the findings from her case studies in a book early next year.

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