John is an expert in innovation policy, a highly experienced management consultant, and economist with a track record of achievement in the areas of:
. Government policy analysis, research, and advice.
. Management strategy, strategic planning, organisation design.
. Government program review and evaluation for Ministers and Government departments.
. Research commercialisation and university engagement with industry.
. Regional development and regional innovation systems.
John’s professional knowledge, skills and experience in the fields of management consultancy and public policy analysis provides a unique combination of capability that has been applied in an extensive portfolio of successful commissions and assignments for government, business, universities and the non-government (NGO) sector over a 25-year period. Clients have included the Commonwealth, NSW, Victorian, Queensland, and ACT Governments, private sector organisations, and industry associations.
John has provided advice to Ministers, Ministerial staff, CEOs and senior management teams on policy, strategy, organisation structure, program performance improvement, communication, and innovation. Advice is built around detailed situation analysis, stakeholder consultation, literature review, case profiles, and evidence based material on contemporary management practice. Advice is provided in a context of practicality, feasibility, and cost of implementation.
John has a strong interest in digital transformation in organisations and its potential for productivity improvement and for product, process and business model innovation - as well as on employment, training and skill requirements. He prepared several reports for government and industry in these areas. Most are publicly available.
He has a PhD from The University of Sydney (Innovation), a Master of Arts from the University of Canberra (Public Policy), and a degree in Economics (Honours) from the University of Tasmania.
Recent assignments include:
Smart Specialisation Strategy for the Hunter Region: A strategy for innovation driven growth. (Regional Develpment Australia Hunter, 2016)
Securing Australia's Future - Capabilities for Australian enterprise innovation: The role of government, industry and education and research institutions in developing innovation capabilities: Issues arising from key informant interviews and matters for policy consideration (Howard, 2016)
Cross-sectoral industry research, development, and extension: Decision support guidance on when and how to collaborate, RIRDC Publication No 15/xx Retrieved from Not yet available (Howard, 2015a)
Senate Inquiry into Australia’s Innovation System, Issues Paper (Green & Howard, 2015b)
Australia’s Innovation Future: A Report on the Structure and Performance of Australia’s National Innovation System. Attachment 1 to the Senate Economic References Committee Report on Australia’s Innovation System (Green & Howard, 2015a).
Translation of Research for Economic and Social Benefit: Measures that facilitate transfer of knowledge from publicly funded research organisations to industry. Report for Securing Australia’s Future Project “Translating research for economic and social benefit: country comparisons” on behalf of the Australian Council of Learned Academies (Howard, 2015c)
Digital Post: Business Transformation and the Future Sustainability of Australia Post. Sydney: McKell Institute (Howard, 2015b).
Innovation, Ingenuity and Initiative: the Adoption and Application of New Ideas in Australian Local Government. ACELG Innovation and Best Practice Program (Howard, 2012).
Howard, J, Williams, T & Agarwal, R 2016, 'Governance Models and Frameworks for Smart Specialisation', First SMARTER Conference on Smart Specialisation and Territorial Development titled "Changing Patterns of Territorial Policy: Smart Specialisation and Innovation in Europe", Seville, Spain.
Governance models and frameworks become increasingly important as the flow of resources for regional purposes increases. Loosely aligned networked arrangements must give way to more formally established corporate arrangements to ensure responsibility and accountability by funding agencies, auditors and national scrutiny bodies. Governance arrangements move from network arrangements through association models and strategic alliances to more formalised corporate arrangements.
The Australian RDA model, as it has evolved in the Hunter, provides a basis not only for the development and implementation of regional strategies, but also for assigning responsibility and delivering accountability.
The Triple Helix (TH) framework is a well-established theoretical concept and a basis for portraying patterns of industry-science-government interactions. The TH framework provides a useful depiction and description of what might take place in what are commonly described as 'regional innovation ecosystems'. There is a presumption that interactions will evolve around the convergence of missions concerning creation and utilisation of knowledge, regional networks, government regulation and venture finance, and decisions of multinational corporations and international organisations.
However, like the regional innovation systems model itself, the TH model offers little in the way of practical guidance about how interactions can be nurtured and developed, what and where new public and private innovation investments should be made, the most appropriate way to go about building and strengthening engagement between institutions to achieve innovation outcomes, and most significantly, the governance and intermediary arrangements appropriate to guide planning, budgeting and resource allocation at a regional level. This paper addresses the extent to which the Smart Specialisation framework can address those investment, engagement and governance issues.
Recent clients include:
Commonwealth Departments of Industry, Innovation and Science, Agriculture, Education and Training
Rural Indusries Research and Development Corporation
Australian Councl for the Learned Academies