Can we achieve effective economic diplomacy without innovation diplomacy?

DFAT’s innovationXchange is seeing throughout our conversations with other countries that so many of us are looking at the issue of innovation.  …There is a great deal of interest in exploring how we can share information across borders, how we use that information to trigger new ideas, and how we leverage the skills and knowledge of others to achieve better outcomes. Innovation is fast becoming a common objective, something we all aim to embed in our respective organisations, but which we know we cannot do alone. The problems we seek to solve are global and a collaborative, innovative approach to solve them is needed….

This makes me think, is innovation the new diplomatic tool on which we can base new or enhanced relationships on?  Can we use the shared goal of doing things better, more cost effectively harnessing the knowledge and capital that sits outside governments to not only have a better impact but bring countries closer together in a collaborative partnership?  Could these collaborative partnerships even contribute to increased regional stability?

Innovation is fuelled by collaboration – taking an idea, sharing with others, using their knowledge and creativity to improve the idea, building on it, testing it, adapting and testing again.  This collaborative process aligns very well with the intent behind diplomacy – the act of a state seeking toachieve its aims, in relation to those of others, through dialogue and negotiation.

This is already happening to some extent with like-mindeds, like UK and US.  But innovation is about risk taking, trying new things and stepping outside of the familiar and comfortable. The emergence of new groupings, like MIKTA, and the increasing engagement of the private sector in partnering for social impact expands the opportunities to learn about other approaches and find complementary skills and knowledge.

This is all about making collaboration, co-creation and through that, innovation a way of working – an approach we can take to working with other states and other organisations. While innovation is the latest buzzword in government and in the development community, it will remain just a buzzword, easily replaced by the next trend, unless we look for opportunities to work with others to co-create and innovate to solve shared problems….(More)”