Brown launches the UK as 'the innovation nation'

Gordon Brown described the work of IT entrepreneurs as 'critical for the economy' and has pledged to break down barriers to innovation."I want to break down every barrier to innovation, whether it is our policy or our attitudes to regulation," said Brown at last week's Nesta Innovation Edge Conference in London and building on the recent government white paper “innovation nation” .At the conference the Prime Minister described the work of entrepreneurs, IT developers and academics attending the conference as "absolutely critical for the economy". Well he would wouldn’t he.While it’s moderately easy to get up in front of 3000 delegates and make promises it’s a bit harder to actually achieve those promises. The Innovation Nation report produced in March 2008 by the Department for Innovation, Universities & Skills says very little. As usual, there are the normal promises and little actual cash or easing of regulations, just lots of recommendations that will no doubt be forgotten about next week.The report also claims to make “Britain the best country in the world to run an innovative business or public service.” Which is a bit of a mouthful plus it also sounds strangely familiar. As far as we remember the old DTI slogan was something like “to make Britain the best place in the World to do business,” well a fat lot of good that did.In the last World Bank report “Doing Business 2007” the UK was sixth in top economies behind Singapore, New Zealand, The United States, Canada and Hong Kong, and at the time Caralee McLiesh, one of the report’s co-authors put the reason for the UKs failure to keep pace with global change, as“The pick-up of reform in the UK has just not been the same as in many other countries,” she said.So unless Gordon Brown follows up on his promises, and really does break down barriers it looks like we’ll be, about as successful at innovation regulation reform as we are at winning the Eurovision Song contest, ie bottom place with 14 points, while Eastern Europe streaks into the lead - Georgia was named the most successful reformer in the World Bank report rising to 37th place from 112th last year.

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