Invention to Innovation: How Scientists Can Drive Our Economy – Book Review

Justin Maroccia (2023)


In a country that has nurtured numerous inventions and great scientific minds that have shaped our modern world, Invention to Innovation makes the case that Australian science can deliver economic success requisite with its extraordinary potential. Drawing on his decades of experience in the world of Silicon Valley venture capital (VC) and most recently as Chief Executive Officer of CSIRO, lead author Dr Larry Marshall provides readers with a positive market vision for Australian science while identifying barriers to the immense commercial success seen in Silicon Valley and Europe. Invention to Innovation is an enjoyable read for venture capitalists, industry, government and aspiring scientist-entrepreneurs. It highlights how Australia’s innovative spirit and enormous intellectual capital may foster world-class commercial success if these entities resolve to nurture the Australian innovation ecosystem with a new perspective. The book presents numerous barriers that may prevent widespread commercial success stories in Australian science. The chief barriers seem to be cultural in nature, elements of a disposition pervasive throughout the Australian innovation environment that stifles the market for deep-tech opportunities. These barriers include the fear of failure among all stakeholders within the system (generally cautious corporate decision makers), discouraging scientist entrepreneurship, and a finite view of domestic market size. The reader cannot distil tangible remedies from the wealth of content because of the amorphous nature of the problems presented. However, the book convincingly illustrates these cultural barriers and their chilling effects on Australian innovation through a plethora of anecdotes from Silicon Valley and quotes from leaders in technology commercialisation.