Innovation | D&T illustration

'The Time to Invest is Now'

‘Recovery from this recession is dependent on innovation. The time to invest is now’ - said the EU Commissioner for Innovation, and yet, looking at Hungary's place at SII, it is obvious that there is a great room for development.

In Hungary or elsewhere in the world, it is common knowledge that innovation is ‘the engine of development’. The issue facing us is that few of us know more about it, unless directly involved. Everyone, however, who is not directly involved in innovation may seem misinformed. True or not? Please take part in our short quiz to see your Innovation knowledge.

Do you know…
1. Where does Hungary stand in the Summary Innovation Index (SII)?
2. Where was the 2nd European Innovation Summit?
3. Whose definition thought to be a core definition of innovation?
4. Could you list any examples how innovation improves our lives
in short term?
5. And a loaded question: how many great Hungarian
contemporary innovations can you name in 30 seconds?

If you answered the questions correctly, please immediately stop reading and move on to the next article (see the answers below). The underlying motivations of these questions are the reasons why Diplomacy & Trade has decided to have a series on innovation.
It is not to be neglected that after showing veneration for the most forward thinking Hungarian minds, the president of European Council, Herman Van Rompuy named innovation as one of Hungary’s number one tasks, when he visited Budapest in
December. It would be important to see what Innovation Union means in the Hungarian context. Hungarians are traditionally good at individual achievements but to put them into practice needs more. One of the most obvious international examples to illustrate this statement is Facebook. The creator, Mark Zuckerberg was chosen to be “The Person of the Year” by Time Magazine. His seemingly little playful idea imposed enormous impact on our

In the cookbook of innovation science, technology and creativity are indispensable ingredients to create something that has never existed before. What the international innovation conferences seek to address is how to generate the dynamic changes to
enable the three basic conditions to improve the standard of our lives. That is the real stake of innovation. One example: the German pharmaceutical association says that since 1986 average life expectancy in Germany has risen by nearly two years of which
40 per cent is attributed to innovative medicines.

Without the most important basic ingredients our favourite recipe will never become what we intended. But even if we have them, the lack any of the following requirements: acknowledgement of the value of knowledge, more security in intellectual property rights, trust (!) and predictability, will block the development of innovation.

A great economic thinker, Joseph Schumpeter’s definition is: ‘The central meaning of innovation thus relates to renewal. For this renewal to take place it is necessary for people to change the way they make decisions, they must choose to do things differently,
make choices outside of their norm. However the greatest and most interesting part of innovation is that it changes the values onto which the system is based.’

Studies show both public and private Research & Development investment brings overall growth. As an Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) analysis estimates that a 1% increase in business R&D increases productivity in the economy by 0.13 per cent, while the same in public R&D has a result of 0.17 per cent. Depending on calculations in case of Hungary this could mean a sum between USD 200-300 million a
year. Concerning innovation the most telling data is the GDP spent on it. Your heart is where you money is. Hungary in 2010 according to the Summary Innovation Index is ranked among the catching-up countries. The subtitle of the 2nd European Innovation Summit in Brussels could might as well refer to the Hungarian situation; ‘Tackling the Grand Challenges – Policy meets Practice’. The organizers of the conference definitely
focused on policy to meet practice. Now, Hungary is in the doorway, and future will tell what happens.




1. Among the catching up countries.
2. In Brussels.
3. Joseph Schumpeter’s definition.
4. Innovative medicines help longer life expectancy with 40%.
5. Four contemporary important Hungarian innovations: Litracon Light-Transmitting Concrete; Graphisoft is the maker of ArchiCAD, a 3D architectural design software,
spidron is a planar figure that exhibits extraordinary spatial properties; H-Cube�
Continuous-flow Hydrogenation Reactor allows fast and cost-efficient hydrogenation.

Alica Árvay

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