Do we trivialise inventors, inventions and Government ministers?

Q: Why is Wallace the odd one out?
A: He  is the only one who
gets to say some decent lines
A media release from the United Kingdom's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills proudly informs him that the "IPO inspires cracking ideas at innovation exhibition".  Oh, no, he groans, not another bout of Wallace and Gromit.  And oh, yes, that's just what it is.  According to the text,
Baroness Wilcox, Minster for Intellectual Property will this week launch an event to inspire innovation and educate young people about the role inventive ideas can play in every day life.

“Wallace and Gromit Presents… a World of Cracking Ideas” is an exhibition in which the famous characters will guide students through the world of innovation to discover how simple ideas can transform into life changing products. This year the exhibition comes to the Newcastle Life Science Centre and will be open from 16 April until 30 October. It is sponsored by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in collaboration with Aardman Animations. 
Speaking ahead of the launch, Baroness Wilcox said:
“Innovation is about being exciting, creative and fun and ultimately it can lead to financial rewards. This exhibition will really inspire the young innovators of the future. By highlighting the important role that innovation and creativity play on a day to day basis I believe that the exhibition will prove to be a huge success. 
There are some great opportunities out there for people of all ages to develop their skills and I would encourage anyone interested in finding out more to come to the exhibition and explore what is on offer.” 
It is well known that this Kat is unhappy with the constant trivialisation of inventions and inventors and that he therefore wishes that the flames of invention could be kindled by offering children a more credible role model than W and G.  It is equally well known that this Kat wants Ministers for Intellectual Property to engage, and to be seen to engage, with their portfolio, to speak about IP with pride and with passion and to look and sound as though they really believed in its importance, rather than being stage-managed, protected from the UK's vibrant IP communities and generally being allowed to be about as proactive as cardboard cut-outs.  We've been through this all before with Baroness Morgan and David Lammie MP, and now -- with a Minister whose CV and track record suggests she has so much more to offer -- it's all happening again. We'd like to know a bit about her opinions, to share ours with her, to help and to encourage. if only we were given the chance.
Do we trivialise inventors, inventions and Government ministers? Do we trivialise inventors, inventions and Government ministers? Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. How does it trivialise innovation - it naturally will be more light hearted and child friendly if aimed at teachers, schools, children and parents?

    Is it not important to encourage innovation and ip awareness to the next generation via popular and relevent characters that the target audience can engage with?

    The ministers quote although lacking a hard message or strong opinion, does say something that supports the information it sits within?

    I am sure if you look hard or ask you may get the enagement or examples of engagement you seek?

    Didn't B Wilcox appear on Radio 4 recently on a show about IP - she could have done what many ministers do and not bother/no comment, did she not attend a selection of IP events or launches recently showing support and engagement with IP? Doesn't the IPO have an IP REVIEW blog and twitter account which they offer engagement via? All ministers are supported in media duties not just Baroness W.

    Are you being a tad harsh and picky today IPKAT? I am first to have a go at IPO/minister but this feels ott, esp since W&G & IPO work seems to be v popular and well recieved by many - certainly from people i have spoken to and from what i have read across the web/profession.

    IP Attorney & Parent

  2. Unfortunately, it is not inventors (nor even ministers who understand what they are doing) who determine how the public is approached, but the omnipresent marketing experts - enough said!

  3. It IS pretty lame, Jeremy and assumes children are stupid--they aren't.
    IP motivational materials and apologetics are important and ought to be better. Especially hard are those for the young.
    The focus is this: what are you trying to achieve by this communication?
    W&G is cute but cute pleases more grownups than children, I strongly suspect, and some in the IPO.
    Based on experience teaching inner city young people about IP in the past, I think IPO might consider using IP news stories/features involving children-oriented IP as heuristic devices, , posing the IP issues simply but directly and getting to the point in the same way.
    Talking to some children might be a good place for the IPO to begin...

  4. My 10 year old daughter wouldn't be interested in Wallace and Gromit. She is interested in solving problems and coming up with new ways of doing things. Innovation in all its forms needs to be encouraged in schools and not beaten out of kids in a rat race to get the best GCSE grades

  5. your not the only one wondering what is going on about the baroness

  6. If you find UKIPO's W&G irksome, just don't look at the comparable effort by the USPTO dubbed Invent Now.

    It seems to entertain the somewhat American idea that Anything Is Possible if you put your heart to it, as can be judged by the fantasy inventions displayed on the site.

    One wouldn't believe from this site that much patent work is really concerned make learned inquiries about what an imaginary figure called PHOSITA may - or may not - have thought on a certain date about a substantially operable implement painted a colour selected from black, red, white, purple etc. engaging in some article of manufacture, or as to whether the drafter really meant a semicolon when he typed a comma. Nor that many inventors hailed as heroes of modern life were not really the true inventors of the devices they are renowned for, their success having more to do with their cunning and business acumen than their technical skills. (So many names come to mind...)

  7. Department of Minuscule EmendationsSunday 17 April 2011 at 09:37:00 GMT+1

    "David Lammy" (as he then was)...



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