Daniel in his post on so you know what is important “That is why academic researchers spend so much time writing surveys or studying to death a detail. They don’t think their own work will change the world, but they count on others doing the same thing.”
May be we are living in a changing world where the values to academic research have changed. I still believe that we could “change the world” with some of the researches done, especially on Web 2.0 and its impact on education and learning. The wikipedia, Google and Amazon examples are also of great significance in changing the way we learn, via those ICT and tools. However, these are all rendered possible by the introduction of internet and advances in computer technology. So, I think we need both researches (as part of education) to ensure that we could gain a better understanding of those principles on a scientific basis, rather than mere application (which could lead to disastrous results).
The current financial crisis is just one example of the failure to take responsibility in compliance to regulations by financial institutions. There are factors like greed which might have led to the over-selling and purchasing of the mortgages. Would education and scientific research (risk management research) be able to reveal, anticipate or prevent such problems?
Another example is the widespread of virus and spams nowadays. One of my computers has just been hacked and now full of Trojans and spywares, and I have to return it to IT to have it re-booted. This is a by-product of the technology, and I would like such problem be solved as soon as possible. Isn’t it also of great concern to us as computer users. That may also explain why institutions have to build in strong firewalls, in order to prevent any disastrous attack by spammers or intruders. These are all imminent issues that require solutions.
Thanks Daniel for your insights.