Share knowledge to advance education and the society
Innovation – the Welcome Speech by Dr. Mawdudur Rahman8th Knowledge Globalization Conference in Istanbul, Turkey, May 2013The history innovation is not new for any period of human civilization. The difference between this period and earlier periods is the rate and frequency of innovation. Shorter life and quicker obsolescence of tools, techniques, products and processes characterize the innovation landscape of this period. The human society has been engaged in innovating activities since its beginning. We have innovated from the square solid wheels to the round inflated wheels, from animal driven carts to supersonic flying machines, from steam engines to nuclear combustion engines, from surface communication to digital communication, from fresh natural food to bio-tech (GM) food, from classroom learning to digital distance education. Many hearts are pumping blood because of medical innovation. All these advances are results of continuous and endless innovations, some took longer , some short time, some are lead innovations, some are derivatives. Some occurred in formally funded research laboratories and other occurred in the work place or informal setting of inquisitive minds, some are based on theories and principles and others were based on conjectures or accidental events. Whatever their roots were they brought welfare to the human society.We need to seek innovations through knowledge management outside the formal domain of innovation research. I wish to define innovation as the new knowledge which contributes to add value to functions, processes, products or services through which an organization sustains itself. I look at an organization as a knowledge management system which continuously generates and adds new knowledge and learn from the environment. Organizations must innovate to survive in this rapidly changing environment. The future organizations are “innovation organizations”.Transition economies need innovation specific to their needs. Challenges faced by the transition economies are many. Among them the following may be note worthy:• To respond to the impact of global competition on their internal economies• To keep competitive advantages for their export industry• To create an economy where manufacturing, agriculture, trade and commerce all complement each other.
Bangladesh, a densely populated country of 150 m people living in 56k sq. miles. Fifty percent of its people do not know how to read and write. Bangladesh had food crisis 40 years ago when its population was 70 million. It depended heavily on foreign donations for food supply. Now, with the double the population it is self-sufficient in food production. Because of rural innovations in crop cultivation and diversification in agriculture. A new crop culture has emerged in Bangladesh. Or, take the case of Nobel Laureate Mohammad Yunus’s Micro-credit, an innovation in the financial industry which developed new institutions, new customers, and a new economy. This is undoubtedly a great financial engineering of our time.These innovations are not captured in the main stream innovation literature I am familiar with.Main stream Innovation literature is passive about the ethical issues in innovation though there are many initiatives in ethical innovations. For example, how one should address the issues like stem cell research, gas bomb, drones or scout planes. Should presumptive use of innovation preempt its creation? Should there be national and global innovation polices?So, my argument is to broaden the domain and definition of innovation research to include all new efforts which can lead to a better world and improve quality of life globally and nationally. We need more focus on culture dependent innovation and share innovation knowledge across cultures.