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Innovation rules the world, tap it for rare growth

M-Pesa is an innovation known across the globe. FILE PHOTO | NMG
M-Pesa is an innovation known across the globe. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

In the last one month alone, I have come across at least a job every week that had the mention of innovation as a key requirement. Mind you these are jobs outside of ICT and technology-related functions.

Corporate leaders face an increasingly complex innovation and decision space characterised by ubiquitous connectivity, and the Internet of Everything.

Globalisation, unprecedented levels of transparency, new consumer demands for more independence and control, intense competition and changing policy and regulatory contexts also make the growing list. Creativity has always been at the heart of business, but until now it has not been at the top of management agenda.

Globally, there seems to be a huge correlation between innovation and national development. Economies such as Switzerland, Sweden, the UK, the US, Finland and Singapore have been at the lead on matters innovation according to 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index (GII) report (2016), released by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

China has joined that league of world’s 25 most-innovative economies according to the same report. What about Africa?

According to the GII report, 2016, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, and Uganda stand out for being innovation achievers at least four times in the past five years.

Innovations such as M-Pesa, a Kenyan brainchild, has been celebrated world over. In the public sector, Huduma Centres have transformed the delivery of government services.

Joint innovative solutions to counter global challenges as climate change, poverty, food shortages, shelter and insecurity are critical.

At the business level, organisations seek to manage and leverage the power of innovation for more tangible and measurable business results. Innovation is a function of HR; or the people. The trick lies in how organisations are able to tap into their people and draw out the creative juice.

The new mantra is that innovation is the new king. The fact that 7 out of 10 of Forbes most powerful brands including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Toyota, IBM and GE identify themselves as innovative companies is a clear indication that innovation is a business lifeline.

Organisations that are rated as innovative have one thing in common; a conducive environment where employees are highly engaged and connected to the vision and business goals.

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