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Culture of Innovation

According to Richard Vietor of the Harvard Business School, within this global marketplace, countries around the world compete for exports, for foreign direct investments and other capital resources, for technology and managerial know-how, and for access to natural resources. The purpose of this competition is for growth and development, to reduce poverty, accommodate urbanization, create jobs and increase living standards.

However, in the present development marked by unprecedented global competition beset by the current economic turmoil, countries around the world are facing stiff competitions resulting in the need to adapt to new global realities. The economy cannot remain reliant on export economy or cheap labour as there has been a sharp decline in export and service demand. As such, we need to go beyond the norm of how we do business and break the convention not to carry on with business as usual. We need to make a paradigm shift and transform in leaps and bounds to make a difference and stay relevant. The present economic decline should thus set the impetus to instigate us to remain competitive for continuous progress.

For Malaysia to ride the challenge of the current economic crisis, our Honourable Prime Minister has reiterated the need for Malaysia to become an innovation-led nation, with 2010 declared as Malaysia’s Innovation Year. The new economic model based on innovation would create a new momentum for Malaysia’s economic progress. In fact, with the 1Malaysia concept, Innovation Culture has been designated as one of the key thrusts for Malaysia’s sustainable progress and prosperity. Malaysia is set to move away from a resource-based economy towards an innovation-driven economy with creativity and innovation as the key elements that will drive the nation forward.

As highlighted by Curtis Carlson, CEO of Stanford Research Institute, countries around the world should rely on economy that is driven by innovation which entails the creation and delivery of new customer value in the marketplace. He further stresses that the world is moving faster than we can ever imagine. As such, he believes that innovation is now the primary driver of growth, prosperity, and quality of life.

Carlson also highlighted that innovation should be made a ‘discipline across society’ and be ‘driven as a process’ as there is no limit to ideas and creativity in the innovation economy. Organisations should thus have an innovation system in place to instill the innovation culture among its employees. In addition, the staff of an organisation should appreciate the innovation process and be part of the innovation culture for change to happen.

The new economic model currently adopted by developed nations takes the step towards creating high value through innovation and creativity using new paradigms with high income targeted. This is in contrast to the traditional view which sees innovation as a singular dimension of developing new products or processes. The move beyond products to win develops different approaches and processes to drive the innovation culture to include the whole innovation paradigm of developing new business models that are more profitable, enabling processes with assembled capabilities and core processes that add value, providing service offerings in terms of product performance, extended system and service to customers as well as innovating process of delivery  in relation to how to connect offerings to the customers, and highlighting the benefits of the offerings that make up a unique customer experience.

As part of its branding, UTM adopts the complement strategy in consonance with the initiative undertaken by the government.

The innovation culture should  be appreciated and internalised by the whole campus community at all levels in rank and file…UTM is set to make innovation part of its culture in all dimensions.

At the same time, UTM will strive to become the catalyst in inculcating the innovation culture among the campus community in Malaysia. Innovation should not only be the monopoly of the clever and intelligent. As Carlson argues, we can all innovate. The innovation culture can be inculcated with the right ingredients such as the readiness for change, the willingness to try new methods and approaches in the way we do things through creative solutions for peace, prosperity and sustainability.

In the context of UTM, the innovation culture nurtured should not be confined to inventions and research and development in technical and scientific fields per se but there should be economic value attached to our products and systems. As of now, UTM will continue its efforts towards the generation of Intellectual Property and creation of spin-off companies that would contribute to national wealth and create job opportunities for high value work sector in the new economic chain model.

The innovation culture should thus be appreciated and internalized by the whole campus community at all levels in rank and file. UTM is set to make innovation part of its culture in all dimensions including 7 core task areas:

1.    Teaching and Learning

2.    Management and Administration

3.    Research and Development

4.    Writing and Publication

5.    Consultation and Professional Service

6.    Staff and Student Development

7.    University Social Responsibility

To instill the innovation culture at all levels at the university, A UTM Innovation Culture Package has been drawn up in relation to the above mentioned areas with the following objectives:

•     To prepare a new UTM Innovation Policy in tandem with the concept of an Innovation-led Economy

•     To prepare the concept of Innovative Research University as the thrust of knowledge development in UTM

•     To reorganize all units and agencies in UTM to explain the role of innovation and business units

•     To administer and manage the implementation of innovation initiatives at all levels

•     To inculcate awareness of innovation-led economy among the UTM staff

•     To train 300 innovation leaders a year

•     To create an innovation ecosystem among the UTM staff and students

•     To make innovation a way of life through inculcation of awareness and practice

•     To encourage more innovative research and development

•     To increase UTM’s contribution to   national wealth through creativity and   innovation

To ensure that the innovation culture becomes an integral part of the university community, the staff should shoulder the responsibility to enable   innovation to be managed effectively so that the university’s performance eventually qualifies it to be a renowned Innovative Research University. The focus and initiative of innovation can only be realised if we adopt a first-class mentality and a tradition of intellectual excellence that thrives on a strong knowledge culture and intellectual ecosystem based on a concrete perspective of life and universal positive values. Most importantly, is “ to love what you do … Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you belief is great work “( Steve Jobs, Apple Corp)