While the number of business enterprises that have emerged from the National Innovation Competition has been described as ???a good outcome??? by the National Council on Science and Technology (NCST), its Director, Charles Cyrus believes more should emerge with ???greater visibility???.
He was speaking at the awards ceremony for the 2013-2014 National Innovation Competition that saw Grenville Phillips earning the Prime Minister???s Award for Innovation valued at $75,000, at the Courtyard by Marriott, Hastings Christ Church, last Saturday. Mr. Cyrus noted that this would augur well for the continued support of the competition which began in 2003.
The competition, which is financed by the Enterprise Growth Fund is considered a catalyst for the development of creativity and innovation in Barbados and aims to create a greater awareness of the innovation fund. It was designed to get a number of projects to utilise the Fund and to assist in the growth of the local business sector.
Pointing out that over 100 applicants had submitted entries this year, he congratulated the semi-finalists and finalists and said that over the life of the competition there had always been some confusion as to what is innovation.
???I feel compelled to address this,??? he remarked, offering the World Bank???s definition that innovation should be understood as the dissemination of something new in a given context and not something new in absolute terms.
Acknowledging that this definition was used to judge the competition he added that all competitions carried a divergent view as to who should be the winner but the judges??? decision was always final.
Offering reasons for renewed attention to innovation, Mr. Cyrus said the world was in the midst of a serious economic crisis and technology application could be a means of recreating economic activity.
???While it is expected that developed countries will be at the frontier of technology, developing countries such as Barbados must find ways and means to use global knowledge and technology systems to adapt and adopt to our local context in order to find solutions to our existing problems. Barbados must use the process that is innovation to address many of our problems,??? said Mr. Cyrus.
It was also emphasized that programmes such as the Innovation Competition must be supported as they encourage, highlight and celebrate innovation at the individual and group levels, while at the same time providing a catalyst for entrepreneurship.
Grenville Phillips, the 2013-2014 winner took the coveted award for a product which he said would allow steel to be bent at below the current cost. The other four finalists were: Troy Weekes; Orville Maynard; Ricardo Lashley and Terry Worrell.