Innovation is essentially about bringing the impossible to reality.
Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Ronald Jones expressed this view last Saturday while addressing the awards ceremony for the 2013-2014 National Innovation Competition at the Courtyard by Marriotts, Hastings Christ Church.
???That???s to some extent what innovation is about, searching the impossible to make something possible which can further transform man???s interaction with earth and with life on earth,??? explained the Minister.
Mr. Jones told the five finalists that he looked forward to seeing their innovations, adding ???I hope that I am going to be able to say ???Wow??? that there is somebody living in Barbados, they might not be a Barbadian in the classical sense of Barbadian but somebody living in this space, who???ve come up with something that is going to make the world stand up and take a further look at Barbados.???
Stressing that he would prefer to see an idea, product or innovation that would make money through being marketed and sold, he said: ???Innovations are not to be kept in a closet???it is to be shared with the world, not as a gift, unless you are philanthropic, but as something that will make money???This is about taking ideas and innovating to make money???you have to have it! So, out of your mind and out of your skill something must emerge that will give you the capacity to make it and to make it in great abundance.???
The Minister added that whatever machinery or service was developed had to be shared. ???So, we are thinking creatively, we are innovating and using scientific knowledge to transform all of our space but we are also saying we will not be selfish. We cannot be selfish because all of it now becomes nothing if all of us can???t share in the award and the reward. You deliver, we participate,??? said Mr. Jones.
As he complimented the over 100 persons who entered the competition, he urged those who did not make it not to quit but instead persevere and work their ideas.
Acknowledging that at times there can be frustration as individuals try to innovate and bring a product to the marketplace, he said: ???there is always sometimes a gap between the idea and the end product or the idea and the deliverable. How do you fill those gaps in? Do you stay alone in your private space or do you seek collaborators????
And, he lamented that there have always been, in societies like ours, fears and suspicions of others stealing ideas.??Those gathered, also heard that ideas were universal and when not put to use could be developed by others. They were therefore reminded that ideas were there to be freely spread.
The Minister expressed the opinion that fear was preventing Barbadians from transforming themselves and the world, and called for this to be eradicated if the country was to truly achieve.
Meanwhile, Director of the NCST, Charles Cyrus, in echoing similar sentiments, urged the finalists to market their innovations.
Contending that any product or service claiming to be innovative must pass the test of having a presence in the market place, he said: ???Notwithstanding the technology, innovation is really a market process. What is not disseminated and used is not innovation. Dissemination does not speak here to the success or failure of innovation just to the presence of the market place. So, we really want to see those products in the market place.???