INNOVATION CAPABILITY

INNOVATION CAPABILITY – BASIL SPRINGER COLUMN WHICH APPEARS IN THE BARBADOS ADVOCATE’S BUSINESS MONDAY ON OCTOBER 29, 2012

“Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them.” – Hosea 14:9

The Mission of the Barbados International Business Association (BIBA) is “To work in partnership with government towards the development of the international business sector in the interest of Barbados and members of the Association”.

BIBA’s International Business Week 2012 culminated last week with a conference the theme of which was “Creative Approaches for Global Expansion”. There were 22 speakers over a day and a half most of whom presented on issues associated with the theme but related to the financial and legal aspects of international business; the rest of us focused on entrepreneurship, environmental business initiatives, management of change and business innovation.

I missed the first day of the conference when BIBA President Melanie Jones made the opening remarks followed by the feature address by the Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, but was privileged to hear the summary of the first day’s proceedings by coordinator Henderson Holmes, BIBA’s Executive Director, at the beginning of the second day. The message was clear that the international business sector has made, is making and will make a significant impact on the sustainable development of Barbados.

The Governor of the Central Bank, Dr. DeLisle Worrell, set the tone on the second day by making a plea for the private sector of Barbados, traditional and emerging, to focus on maximising foreign exchange inflow.

Out of the seven presentations which followed, three were not specific to the financial and legal aspects of international business. The first was by Mitch Hawkins, Chairman and Principal Executive Officer, Bio-Jet International Ltd. His topic was “Environmental Business Initiatives to help reduce demands on Fossil Fuels and Natural Resources”. Mitch made the point that although Bio-Jet has operations in Santa Barbara, Monterey, London, Zurich and Buenos Aires, Bio-Jet is headquartered in Barbados.

I was very pleased to accept BIBA’s invitation to make a presentation on: “Entrepreneurship – A Way Forward for Sustainable Development”. CBET focuses on start-up businesses which are part of the emerging private sector. I pointed out that I developed a passion for enterprise development over the last 14 years but first thought that I should address the definitions of Sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship.

Sustainable Development which encompasses spiritual, cultural, environmental, social and economic issues is defined by the Brundtland Commission as “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Entrepreneurship may be defined as “the capacity and willingness to develop and manage a business venture, including Start-ups, in the face of attendant risks in order to make a profit”. I drew the audience’s attention to an article “Sustainable Development and Entrepreneurship: Past contributions and future directions” in the Journal of Business Venturing (2010).

I chose a passage from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar to provide the framework on which to hang the content that I wanted to share. I divided the passage into three parts, the first representing the Opportunity; the second the Factors Inhibiting the fulfillment of the opportunity; and then the Solution.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men. Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.” The opportunity (flood tide) arises from creative and innovative talents which then have to be matched by the passionate entrepreneur and a shepherding process. I listed a sample of these ideas which have been converted into active businesses. The inventor of the idea teams up with an innovator who packages the ideas for sale, an entrepreneur who has the passion to make the business make a profit and the shepherding process which mitigates the risk of business failure. Sometimes these four tasks may need less than four persons for effective execution.

“Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” The inhibiting factors (deterrents to progress at flood tide) will result in lost opportunities for all stakeholders including the country’s ability to grow and earn foreign exchange. These inhibiting factors include non “DNA of an Elephant” ideas, high risk enterprises or promoters and lack of timely access to appropriate sources of finance.

“On such a full sea are we now afloat, And we must take the current when it serves, Or lose our ventures.” This calls for an innovative solution (take the full sea current), like the CBET Shepherding Model™ which is promoted as necessary and sufficient for sustainable business success. This is accompanied by the ManoBiz Matrix™ which is a business management systems monitoring instrument, a gap analysis shepherding tool which provides current readings on business health.

I concluded that The CBET Shepherding Model™ and The ManoBiz Matrix™ address the Inhibiting Factors to allow the many opportunities presented by Innovation Prospects in Start-up Businesses to be fully realised in the thrust to develop Entrepreneurship as a Way Forward for Sustainable Development.

The third presentation was made by my colleague at Systems Caribbean Limited in the early 1980’s, Dr. Edmond Molloy, who now lives in Dublin, Ireland and is a Director, Advanced Organisation. Eddie’s topic was “Innovation/Change Management – The Imperative in Turbulent times”. Eddie stressed the importance of innovation, not only in the context of business ideas from which new products and services emerge but also with regard to the corporate governance, marketing, human resource development and investment finance business systems. The Advanced Organisation shared with us an instrument (in the form of a questionnaire) for rating Innovation Capability in the business environment.

Let us introduce a National Innovation Ecosystem. 
 
(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is Change-Engine Consultant, Caribbean Business Enterprise Trust Inc. – CBET – Columns are archived at www.cbetmodel.org).

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.