In a January 27, 2010 speech, the prime minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, said that the perception that innovations and creativity only belong to the scientists, technologists and highly qualified intellectuals is totally inaccurate, according to a Malaysian national news agency press release. (see “Innovations And Creativity Belong To Everyone, Says Najib“)
Putting forth the belief that innovation belongs to and is the responsibility of all groups and individuals in the society, Najib said, “I want to see innovations not only confined to the computerisation system, but also covering all delivery systems, public services and customer touch-points so that they are more innovative, efficient, swift and effective.”
We find it fascinating and inspirational that a world leader could put forth so vividly a vision of societal innovation that we have long felt could so strongly benefit businesses, yet sometimes seems to be overlooked in an emphasis on new technology and new products as the principal advancing forces in a company.
It’s undoubtedly true that innovation in technology and marketing can truly be enormously invigorating and bring benefits to a company’s prestige as well as top and bottom line. It is also true that tangible, technological innovations can have highly significant impacts on society and commerce far beyond an individual company’s return on investment. Just witness all of the excitement that today’s launch of Apple’s iPad tablet computer is generating, and the speculation that it could change the face of publishing and how people interact with the written word, video, and goodness knows what else. However, if we as leaders embrace Najib’s message to the people of Malaysia and apply it to our companies, the reach and impact of innovation could be unaccountably greater and more beneficial.
Imagine the powerful and undreamed-of outcomes that could emanate from a company’s very core if leaders at all levels of business promulgated Najib’s vision, supporting through word, deed, and resources the spread of innovation to all corners of the organization from the mailroom to the manufacturing line, from customer service to accounting as well as research and development and marketing. The benefit to the top and bottom line, customers, and all manner of stakeholder this support could engender are potentially mind boggling.
We’ve seen the power of this kind of viral spread of innovation in some companies, and are always deeply impressed when we encounter it. The scope of the results that come from this sort of company-wide innovative mindset frequently go well beyond what anyone could have imagined. It is this very spread of thinking about and creating new ways to produce value that can drive what we term “sustainable innovation,” the ability of a company, or even a people, to constantly reach into its deep reserves of resourcefulness up and down the line to produce remarkable benefits.
We applaud Prime Minister Najib’s vision of a country in which innovation is not the property of a select few, but is the lifeblood of the entire nation. We wish to see the same vision lived out in our own countries businesses and institutions as well, and are inspired by this prospect. This vision, and its consistent support, truly represents being innovative about the very nature of innovation.
Since 1991, Business Advancement Inc. has enabled companies to sustainably Increase ROI of Innovation.