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July 2, Putrajaya:Mr.Hamid Alavi, the World Bank’s Senior Private Sector Development Specialist and Coordinator for East Asia and Pacific Region delivered a talk on “inclusive innovation” to officers from various ministries including MOSTI this morning. The talk was part of The World Bank’s efforts to promote inclusive innovation, a critical instrument for inclusive growth to foster social harmony and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) globally. YBhg. Dato’ Dr. Sharifah Zarah Syed Ahmad, Deputy Secretary-General (Policy), MOSTI chaired the session.

Mr. Hamid defined inclusive innovation as ‘innovation that causes inclusion and refers to the use of technological or non-technological innovation that leads to affordable access on a sustainable basis to high quality basic goods and services for the excluded population, including the bottom of the pyramid (BoP), with a massive outreach’.

He argued that inclusive innovation is important for nations including Malaysia because it is more difficult to close the income gap but relatively easier to close the access gap between the haves and the have-nots. It is important for Governments because it can be a critical instrument for inclusive growththat will foster social harmony and equality. Further, it is also important for enterprises, especially SMEs, because they have the opportunity of “the next billion” market inside and outside Malaysia.

Mr. Hamid believed that Malaysia has an enabling environment for inclusive innovation as demonstrated by its government’s commitment to foster inclusiveness through various policies including the New Economic Model (NEM). According to him, Malaysia also has other conducive environments such as a well-developed innovation infrastructure, a size able BoP market, and rapidly growing private sector.

To reiterate the importance of inclusive innovation as thekey to attaining accelerated and sustainable inclusive growth, Mr. Hamid cited several lessons experienced by nations globally, amongst others:

  • Combination of scarcity and aspiration has been the driver for game changing inclusive innovations
  • True inclusion of 2.6 billion BoP population requires ultra-low cost solutions, which in turn requires radical rethinking, bold redesigning and reinventing
  • Non-technological innovations can be as game changing as technological, when it comes to inclusive innovation
  • The rising aspirations of millions means that inclusive innovation should be driven by ‘more from less’ and not ‘less from less’
  • The private sector has a great opportunity to make a paradigm shift from ‘doing well and doing good’ to ‘doing well by doing good’
He concluded that Government can be a major catalyst, facilitator and champion of inclusive innovation. In the case of Malaysia, he suggested that the best minds should be engaged in inclusive innovation.
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