Innovation and invention, household terms in the modern world, yet, in Sri Lanka there has been no significant growth in this sector. Innovation and invention powers the modern world. It can be considered as the single factor that separates developed countries from those that are developing. For innovation or invention to take place it needs an enabler, it needs research. Thereby Research is the key towards invention and innovation.
Developing research is a task that can be considered the utmost duty of educators of institutes of education. The mind-set towards developing something new, something unique must be planted through those who are responsible for moulding the younger generation who will be the leaders of tomorrow.
The University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka’s largest educational body in terms of Student population has taken a small step that will no doubt result in a great advancement in terms of driving the country forward through research and innovation. An Invention, Innovation and Business Start-up Council has been implemented within the University to promote invention and innovation among undergraduates.
The students will be required to write a proposal based on their idea and pitch it to the university. The university will then select the best and the most unique idea to fund. It is believed that this exercise will be a worthy experience for undergraduates who will be entering the corporate world in the future. The ultimate aim of the university is to make it a facility that has a business income of Rs.350 Billion. This endeavour will ensure that educated youth of the country will be employed by their own design and will be working for the benefit of the country.
The key to success through innovation is inculcating uniqueness within one’s self. It is great ideas, great concepts that holds the world in its grip. An idea becomes a commodity and gains a monetary value when it is unique, without uniqueness it is difficult to succeed. It is the very essence of change.The modern era is monopolized by change, to be on par with it, becoming an agent of change is important.
The computer can be considered as the most revolutionary invention of our time. However, the age of the computer is nearing its end and we must pave way for new technologies to come and create the change that the world is anticipating.
Today computers are a common technology, and when technology becomes common then that technology cannot drive the system again and again. The computer can no longer change the world even though we cannot do anything without computers. However we can invent methods to use its efficiency to create something that is revolutionary.
It is research that will facilitate innovation and invention; thereby it is imperative that research is given prominence. An innovation or an invention is not something that always requires a large investment or many hands. It can be a simple idea. Any idea that is executed with efficiency and professionalism has the potential to achieve great feats. An excellent example would be the Sri Lankan academic who is also a well-known “Sitarist.” This academic was able to produce millions worth of music equipped with only a small area, few students an organ and two computers.
Research, invention, innovation: much needed aspects in this world, however none of it can retain its true value if not accompanied by professional grace, politeness and respect. Soft skill is the most important skill one needs. It should be practiced even in minor day to day activities, such as answering a phone call. Speaking pleasantly does not cost a cent, and yet it rewards you more.
Thereby, it was made evident that to move forward, research, innovation and invention is important, but not alone. It should always be accompanied by values and most importantly by harnessing uniqueness within one’s self.
Prof. Sampath Amaratunge
Vice Chancellor of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Daily FT : www.ft.lk/
Chartered Accountants : www.casrilanka.com/casl/
Ceylon Today : www.ceylontoday.lk/
Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC) : http://slic.gov.lk/en/
National Intellectual Property Office : http://www.nipo.gov.lk/
Institute of Research and Development : http://www.ird.lk/
National Research Council : http://www.nrc.gov.lk/
National Science Foundation : http://www.nsf.ac.lk/