I have accepted the invitation of the Government of Alberta (Canada) to attend and speak in Inventures 2019. Inventures offers a great platform for deep conversation on technology and innovation. The event holds in Calgary on June 5-7, 2019. Alberta Innovates organizes the program.
Alberta Innovates is a provincially-funded Corporation with a mandate to deliver 21st century solutions for the most compelling challenges facing Albertans. We do this by building on our province’s research and technology development strengths in the core sectors of health, environment, energy, food and fibre and platforms such as artificial intelligence, nanotechnology, and omics. We are working with our partners to diversify Alberta’s economy, improve our environmental performance and enhance our well-being through research and innovation.
The Government of Alberta has been bringing experts from around the world for deep conversations on Innovation. That redesign is catalytic because without innovation, nothing happens. Yes, it is not just the creation of knowledge that matters but the translation of the knowledge to fix market frictions via products and services.
Great ideas without products and services are Invention. But when they are commercialized, you have Innovation. Simply: Innovation = Invention + Commercialization.
While the creation, generation and accumulation of knowledge remain critical, it is the translation of knowledge that builds modern nations. For many centuries, the world was an inventive society despite amalgam of some of the finest scientists who pioneered nearly all fields of modern physics and chemistry. Yes, ideas everywhere but not a single product or service for citizens.
But when the century of innovation kicked in, GDPs of nations grew. Alberta is working to sustain that innovation element by creating a fluidic system to ensure that ideas move from labs to markets. I am hopeful Nigeria does the same also; policy matters. Yes indeed, as no nation has advanced the welfare of its citizens unless it can transition from an inventive society into an innovation society.
The world waits for no one, nations and people that will control things by 2050 are already laying the foundations. In this part of the world, we are waiting for 2045 to launch our own 2050 agenda. And this is why any thought about leapfrogging anyone may remain only a dream, because it does appear that we are always set up to play catchup.
All our national, regional or local agendas are tied to individuals, largely – politicians who may not even understand what they are saying in the first place, so when their tenures are over, brand new agendas are created by the newest guys in town, sometimes with beautiful names and acronyms.
If the federal government cannot drive any serious agenda, maybe state governments can come within a region/zone and create something big. But that’s more or less like asking for butter when no one has even agreed to provide you with the bread…
If we are not careful, in 30 years time, our democracy and governance may not go beyond building roads, railways, power projects, water, health centres; with the usual ‘it is our turn to rule’. Just grab power for the sake of power, and nothing more.
Wishing you a happy outing, with something to bring back to Africa.