Money and assets have become far less powerful in the 21st century than innovative ideas. Look at Facebook, a simple social sharing platform that is now so powerful it can sway elections in most countries. Pakistan needs to nurture its youth to be on the lookout for such innovative ideas to truly survive in the emerging world. Khadijha Tariq continues her conversation with Saira Iqbal Khan, Chief Disruption Officer at Innovation Capital Development Forum, to find out how the forum is inculcating innovation.

Objectives of ICDF

Explaining the objectives behind ICDF, Saira told Academia Magazine that the think-tank aimed to create “innovation champions who can lead certain interventions and solutions that have the potential to be converted into unicorns. The idea behind this is to assist Pakistan to increase its ranking in critical indices”. The beauty of this think-tank is that we talk about challenging the convention, which happens to be our tagline as well. ICDF aims to facilitate knowledge building, collaboration and networking. People come to us and we cross-pollinate ideas through multi-disciplinary collaboration. Thought leaders share their ideas, and we then develop documentation to be sent to the government for consideration as policy initiatives,” she added.

 

Vision of ICDF

While highlighting the vision behind the initiation of ICDF, Saira said, “The core idea behind the think-tank was to serve national interest by focusing on matters that needed urgent attention, along with the inclusion of all key stakeholders. We are living in very interesting times and this era is far different and competitive than the previous eras. It demands creation and investment in intellectual capital as the main driver and prime mover of national progress. We also need to move from factor-driven economy to innovation-driven economy. We need to challenge the intellectual limits through developing and launching innovation-driven eco-system, where innovators, industry, academia and the government will be coming forward and join hands to serve the problems of this nation and take collective actions.”

 

ICDF – A Think Tank, Not a Project  

Asked about where the project was headed, the chief disruption said ICDF was purely a think tank, not a project with any commercial interests. “The core idea is to change the mindset and to create a culture of coming out of comfort zones and challenging conventions and ways of doing business. We plan to convert Pakistan from factor-driven to idea-driven innovation economy. We wish to create multiple opportunities in a bid to take full advantage of the demographic dividend which Pakistan enjoys as a great starting point, only to be guided by veterans and sages with right forward looking attitude.” ICDF is a very informed initiative that was created on the lines of advisory and advocacy. The question arises, why we went for a think-tank and not any other similar platform happening these days, like panel discussions. We have a certain vision and aim and we know that the world is full of mediocrity. We want to turn bystanders into converters and contributors for which we needed to plan and work hard, going extra miles to achieve such kind of vision. The main objective of the forum is to create sectoral champions and that all can be done by literally pushing all key stakeholders, providing them with an enabling platform or habitat along with inspiring them to be more innovative in their approach in collective actions.”

 

The ICDF Logo 

ICDF Logo signifies streaming into the reinvention and thought mutation of human mind to envision disruptive innovation transforming into globally competitive all-inclusive green solutions to serve humanity. This logo signifies the acquisition and application of learning and knowledge. The human brain receives stimuli from the environment. These stimuli could be in from of raw data or semi- or fully developed knowledge. It primarily becomes input for the human brain which processes it and illuminates and emanates new knowledge creation out of it by realigning the mental networks. These new mental configurations of conventional logics when applied can potentially provide new break through and also globally competitive and green solutions. This transformation process creates and develops rewarding Innovation Capital. Innovation Capital creates new value chain propositions which can be applied holistically resulting in betterment and improvement of the quality of life for Mankind.

The importance of developing, capitalizing and acknowledging human capabilities takes new dimensions of importance in this age of disruptive innovation where the technology and its attributes are being challenged regularly and this evolution is getting us into new realms whereby, all the paradigms are facing tectonic shift. This rapidly changing technological world has its repercussions on Socio, Economic, Technological, Political, Educational systems. It is changing time and distance related variables and is emerging as real time experience with Orientation and Reaction times marginalized. With these new realities the survival on being proactive and having capacity to quickly accept and adapt to new realities is the new emerging challenge being faced by industry and academia. In this new saga the challenge being faced due to disruptive innovation combined with new millennial who are from digital age with new attitudes and aptitude towards life and work needs new thinking to hire, inspire and retain them. May be conventional practices need to be revisited.

 

ICDF Alliances with Innovation Partners 

Taking about key innovation partners, Saira said, “All of our innovation partners are available on our website (www.icdf.umt.edu.pk) and they are continuously growing. The challenge we face is lack of resources to go for outreach. We have to cover Pakistan from coast to coast and also need strong assistance in conducting valid and relevant research.” “We are very particular in advocating the true purpose and spirit of this think tank and then we invite very selective people who actually make a difference,” she added. “The ability and willingness of our members to contribute their ideas and research time is as essential as personal CSR, as it is designed to make a difference in the outlook of society through the people who matter. We are confident that we will keep on finding the right like-minded people and this membership will keep on growing. The challenge, however, will remain as to the willingness of all the stakeholders to reinvent themselves as we go along. With more realization featuring in our everyday life due to multiple disruptions resulting in rapid obsolescence of our conventional practices will force the people to revisit their work and personal lives and to come out with strategic revolutionary and more creative steps.” 

Offering details of the upcoming projects, Saira said Innovation Champions Award (ICA), both for the industry and for youngsters, would be launched soon under the umbrella of ICDF. “In addition, we are also working on multiple advisory books and documents which will be published soon. Furthermore, focus group discussions on other sectors will also be conducted whereby we will be highlighting the missing links in the national policies of those sectors and will also provide a thorough diagnosis, recommended solutions along with complete action plans. Apart from these there are lot of other developments which are happening in ICDF and will be shared soon.

 

ICDF in Coming Times – The Future of ICDF 

Saira believes ICDF is a major force and will soon become a game changer in the policy-making arena of the country. “ICDF sees policy making not as documenting the thoughts but characterizing and cascading the new thoughts and becoming embodiment of the same, which is both visible and tangible in their everyday working and personal lives and all the thought processes. Strong advocacy with action based advisory is our challenge, and we have unwavering and doctrinaire commitment to it. All big moves need revolutionary commitment and we are lucky to have it in our core team. So it’s only matter of time that we will start seeing the results in national policy domain.”

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