In­no­va­tion, cat­a­lyst for sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment: aca­demic

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - BUSINESS NEWS -

Alead­ing aca­demic in the coun­try re­cently stressed that more de­ci­sions should be taken from the state side that would em­brace in­no­va­tion, not­ing that eco-in­no­va­tion should be done with a broader mind­set but not sim­ply to make an ex­tra in­come or cap­i­tal.

De­liv­er­ing the key­note speech at the third an­nual gen­eral meet­ing (AGM) of CSR Sri Lanka, Univer­sity of Mo­ratuwa Chem­i­cal and Process En­gi­neer­ing Pro­fes­sor Ajith de Al­wis said that in­no­va­tion is needed for sus­tain­able eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in order to trans­form in­sti­tu­tions, peo­ple and so­ci­ety to bring pros­per­ity to all.

“The world is look­ing at in­no­va­tion – that is to take the econ­omy and com­pa­nies to a dif­fer­ent po­si­tion. De­pen­dency cul­ture should be avoided and it can be done through in­no­va­tion,” he stressed dur­ing his speech ti­tled ‘Sus­tain­able Eco­nomic Trans­for­ma­tion With In­no­va­tion At Its Core’.

He also stressed the im­por­tance of un­der­stand­ing the grow­ing pop­u­la­tion is­sue, re­source crunch, con­cept of qual­ity of life, sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion, sus­tain­able con­sump­tion, sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, pop­u­la­tion, ef­fi­ciency and hu­man health.

“When look­ing at qual­ity of life, you are adding years to life but life should be added to years. We need to shift our fo­cus, doesn’t mat­ter you are fi­nan­cially looked af­ter from an in­sur­ance but can you re­ally be happy?

In our cur­rent eco­nomic sys­tem, you are not well and go­ing to hospi­tal, as long as fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions hap­pen and goes into the books, that is sup­pose to go the gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP), which will be a sub­mis­sion of goods and ser­vices. So our cur­rent way of GDP mea­sure­ment is ac­tu­ally not right, we have to un­der­stand that. It’s not just the ser­vice, you need to see holis­ti­cally to have a so­ci­ety with ful­filled life,” he ex­plained.

He also said that facts such as sci­ence, tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion, the ig­no­rance of the mul­ti­plier ef­fect, so low eco­nom­ics, chang­ing or­gan­i­sa­tional em­pha­sis, sta­ble align­ment to green eco­nom­ics (cir­cu­lar eco­nom­ics), em­bed­ding tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion in plan­ning sce­nario plan­ning (proac­tive than re­ac­tive) should be taken strongly.

He fur­ther noted that the end re­sult of cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity (CSR) should be to make so­ci­ety and en­vi­ron­ment bet­ter and it should be done with a broader mind­set.

Mean­time, when asked if pub­licpri­vate-part­ner­ship (PPP) would be suc­cess­ful when im­ple­ment­ing the prac­tices that were sug­gested, CSR Sri Lanka said that the Sri Lanka In­sti­tute of Nano Tech­nol­ogy (SLINTEC) is a vi­brant ex­am­ple of a suc­cess­ful PPP. They said that this in­sti­tute had upped the num­ber of in­ven­tions Sri Lanka has made.

They also noted that more struc­tural changes need to be done in Sri Lanka in terms of pol­icy and com­mit­ment, not only from the govern­ment side and also from the pri­vate sec­tor and civil so­ci­ety.

Pro­fes­sor Al­wis is also Pro­ject Di­rec­tor at the Sci­ence, Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion Min­istry and has widely con­trib­uted to the knowl­edge of re­shap­ing in­dus­trial pro­cesses to achieve sus­tain­abil­ity.

Pro­fes­sor Ajith de Al­wis

A sec­tion of the au­di­ence PIC BY PRADEEP PATHIRANA

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