Enterprise leadership: Catalysing value through innovation

Tuesday, 2 April 2024 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

“Innovation is the commercialisation of invention, it is a tool for business,” opined InQube Global Founder and Managing Director Dilan Gooneratne speaking to an audience of Company Directors and senior corporate executives. Enterprise leadership: Catalysing value through Innovation, organised by the Innovation and Technology Committee of the Sri lanka Institute of Directors (SLID), explored the role innovation can play in deriving a strategic advantage, and the eco-system needed to foster and facilitate innovation in an organisation. 

Gooneratne explained that innovation will facilitate a business to derive a higher order of value and provide the customer a higher economic value, as opposed to focusing on cost reduction and efficiencies. Leveraging on core skills and capabilities, identifying the talent needed, identifying markets where one has an advantage, and focusing time and effort on innovation, are pre-requisites for an organisation to successfully innovate for long term value creation. 

Gooneratne wrapped up his keynote emphasising the need to define clear leadership responsibility for innovation and the presence of a separate structure within the organisation to manage the entire process. He cited the role technology, especially Artificial Intelligence (AI) can play as a lever to create and innovate.

The keynote was followed by a panel discussion moderated by InQube Solutions Senior Vice President Dr. Eshan Dias where the panel delved into the culture and the eco-system required to foster innovation.

Hemas International Business Director Operations and Supply Chain Dilmini Weragama, drawing upon her experience in leading innovation, highlighted the importance of segregating innovation from the core operations. She further clarified that innovation function cannot be managed through the same set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) used to manage the core business as it requires a long-term view and opined that targets should be set differently. 

PickMe Founder and CEO Zulfer Jiffry opined that one must be innovative to innovate and that an organisation should have a pipeline of new projects. Whilst noting that one needs to be comfortable to disrupt one’s own business, he explained the concept of minimum viable product (MVP) where a product or a service will be taken to the market to assess customer reaction with a view of further improving the offering. 

National Innovation Agency Council member Heminda Jayaweera, sharing his experiences in promoting innovation at a national level, argued that Sri Lanka does not have a knowledge issue, rather lacks the know how to innovate. He highlighted the need to bring in resources from outside to facilitate know-how transfer and create a culture of innovation.