Innovation is more urgent than ever. Moreover, it is a timely demand that the seats of higher learning should be conscious of their changing responsibilities. The Postgraduate Institute of Management (PIM), therefore, being aware of the pioneering efforts it has to take, and the lead role it has to play in bringing innovation to the threshold of its activities, took a bold step to form an Innovation Forum.
The forum made its debut at PIM on 10 March. Its immediate objectives were to discuss and deliberate how the rapidly-changing social and financial environments impact our society in general and how academic and professional institutions in particular should accommodate these changes as well as become pacesetters in this complex environment by being innovative in every possible activity.
PIM has almost a singular role to play in this regard, as the country’s premier postgraduate institute, and the initiative it took to form the Innovative Forum was timely. Management, in fact, is a major contributor that impacts the country’s socioeconomic matrix. Therefore, the onus cast on PIM as being the pacesetter, more specifically in business, management and professional education could, indeed, be interpreted as an indirect mandate bestowed on it by society at large. Thus, the newly formed forum heralds a new chapter in PIM’s gamut of activities.
The main objective of this historic event, as spelled out by PIM’s Acting Director Dr. Ajantha S. Dharmasiri, is to collectively brainstorm how to improve PIM by way of differentiating the products of the institute in its teaching process, research endeavours and imparting of knowledge. He said that the initiative taken was in line with PIM’s theme of ‘Igniting Human Imagination’.
Among the many features of this novel event was the presentation made by Prof. Ajith Alwis of the Moratuwa University, on ‘Innovation for Education: What PIM can do differently’. In fact, the crux of the presentation was ‘How to take the PIM forward’.
In a nutshell, the gist of his presentation revolved around the concept that PIM needs to explore ways and means of reaching excellence in whatever it does. Furthermore, Prof. Alwis opined that the institute’s teaching should go hand-in-hand with research, as it is research that feeds and enriches existing knowledge.
The nexus between research and education would, for certain, make PIM’s teaching unique and extraordinary. He stated that education should be a by-product of innovation, invention, creativity and curiosity. According to him, the four ways to identify and define a challenge is by product innovation, process innovation, customer expectations and business models.
The approaches to be followed in this regard are shedding myopic attitudes and encouraging paradigm shifts. For any institute like PIM the means of salvation is through innovation and there’s hardly any other alternative.