“What is the calculus of innovation? The calculus of innovation is really quite simple: Knowledge drives innovation, innovation drives productivity, productivity drives economic growth.” – William Brody (Scientist)
Innovation is the specific function of entrepreneurship. Collaboration is the strength of entrepreneurship. “An entrepreneur is a leader; he sets the pace! An entrepreneur is a thinker; he resets the space!” – thinkUP
“Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new services.” – Joseph Schumpeter (Economist)
Entrepreneurship is a spirit; leadership is its soul while society is its body. Without the spirit, the body is dead! The entrepreneurial spirit which is otherwise known as the spirit of creativity and innovation is the building block of the economy. Without creativity, society will be lifeless and without the force of innovation, the economy will be stagnated.
How can innovation and entrepreneurship help in fostering sustainable development and mitigate society’s grand challenges? How can collaborative research lead to new and better insights? How can researchers maximise their positive impact?
Innovation is the ability to apply creative solutions to problems and opportunities to enhance or to enrich people’s lives. The three pillars of innovation are creativity, necessity and sustainability. Innovation is also commonly defined as the “carrying out of new combinations” that include “the introduction of new goods, new methods of production, the opening of new markets, the conquest of new sources of supply… and the carrying out of a new organisation of any industry.” However, many scholars and governmental organisations have given their own definitions of the concept. Some common element in the different definitions is a focus on newness, improvement and spread.
Sustainable entrepreneurship is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainable development is a joint task for the world community. The three pillars of sustainability are social, economic and environmental performance. Sustainable development is at the mercy of collaborative experimentation (knowledge economy) and production of new products, assets and their attributes, which are intricately related to advances in scientific and technological knowledge.
Creativity is the push for innovation. Necessity is the push for improvement. Sustainability is the push for development. Knowledge is the central source of innovation, improvement and development. Functionally, entrepreneurship is the practice of problem solving, innovation, value-creation, opportunity finding and technology application (PIVOT), for the purpose of impact and profit.
Problem solving – social entrepreneurship
Innovation – knowledge entrepreneurship
Value-creation – economy entrepreneurship
Opportunity finding – business entrepreneurship
Technology application – technology entrepreneurship
It is becoming increasingly evident that we are already in the fourth industrial revolution and the knowledge economy. The former is characterised by the fusion of the digital, physical and biological world, while the latter is characterised by knowledge, information, training and education (KITE).
Essentially, knowledge economy is driven by innovation (investment in knowledge and information), and human capital (investment in training and education). Knowledge economy can be described as an economic system in which the production of goods and services is based principally on knowledge-intensive activities that enhance accelerated advancement in technical and scientific innovation.
Knowledge drives innovation (productivity), improvement and development (sustainability). Unlike the traditionally known four factors of production, namely land, labour, capital and enterprise, which are finite and exhaustible, knowledge is infinite and cannot be exhausted.
In a knowledge-based economy, knowledge plays a major role in development. Knowledge-based economies are founded on increased specialisation, research, innovation and learning. According to the World Bank, there are four pillars of knowledge-based economies, which are education and training, innovation, information infrastructure and institutional regime. Several push factors such as information communication technology (ICT), globalisation and increase in higher education institutions have contributed to growth of knowledge-based economies (KBE).
For instance, with globalisation, knowledge is considered a main driver of growth and the information and communication revolution all of which require an educated population (Mukhwana et al., 2016). One of the characteristics of KBE is the key role of innovation, which comes from both the successful exploitation of research and development (R&D) and from wider forms of innovation as design and development, marketing and organisational change.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a collection of 17 global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.” The SDGs, set in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and intended to be achieved by the year 2030, are part of UN Resolution 70/1, the 2030 Agenda.
The 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) to transform our world are listed below:
Goal 1: No poverty
Goal 2: Zero hunger
Goal 3: Good health and well-being
Goal 4: Quality education
Goal 5: Gender equality
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Goal 7: Affordable and clean energy
Goal 8: Decent work and economic growth
Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Goal 10: Reduced inequalities
Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities
Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production
Goal 13: Climate action
Goal 14: Life below water
Goal 15: Life on land
Goal 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals.
The Integrated Sustainable Development Goals (iSDG) model is a policy simulation tool designed to help policy makers and other stakeholders make sense of the complex web of interconnections between the SDGs. Unlike databases and indexes that provide a measure of where a country stands, iSDG focuses on the dynamic interactions within the SDG system to reveal the best paths and progression towards achieving the SDGs.
For example, a company may provide integrated waste management services and further processes the waste into affordable and environmentally-friendly fuels such as biogas and biomass briquettes. The company may also diversify into the installation and operation of clean power plants, ranging from waste to energy, such as solar, biomass, hydro and wind, as well as climate-smart farming.
Sustainable entrepreneurship lies at the core of solving community dilemmas, developing economically sound environments and creating culturally responsible enterprises.
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