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Promoting innovations culture

It is beyond any doubt or argument that innovation and research have emerged as the driving force for economic development. The current progress in the developed nations is the glaring manifestation of this argument. As far as the case of Pakistan is concerned, vigorous efforts though are being made to introduce innovation economy, yet the international indicators are not satisfactory. In fact, the country is yet to see the dawn of culture of innovations. Most recently, the Global Innovation Imperative for the year 2015 ranked Pakistan at the 131st position out of 141 world countries. Different indicators like institution, human capital & research, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, knowledge & technology outputs and creative outputs categories posted very dismal performance. Comparative studies suggest that Pakistan’s performance and policies are consistently poor with regards to sustainable development, innovation as well as human capital and research. Human capital and research area covers education, tertiary education and research & development sub-sets with indicators such as expenditure on education, school life expectancy, tertiary enrollment, university ranking and expenditure on R&D that need to be focused with reshuffled priorities on the part of decision makers. The ground situation is entirely different as despite individual and private level efforts to improve the country’s ranking in innovation sector, government policies are not helping much to improve the situation. But this target could be achieved only through educated and skilled workforce. Lack of innovative spirit in public and private enterprises is not just a matter of insufficient resources or ill-conceived policies but more of an un-supportive culture. In the absence of R&D culture where private sector shies away from investment, government needs to step in to bring transformation at least as a spark plug. Despite previous failures, it critically needs to develop an industry-university R&D alliance and make efforts at government to identify areas of pre-eminence. Similarly, the academic research and its practical applications should be developed in harmony with collaborative efforts, especially in the context of a resource scarce economy like Pakistan. These targets can be achievable if official priorities are reshuffled to shift the emphasis from theory to practicality. At this critical stage, what the country needs is to just to make a set of effective policies to ensure that innovations culture is promoted, innovations are commercialized and economic benefits on innovations are secured through implementation of relevant laws. If focused and serious efforts not made at government level, the promotion of innovations culture would remain a distant dream.
 

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