In yesterday’s editorial, we alluded to management genius Peter Drucker’s seminal work, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Principles and Practices”, while exhorting our educators not to dilly dally in introducing the new CAPE subject “Entrepreneurship”.
Today, we publish excerpts from the paper, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship in a Global Economy”, which was published last year in the “Journal of Business Management and Social Sciences Research”. It expatiates on the present understanding of what constitutes “innovation and entrepreneurship” today:
“Wikipedia defines innovation as simply ‘a new way of doing something’. It may refer to incremental, radical and revolutionary changes in thinking, products, processes or organisations. A distinction is typically made between invention, an idea made manifest, and innovation, ideas applied successfully. Peter Drucker viewed innovation as the tool or instrument used by entrepreneurs to exploit change as an opportunity.
“He argued that innovation, as a discipline, is capable of being learned, as well as practised. While he never agreed to a theory of innovation, he realised enough was known to develop it as a practice – a practice based on when, where and how one looks systematically for (innovative) opportunities and how one judges the chances for their success or the risks of their failure.
“From Drucker’s perspective, systematic innovation consisted of the purposeful and organised search for changes, and in the systematic analysis of the opportunities such changes might offer for economic or social innovation.
“Since Drucker’s time, new ideas about innovation have emerged. One researcher referred to “indigenous innovation” – the development of a collective type of learning within the organisation. The strategy driving the innovation, he argued, was set in motion socially rather than process-driven. He believed that the pursuit of innovation required much more than taking up a practical course of action.
“Another offshoot is “disruptive innovation,” which improves a product or service in ways that the market does not expect. Coined in 1995, disruptive innovations are predominantly intimidating to existing market leaders, because they represent competition coming from an unexpected direction. The concept of disruptive innovation carries on a long practice of recognising radical technical change in the study of innovation by economists.
“A little over 200 years ago, French economist JB Say remarked, ‘The entrepreneur shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield’. But, who is this entrepreneur Say speaks of?
In the United States, an entrepreneur was defined as “one who starts his own, new and small business,” although Drucker noted that not every new small business is entrepreneurial or represents entrepreneurship. Also, not every entrepreneurial business is innovative.
Drucker identified entrepreneurs as people who see ‘change’ as the standard, echoing Heraclitus of Ephesus, the Greek philosopher who said, ‘The only constant in life is change’. Entrepreneurs regard change as essential and welcome it as beneficial to the lives of big corporations and small businesses alike.
However, the kind of change implied here, Drucker clarified, is typically not the kind that can be brought about simply by deciding to create it. Rather, it is created by entrepreneurs who actively go looking for existing change in order to exploit it.
One example Drucker presented was the entrepreneurial genius behind the early days of McDonald’s. The truth was Ray Kroc never invented anything. In fact, hamburgers, French fries and soda had been available for years. Kroc simply asked the question, ‘How does our customer define value’? Once he had the answer, he developed, standardised and branded it. That, Drucker believed, represented entrepreneurial instinct at its best. In terms of innovation and entrepreneurship Drucker added, ‘Above all it needs to be based on purposeful information’.”
The truth of the matter is that in Guyana we are only “muddling through” by doing only “what we know”. We have not consciously set out to create individuals who are innovators and entrepreneurs. We must begin now.
Yesterday, there were two articles published together in this newspaper, through pure serendipity: “Local businesses must focus on innovation – GCCI forum hears”, and “Top schools ‘iffy’ about new CAPE subjects rollout…despite Education Ministry’s optimism”. One of the “new” CAPE subjects that is most iffy is “Entrepreneurship”. On one hand, the cry from the business community is “more innovation” and from our education system, there is vacillation on the readiness to teach “Entrepreneurship” in the 6th Forms.
Yet almost 30 years ago, the management giant, Peter Drucker, who was literally worshipped in Japan for providing most of the conceptual tools that made them into economic world beaters, published his seminal work, “Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Principles and Practices”. He outlined the seminal nexus between these two concepts and postulated that unless they were fostered and connected, countries in the 21st century would be unable to lift themselves out of poverty, much less compete in the global economy.
Yet in Guyana, there is lassitude about finally imparting the fundamentals of “entrepreneurship” into the minds of our youth. When the British ended slavery, they introduced an educational system that was designed to keep the descendants of slaves and indentured slaves in an inferior status. We were to be the “hewers of wood and drawers of water” to keep the local representatives of the Empire in comfort, and the plantocracy wealthy.
At the very best we were to be the clerks in the civil service. The economy was kept in the hands of the “agents” based in Britain, which simply sold goods produced in the “Mother Country”. “Business”, to us natives, was simply “buying and selling” – preferably buying from the aforementioned “Mother Country”.
The highest education, as the article on the lagging CAPE introduction pointed out, focused on the Classics – including Latin and Greek. We could not produce a needle, but we could, like Burnham, Guyana’s scholar from Queens in 1942, parse the difference between “casus belli” and “causa belli”.
This mis-education of the natives was part of a deliberate policy that furthered what Dr Walter Rodney and others was to label the “underdevelopment” of the colonies. Generations of the descendants of ex-slaves were blamed for not having a “business head” – even though whatever enterprise they might have had in Africa had been brutally beaten out of them. And the “education” they had to imbibe was intended to make them accept their “lot”.
In the post-emancipation period, their economic progress lagged behind the immigrants who had two advantages: the virtues of deferred gratification and planning for the future, qualities that slavery made ironic, in denying them the right to property. The immigrants had arrived with the conscious drive for economic advancement. Modern African-West Indians to the US, for instance, are as industrious and entrepreneurial minded in their new milieu as any other group.
In the post-Independence era, while the founding fathers recognised the need for “education”, all too often, it was a perpetuation of the old British curriculum. One hundred and sixty years after Queens College was founded, it still teaches French rather than Entrepreneurship. But one will be told that the latter subject will not be taught because it is a “science” school. One is left to ponder the “scientific” content of French.
The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) is one of the most successful institutions to have emerged in the elusive goal of a functional Caribbean unity. Gradually, they have built a most credible reputation on the subjects they introduced at CSEC and CAPE to replace the London GCE “O” and “A” Levels. Their introduction of Entrepreneurship as one of five new subjects including Agricultural Science, Performing Arts, Physical Education and Sport, and Tourism are obviously geared towards making education more relevant to our pressing needs.
We hope the Education Ministry will ensure our schools are ready by the new school year.
There is the cliché, “Sports: it’s not just a game!” The three games played by the Guyana Amazon Warriors during the last week proved in so many ways, that like all clichés, it expresses an almost universal truth. That is why expressions become clichéd.
For such a small nation as ours, commentators of all persuasions have been forced to remark on the deleterious impact of our “divisiveness”. Of recent, there has been greater openness in accepting that our salient cleavage, as far as negative outcomes are concerned, is “ethnicity”. Even those who cleave to ideologies such as Marxism, which denies the “reality” of such divisions and once dubbed it “false consciousness”, have been forced to grapple with its salience.
The question posed is: “What is it that can make us see past our ethnic divisions and begin to act and work as a nation that accepts its fate as the fruits of a collective endeavour?” There have been several proposals – not the least being the said ideologies undergirding the programmes of most of the political parties in the post WWII era and operationalised in their activities in and out of Government. Most kindly, they can all be said to have “failed”.
Like most human behavioural patterns, ethnic salience is not the result of any one factor, and as a corollary, it cannot be addressed through any one “silver bullet”. But what we do know is that ethnicity is an affective orientation – much of its salience is not due to the “rational choice” premise of the social sciences, but also on emotions and feelings. And one of the ways to move past its gravitational pull, without necessarily invalidating its relevance for identity, is to cultivate positive emotions in the populace as a whole, around events that are not tied to ethnicity.
And this is where sport, in general, and cricket, in particular, comes in. Cricket is not a game tied to any one group in Guyana, or even in the wider Caribbean. It is the game of all our people. In that remarkable book of his, “Beyond the Boundary”, CLR James exposed us to the deep and wide wellsprings of the game in our psyches. And during the aforementioned three games at the National Stadium,Providence by the Warriors, the truth of James’ epiphany came alive.
Guyanese of all ethnicities became as one when they cheered, fretted, screamed and waved their flags for THEIR team. They wore the Warriors colours to identify with their talisman. Strangers hugged and gave high fives when victory came; and consoled each other (“they did their best”) when victory was finally denied.
Cricket demonstrated that we can be united. What we would like to suggest is that the Government must design a national sport policy, with cricket at its centre, as an integral part of our overall thrust to create “One People, One Nation, One Destiny”.
While it may be claimed that we do, in fact, have a “sports policy”, in our estimation, as executed in practice, it does not demonstrate adequate acceptance of the vital importance of sport in the holistic development of the individual, the community and the nation. And, especially of its importance in transcending cleavages, of all types. The Football World Cup in Brazil recently demonstrated the effect of another “national sport” in bringing together a nation of 200 million. Imagine what a focused, national programme in cricket can do for us.
One immediate action by a Government pushing cricket in a national sports programme is to make the game part of the school curriculum from nursery to university. As shown by the success of the Limacol Caribbean Premier League (CPL), modern cricket is big business and can be significant contributors to the GDP, as any of the “traditional” industries.
In the language of the economists, the transcendence of ethnic boundaries can eventually become merely a positive “externality”.
In Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist”, the court advises Mr Bumble, “… the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction”. The henpecked husband then blurted out, “If the law supposes that, the law is a ass.” The point being, of course, that sometimes there are people who apply the law contrary to all common sense. With its complaint to the Police about the Minister of Finance on spending “unauthorised monies” the Alliance For Change (AFC) is determined to make the law in Guyana, “an ass”.
This move on their part is very unfortunate since ordinary citizens can easily develop a cynicism about our system of law and order, as they have already done with the political system, after the gymnastics routinely practised, by the Opposition. If the AFC were ignorant, unlettered denizens of the forest – feral or otherwise – they may be excused. But with several aspiring “Senior Counsels” in their leadership corps, their behaviour begs the question as to their motives.
The underlying facts are simple and undisputed. The Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Guyana as specified by the Constitution, brought the Budget known as the “Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure” for the current year, to Parliament at the end of March. These “Estimates of Expenditure” represented the Executive’s projected spending for the year in pursuit of its programme on which it was elected to office.
After the Opposition excised a whopping $37.4 billion from the original allocation of $220 billion, the Minister of Finance immediately signalled that as was done in the previous two years, monies for critical areas that were excised would have to be found. “I can assure that action is imminent… we intend to be guided by the Constitution and statutory provision and by the Acting Chief Justice’s ruling to address the budget cuts and any instance of appropriations being inadequate to meet a public purpose.”
Under Article 218(3) of the Constitution, the Minister has the authority to spend “in excess” of what had been appropriated to meet the aforementioned “public purpose”. In both 2012 and 2013, the Minister had returned to Parliament, spelled out the additional spending and received approval. As the Minister pointed out, “The instrument of the Statement of Excess has been used in the Parliament before, in fact the same Opposition that is now speaking about disrespect for the Parliament and speaking about wanting to make a report to the Police… What they are not saying is that they themselves, in the Parliament controlled by them, have approved previous Statement of Excess; this Statement of Excess going to Parliament is not the first Statement of Excess that has gone to the Parliament, is not the second or third, it is the fourth Statement of Excess to be considered by this Parliament in 2012.”
In addition to the authority conferred by precedence to the Government on “excess spending”, Article 220:1 of the Constitution explicitly provides for the Finance Minister to make advances from the Contingencies Fund if there is an urgent need for expenditure for which no other provision exists. Section 41 of the Fiscal Management and Accountability Act of 2003 gives the Finance Minister the “sole authority” to release monies from the Contingencies Fund.
Even though Latin is no longer taught in Guyana, Guyanese have become familiar with the distinction between “casus belli” – the “occasion for the war” – and “causa belli” – the “real reason for the war”. The AFC and A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) are using the $4.5 billion spent to fund the Government programmes chopped by them from the Budget to simply justify the declaration of war to oust the Government through their threatened “no-confidence” motion.
But they did not have to go through all this rigmarole: they always had that option. They are simply trying to justify their politics of expedience, even if it makes the highest law of the land, “an ass”.
Friday marked the second anniversary of the Opposition-sponsored protests in Linden that saw their Leaders encouraging Lindeners to illegally occupy the critical bridge connecting the coastland to the interior, and in effect, cutting off that region from the rest of the country.
This was the conclusion of the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) that investigated the protests, which resulted in the deaths of three protestors after billions had gone up in smoke – including the largest primary school in the region – and business in the community had ground to a halt.
That CoI was assembled at great cost to this country. The government acquiesced to the opposition’s demand for a dominant foreign component. The chairman and two of the commissioners were eminent jurists from the Caribbean Community (CariCom). The government went along because they wanted justice not only to be done, but for it to also be seen as done.
It is critical that Guyanese remember the conclusions about what can only be described as an Opposition “Day of Infamy”, so that present-day efforts of that same Opposition to repeat it are rejected.
The CoI explained the genesis of the illegal protests. “The Lindeners applied to the appropriate regional police authority for permission and received same with conditions attached to ensure that the rights of the citizens were balanced. The evidence revealed that the conditions were breached and therein was the birth of the ensuing problems.”
The CoI was not shy about naming the Opposition instigators for “breaching” the law. “It is noteworthy that a Member of Parliament (Desmond Trotman) who was at the scene on July 18 when much of this was taking place or had already taken place stubbornly refused to accept that the protesters had resorted to unlawful means to carry out what would otherwise have been a lawful endeavour.”
APNU Member of Parliament and Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon and another APNU Member of Parliament Vanessa Kissoon, admitted that they knew they were encouraging protesters to do something illegal.
Yet, “both Assistant Superintendent Walter Stanton and Senior Superintendent Clifton Hicken testified that they approached Aubrey Norton, Lincoln Lewis and Kissoon to have the protesters leave the bridge, but without success. Assistant Superintendent Stanton further stated that he overheard the activists, Norton, Kissoon and Dr David Hinds, encouraging the protesters to remain on the bridge as it was a just cause.”
The CoI had no hesitation in concluding bluntly: “The organisers of the protest must accept some responsibility for what subsequently transpired on July 18, 2012.” And yet, just two years later, as if the entire nation is suffering from collective amnesia, the Opposition are trumpeting tributes to “the Linden Martyrs” without even a passing reference to their seminal role in the tragedy.
The role of the Police was also examined, especially after the Chairman of the AFC, in his role as a lawyer for some of the relatives of the deceased, claimed that the Minister of Home Affairs had given instructions directly to the police, prior to the shootings. In reference to those shootings, the bullets that killed the three men were proven by an independent expert, brought in by the AFC, not to be of the type used by the police. There wasn’t even circumstantial evidence for proving the police’s “guilt.”
But in what appears to be an act of mercy for the deceased the CoI, not bound by the strict rules of a court of law, said the police were “responsible” only because they could not find evidence of any other persons firing guns. In this way, the state could provide compensation to the survivors and estate of those killed, which it did.
But the AFC, which was the original instigator of the Linden tragedy, has not learnt anything. It went on to provoke riots in Agricola and most recently protests by rice farmers in Essequibo. Let us not forget the lessons of history.
Guyana is desperately in need of a National Youth Policy that would respond to the challenges facing youth here, while creating opportunities for them to further transform their lives through equitable access to education, housing, health services and economic opportunities.
This policy is the missing link between the state of hopelessness that is hovering over youth and their ability to make more meaningful contributions to the growth and development of Guyana.
Any procrastination on the part of the Executive and Legislature in advancing such a policy is almost criminal. No excuse is sufficed to justify a delay in producing a hallmark policy that has the potential to tackle youth crime and violence, the needs of differently able youth, unemployment and social-ills.
As a matter of fact, the report of the Caricom Commission on Youth Development, “Eye on the Future: Invest in Youth Now for the Community tomorrow”, states that there is an urgent need for governments to respond to the school dropout rate which was at “a staggering height”.
It noted that youth unemployment and joblessness remain high, at a rate of 23 per cent, when compared to other developed countries. It advised too that urgent focus should be placed on the involvement of youth at all levels of the decision making strata, through a well-formulated policy.
There have not been much statistics available about the circumstances under which youth exist here, and it is hoped that the just concluded National Population Census will dedicate parts of its overall report to this area.
Culture, Youth and Sport Minister, Dr Frank Anthony has promised to deliver such a policy to thousands of Guyanese youth time and time again, but is yet to do so.
There can be no rational excuse for the Culture, Youth and Sport Ministry failing to produce a document it has been working on for more than six years.
It should be noted that the finalisation and consultations of the National Development Strategy, the National Competiveness Strategy and the Low Carbon Development Strategy, together, took less time, compared to the National Youth Policy which is still incomplete.
In 2011, the Minister announced the commencement of countrywide consultations on the document to meet the changing socioeconomic circumstances facing Guyanese youth.
These consultations and distribution of 2500 questionnaires concluded about three years after, but all the Minister is saying is that the document is being completed. One wonders what is causing the delay.
It is situations like these that jeopardise the outstanding work done by the Government over the last 22 years to advance the interests of youth in the areas of health, education and sport.
It also sends the wrong message to young people who have been eagerly awaiting the impact of Government policy that would have emanated from their direct input.
In 2014, youths want to redefine the role they play in the world through Information and Communication Technology (ICT), science and research, social media and sport. Such a policy, which could be revised every two years, could provide them the platform to grow and advance in this regard.
Other problems such as juvenile delinquency and the emergence of a new cadre of youth criminals could be effectively tackled through prudent planning at the community level. Issues related to domestic abuse, rape, incest and teenage pregnancy are also matters which should be adequately dealt with in this document.
Guyana has to become the guiding light for the other Caricom countries and South American neighbours. It must advance the best National Youth Policy to further advance the spirit and aspirations of young Guyanese, who are already making sterling contributions to the world over.
President Donald Ramotar, who has the overwhelming support of Guyanese youth, can ill-afford to allow the implementation of a National Youth Policy to be an opportunity missed and squandered during his tenure in office.
It is time he intervenes, and brings the long overdue visionary and guiding document to fruition.
A new report launched last week by UN SecretaryGeneral Ban Ki-moon points to the fact that millions of people’s lives have improved due to concerted global, regional, national and local efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which serve as the foundation for the next global development agenda.
The MDGs report is based on comprehensive official statistics andprovides the most up-to-date summary of all Goals and their targets at global and regional levels, with additional national statistics available online. Results show that concentrated efforts to achieve MDG targets by national governments, the international community, civil society and the private sector are working to lift people out of extreme poverty and improve their futures.
Increasing access to improved drinking-water sources, improving the lives of slum dwellers and achieving gender parity in primary school, many more targets are within reach by their 2015 target date. The world will likely surpass MDG targets on malaria, tuberculosis and access to HIV treatment, and the hunger target looks within reach.
Big MDG gains continue. For example, over the past 20 years, the likelihood of a child dying before age five has been nearly cut in half, which means about 17,000 children are saved every day. Globally, the maternal mortality ratio dropped by 45 per cent between 1990 and 2013.
Antiretroviral therapy for HIV-infected people has saved 6.6 million lives since 1995, and expanding its coverage could save many more. Between 2000 and 2012, an estimated 3.3 million deaths from malaria were averted due to substantial expansion of malaria interventions. Since 1995, efforts to fight tuberculosis saved an estimated 22 million lives.
Guyana has made tremendous gains in achieving the MDG targets. This country has advanced in its efforts to reduce hunger, increase access to social services and benefits, improve enrolment in and completion of primary education, increase empowerment of women and achieve environmental sustainability.
There is still a need for more concerted efforts to be made on all fronts in confronting the challenges we face in relation to the other MDGs. The prospects of achieving all the MDGs will be vastly improved with the sustained economic growth and its effects on household income, revenue generation and public expenditure outlays. The broader political climate will remain critical in creating a conducive environment to encourage greater capital investment in the country and slow down the outward migration of critical professional and technical skills.
Some MDG targets related to largely preventable problems with available solutions, such as reducing child and maternal mortality and increasing access to sanitation, are slipping away from achievement by 2015.
Since 1990, 2.3 billion people have gained access to an improved drinking water source. Over one-quarter of the world’s population has gained access to improved sanitation since 1990, yet one billion people still resort to open defecation. Therefore, much greater effort and investment will be needed to alter inadequate sanitation facilities.
In relation to maternity deaths, worldwide, almost 300,000 women died in 2013 from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Most pregnant women in developing regions see a skilled health provider at least once, but only half get the recommended four antenatal check-ups. Of note too is that preventable conditions, such as diarrhoea and pneumonia, are the main killers for children under age five.
In 2012, an estimated 25 per cent of children under age five were stunted — having inadequate height for their age. While this is a significant decline from 40 per cent in 1990, 162 million young children still suffer frompreventable, chronic under-nutrition.
With the targets for the MDGs set to conclude at the end of 2015, UN member states are in the midst of considering a broader set of goals to follow that are likely to be agreed by world leaders in September 2015. We are in agreement with the report’s conclusion which states: “Continued progress towards the MDGs in the remaining year is essential for what comes next.”