The World Innovation Forum Kuala Lumpur 2012 is an eagerly awaited climax to a list of activities that MOSTI (Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation) and Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia (YIM) have carried out throughout the year. Jointly organised by both bodies, WIF-KL is set to clear a place for Malaysia on the global innovation stage. The forum will be held from 5 to 7 Nov at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
WIF-KL is an evolution of the past KL Innovation Forum series that was held in 2010 and again last year. The idea was to bring together relevant groups of people to discuss cutting-edge innovations in technology, where the results can act as commendations for the government in terms of policy and implementation related to innovation.
Among the activities that WIF-KL will act as a culmination of is the Jejak Inovasi series of innovation-driven trips to rural areas that aim to promote awareness and shine a spotlight on our own backyard inventors, and the KidsInvent programmes that encourage children at a primary-school level to understand mathematics and science through interactive challenges.
Overall, WIF-KL will present four core and nine satellite events, including the Bio Malaysia Conference 2012, Nano Malaysia Conference 2012, the Asia Grassroots Innovation Design Competitions and Forum, and the International Symposium on Fostering Innovation in Developing Countries.
Celebrating Expertise: MOSTI and YIM are working diligently to make this event not just a success, but impactful on the geography of innovation in Malaysia.
“The theme that we are looking at this year is inclusive innovation,” says Muhammad Aziph Mustapha, Acting CEO/COO of YIM. “We are used to hearing about innovators based in laboratories, but we also want the grassroots innovators, the youth and the general public to get involved.”
The organisers have taken several steps to make this idea come to life. On the first two days of the exhibition, there will be three dialogue sessions and a think tank session, all peopled by distinguished experts and experienced practitioners in fields as varied as communications and market research.
“We are excited about the roundtable think tank session,” Aziph reveals. The session will be held on 5 Nov, facilitated by Dr Manoj Menon, Partner and Managing Director at Frost & Sullivan. There will be 10 separate tables consisting of 10 experts each set in the same area with their own audience.
The concept for this form of discussions was put forth in consultation with Frost & Sullivan, as it would increase interactivity and create an environment of receptivity and active connectedness. “It might get a bit noisy,” Aziph admits.”But this is a concept that can really engage people, both the participants and the audience. At the end of the day, we want these people to sign off on a charter on innovation that will be developed after the discussions have been completed.”
Throughout the two days there is an impressive line-up of distinguished thought leaders to lead the dialogues; among them Sir James Dyson, Founder of Dyson Inc. US; David Frigstad, Chairman of Frost & Sullivan US; Wing K. Lee, CEO of YTL Communications Malaysia; Thomas Heatherwick, Founder of Heatherwick Studio UK, and Professor R.A. Mashelkar, President of Global Research Alliance, India.
Strategic Events: Malaysia’s premier biotechnology event, Bio Malaysia Conference and Exhibition 2012, will be an important component of WIF-KL. Organised by Biotech Corp and involving more than 350 leading corporations, research institutions, universities, government agencies and prominent individual researchers, BioMalaysia serves as a place where investors and developers are introduced to potentially beneficial partnerships and new technologies.
The Nano Malaysia Summit 2012, under the aegis of MOSTI, will be running at the same time. With much the same programme as BioMalaysia, Nano Malaysia aims to bring together local companies, big corporations and investors in the nanotechnology industry, as well as promote awareness of nanotechnology and its usefulness to the general public.
WIF-KL does not stop there though – on the second day, there will be a super plenary session involving the participants of the Nano Malaysia Summit and the BioMalaysia Conference as well as professionals from various fields attending WIF-KL to discuss the impact and potential of the science industries when it comes to innovation and commercialisation.
Local Focus: While WIF-KL intends to play a significant role on the global innovation stage, it is also adamant in promoting awareness of the local invention scene. On the final day of the forum, a market open day will be held to display the inventions that were discovered on the various Jejak Inovasi Programmes carried out throughout the year. Five innovations with the greatest potential and applicability from each Jejak Inovasi Programmes will be displayed, and the inventors will be given the opportunity to pitch their creations to a room full of potential investors, developers and purchasers.
“People in the outskirts, the rural areas that we go to – they don’t really care about commercialisation,” Aziph says, citing a villager who created a saxophone out of bamboo to fulfil his passion to play one, and an old plastic gasing maker who looked to the surprising material to create a safer and more stable gasing for children to play with. “We feel that their creations are of value, because no one else has done it before. It’s unique and innovative, and they each have the potential to put Malaysia on the map.”
The gala dinner held on the 6 Nov will also be a stage to hand out major innovation-related awards like Anugerah Inovasi Negara, C1PTA 1 Malaysia Awards, National Young Scientist Awards, National Technologist Awards, and the 5th Biotechnology Innovation Awards.
Engaging the Youth: The National Young Scientist Award will not be the only time that the youth will be involved in WIF-KL. Together with their strategic partners from MyHarapan youth trust foundation, the forum will be hosting a youth-specific dialogue session on the second day to discuss issues that affect innovation amongst the youths and ways that young people can play a role in nation building efforts.
For youngsters, the KidsInvent finale would be a great draw. “It is difficult to attract the younger crowd to these sorts of forums,” acknowledges Aziph. “But we’ve been working on it throughout the year with our regional KidsInvent workshops that involve school-going children between the ages of five and 12. Not only have we spread awareness, but we’re making sure that the kids are involved in the finale at WIF-KL.
“We’ll be flying down three of the best students from each workshop that we’ve carried out, together with their parents and their teachers, so that they will be able to take part in the finale in KL no matter where they’re from.”
A Platform for the Future: The forum will act as a platform for much anticipated business opportunities, as it makes potential investors aware of a much wider source of innovation than before. Aziph is counting on the forum to at least open the market to grassroots research as a source of innovation.
“What we hope to achieve at the end of WIF-KL is to create the awareness that Malaysians are creative and innovative,” says Aziph. “We want to allow a mindset change to take seed that innovation isn’t just about developing patents, but about simple ingenuity as well.
“We hope that WIF-KL will act as a spearhead to grow our country through innovation.”