How to Create a Culture of Innovation in a Volatile World

International Conference on Advanced Materials Science & Engineering and High-Tech Device Applications (ICMATSE)

Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey

27-29 October 2022


Innovation is a vital key for human progress in a world dominated by high tech and increasing volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. This is particularly important in research and development across the globe. Dr N. Ali in his virtual address spoke about the importance of learning to innovate to solve world problems, such as climate change, energy crisis, poverty alleviation, pandemics, health, and education.

There is a growing need to support researchers to translate lab-research to the marketplace (L2M). A culture needs to be created in academic institutions where young researchers are guided and encouraged to consider entrepreneurship using their innovative research and advanced technologies.

We must innovate to solve global problems. Innovations allow us to be better prepared to meet the sudden challenges of this volatile world (ever-changing). The pandemic has made humans more innovative in functioning under extreme conditions (lockdowns) by being able to work remotely from home, home-schooling, communicating with each other using technology, virtual meetings, and collaborations.


How do you innovate?

  1. Make a list of ideas – come up with as many as possible. Set aside 15 minutes and just write down everything that comes to mind on the topic.
  2. Rank your ideas in terms of applicability and benefits.
  3. Decide on the top 3 ideas that you will implement immediately
  4. Write down the next 3 steps for these ideas
  5. Take the first steps right now – act immediately.


What are the differences between novelty’ and ‘innovation?

Novelty is simply an incremental change to an existing product designed to help companies differentiate their products from the competition. Innovation is about creating shifts in consumer behaviour or shaking the foundations of industries. If you learn to innovate well, you could become a ‘trailblazer’ and a ‘game changer’.

Dr Ali spoke about the discoveries of C60 buckyball molecule (Prof. H. W. Kroto et al), Graphene (Prof. Andre Geim et al) and the development of novel polymer-based nanocomposite materials (Prof. A. Seifalian et al) used for fabricating artificial human organs. The two discoveries (C60, Graphene) led to receiving the Nobel Prizes. Some of these discoveries were made using very simple and cheap equipment – scotch tape for the discovery of graphene. Even with simplicity you can innovate and make big impact on society.

Most researchers in academic institutions aim to publish a couple of papers in peer reviewed journals during their PHD thesis on novel aspects of their work. Publishing work is a good way to create impact, however, unfortunately this is a slow process and mostly the society does not read the papers. Even entrepreneurs don’t always read such publications.


How do you create a culture of innovation?

It’s imperative to work together, collaborate and to share experiences. Collaborations bringing together people with different strengths, backgrounds and expertise generate ‘better’ or ‘best’ ideas (result of great minds working together).

Researchers working in labs encounter many problems which they must solve to proceed with their work and projects. Many of the solutions to the daily occurring problems in the labs could be ‘inventive steps’ without one realising it.

Collaborations allow people to share their experiences leading to more innovations. As more and more people share experiences, we build up momentum that would make an impact and result in more innovations. This will be the key to creating a culture where everyone will be pulled into focusing on ‘innovation’ only.

Posted by ypsociety