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Innovation: The imperative of leadership

It baffles me that a nation like Singapore with no oil, no mineral

resource nor much land could develop into such a huge economy that
is absorbing enormous capital from all over the world.

You will remember that in the early sixties (60s) during the
independence, Nigeria was considered more successful in all
ramifications than Singapore. Nigeria on her part endowed with so
much mineral resources, land, oil and many other gifts from God, not
forgetting the rare population of human resources, have not been able
to attempt such a quantum leap in terms of massive economic
prosperity. We have instead witnessed such a major decline like never
before as a result of huge waste of resources meant for the common
good being channelled into private use and vanities of life.

As I kept thinking about the progress that Singapore has witnessed, I

began to conclude that at the centre of their progress was an
emergence of a leadership that stirred up the spirit of enterprise
among each member of their society. They took their young people and
inscribed in them the sense of urgency of achieving a vision that will
help transform their nation into a wealthy economy where everybody
will benefit. The spirit of enterprise was let loose as necessity is always
known to be the mother of invention.
They stopped talking about their problems and dwelt on how they
could provide solutions and then this birthed a breakthrough of ideas
and innovation that gave them a place amongst the very best in this
our competitive world.

I have watched with interest how so many people that I meet each day
keep complaining about the routine nature of their jobs. The various
job descriptions for different organisations including major Government
agencies and the civil service on their own are a celebration of
boredom and routine.
The very nature of routine destroys the pursuit of productivity. People
on a daily basis continue to churn out results that are not encouraging
in any bit.

We must understand that in these times of uncertainty, only individuals

who set goals clearly, define what they have set to achieve explicitly
and then sit down to strategize on how the processes can be improved
upon to produce a better result can withstand the wave of competition.
Innovation therefore is the missing link between boredom and
The implementation of several Government ideas has always lacked
depth and that freshness of newness. People should just sit down and
engage their thought in such a way that the results turn out differently.

To innovate, involves pain and the truth is that most people run away
from any activity that require them engaging their minds in an intense

You cannot as a leader in your field of endeavour afford to engage your

mind in a sustainable creative way.

Innovation means stepping out of the tradition. It means new ways of

doing things. It means daring to be different. It means the ability to
organize your thought process to enable you bring out a service or
product that can give customers another level of experience.
Innovation requires strategic forgetting of your old failures and just
trying it out again.

Great institutions are products of the celebration of the spirit of

Nigeria must become a nation that has men and women who will look
at government as a place where they can provide the citizens with
services that blow up their minds.

Leaders must be committed to a thinking process that will ignite the

spirit of innovation and creativity within the polity.

Any policies of government must be thought –through before

implementation. I look forward to seeing a Minister of Health for
instance who would organize his directors to sit down and brainstorm
on the various policies of the ministry and come out with
implementation strategies that will not become business- as- usual.
They could generate freshness in the execution of Government
projects. He must become an organizer of men and women in his
ministry and make them become thinkers and then doers. The circle of
action is the word.

As my imagination continues to run wild, I imagined the Ministry of

Health pioneering a consortium of the very best of Nigeria’s
researchers in the medical related fields with the single aim of inspiring
and funding them to begin to search within like never before in
providing solutions; Permanent solutions, cure and generating vaccines
for Malaria, HIV, and the like.
Let it be heard that in Nigeria, solutions were found for issues giving
the world sleepless nights. Imagine for a few seconds that every
institution of Government adopts this innovative technique…..what can
you see?

The strategic pursuit would have to be predetermined with a sense of

stretching an idea until all the benefits gets to the people and this
being the referred Minister’s live obligation.

If this happens, no kobo will be returned as unspent money at the end

of the year and the resources would have been put to good use and
there would not be a place for stealing public funds.

I am determined to create a virus that will infect every Nigerian in

order to help us develop this sense of innovation. Let us get out of the
habit of think-think, plan-plan and seldom –get-around-to-just-doing it. I
am provoking young people to begin to dream of a new Nigeria where
everything works, and I challenge them to put on their thinking hats
and follow through and begin to execute their ideas with precision.

Nigeria is a great nation see you next week.

Linus Okorie, leadership Consultant.

Managing Consultant New vision Consults
President Guardians of the nation International.