Innovation and the digital economy

AT SarawakYES! we’ve been emphasising to young Sarawakians on the need to innovate as it is crucial in both technical and non-technical fields, as well as in entrepreneurship.

With Sarawak committed to achieve rapid development through a digital economy, innovation has become an even more important key in every economic sector not only in ensuring sustainability, but also in contributing to the state’s socioeconomic growth.

As a term, innovation has been described in various ways, but it’s commonly defined as introducing new products or services that create commercial and/or social value not only for end users, but also for companies that develop them.

This can mean executing new ideas for new markets, enhancing existing products and services, or adopting previous innovations to a different industry or geographical segment.

The concept of innovation itself isn’t recent, for certain innovations have come to redefine conventions over the past several millennia, be it the discovery of fire for heat generation or the use of oral and written languages for better communication and record-keeping.

Around the 19th century, at the height of the first Industrial Revolution, innovation brought forth the transformation of processes from hand to machine, modernisation of industries, and increasing utilisation of new energy and resources, which accelerated socioeconomic growth around the world.

Since then, with the rise of consumer culture, more patents, as well as stronger government support and focus on research and development, innovation is recognised as a vital ingredient in driving a nation’s modernisation and digitalisation.

Innovation, therefore, is critical in the digital economy; for Sarawak, this means creating new opportunities and discovering new resources capable of not only modernising economic sectors and boosting economic growth, but also elevating the livelihood of its people.

From a human capital perspective, greater emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM); technical and vocational education and training (Tvet); and information communication technology (ICT) in education will enable Sarawak to build its own highly-skilled workers, who are innovative and creative.

Consequently, opportunities through the digital economy may also encourage more talents to stay and contribute to their home state with their skills and knowledge.

However, take note that innovation doesn’t just involve products and services; it also encompasses systems or processes that help an organisation, such as Toyota’s renowned production system.

Innovation also isn’t limited to within organisations; sometimes it derives from competitors, markets and even different industries, providing room for collaboration.

Essentially, be it a big corporation or a small start-up, innovation takes place everywhere, as long as innovators keep an open mind, ask the right questions, learn from their failures, and remain committed to bringing valuable ideas to life.


This is a weekly column by SarawakYES! – an initiative driven by Faradale Media-M Sdn Bhd and supported by Angkatan Zaman Mansang (Azam) Sarawak – to provide advice and stories on the topics of education and careers to support Sarawakians seeking to achieve their dreams. Join us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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