Pakistan Innovation Foundation (PIF) - Concept Note


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Pakistan Innovation Foundation is a private-sector driven, publicly supported, non-profit entity created to promote innovation within the private sector but also the broader society.

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Pakistan Innovation Foundation (PIF) - Concept Note

  1. 1. The Pakistan Innovation Foundation1 (PIF) A Concept Note By: Athar Osama2, PhD1) The RationaleThe Pakistan Innovation Foundation (PIF) is being proposed to promote the cause of science and innovation inPakistan. In particular, PIF is conceived as an apolitical and non-partisan private-sector driven entity charged todevelop and execute an analytically rigorous, evidence-based, and deeply passionate agenda to promote science,and science-based innovation and entrepreneurship in the Pakistani society.The PIF will seek to address a number of cross- cutting themes across a range of different issues that affectscience and innovation in the country in an integrated and holistic manner. These include, among others: 1. Review and overhaul of science and innovation policies, infrastructure, and funding structures within the country; 2. Seizing the demographic dividend through investments in human capital, including STEM, higher education, and research capacity; 3. Need for a society-wide campaign to promote a scientific culture that promotes rational and critical thinking; 4. Re-energizing the country’s science establishment through the creation of a national vision, a social contract, and mission-driven and goal-oriented research; 5. Creating a playing field and a platform for greater private sector participation in science and innovation including opening up for private sector participation the as yet inaccessible areas;Above all, PIF will seek to create a genuine national dialogue on science and innovation across the countryinvolving key stakeholders across the sectoral divide – such as government, businesses, industry, and academia –as well as individuals, civil society actors, and political forces of all types and persuasions. Only through anextensive and structured dialogue could a “social contract” be established between the scientists-innovators andthe citizens-taxpayers and Pakistan could develop a robust policy and culture for science and innovation and hopeto transform itself – in due course – into a knowledge-innovation economy of the 21st century.Realising the above aspirations will require the efforts of an impartial, methodical, and passionate nationalchampion for innovation. PIF is being created to fill that void in the Pakistani society.2) The ObjectivesTo that end, The PIF will seek to: 1. Develop and execute a programme of awareness activities aimed at highlighting successes and creating role models for promoting science, technology, and innovation in Pakistani society; 2. Become the lead champion and advocate for innovation through awareness building, agenda setting, and lobbying across government, academic, and private sectors; 3. Support and carry out a national programme of research and analysis to map innovative trends, identify gaps, undertake international benchmarking, and develop national best practices in Pakistani science and innovation landscape;1 This document is a work in progress and is for the use of the intended recipient(s) only. If you have received this in error,please notify the sender and delete it. Please refrain from sharing it without the express permission of its author.2 Dr. Athar Osama is the Country Lead – Pakistan and lead author for Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation (AIWSI).He is also the Founder of Pakistan Research Support Network and Muslim-Science.Com, and Founding Partner and Directorof Technomics International Ltd and Technomics Media Ltd. He can be reached at:© Copyright – Technomics International, 2004-2012 [1]
  2. 2. 4. Raise private, public, and donor support for implementing its programmatic agenda by forging partnerships, bridging the “trust deficit”, creating credible execution capability, inspiring better performance from existing entities, and setting up thematic innovation centres and demonstration projects; 5. Convene key stakeholders from private, public, and academic sectors through events, workshops, training programmes, and conferences to build capacity and create a shared vision for innovation within the country; and 3) Intended Structure While the organisation will start by focussing on its Awareness and Advocacy functions, it will seek to create partnerships with entities inside and outside of Pakistan to achieve the plethora of objectives identified above. The following is the “intended” organisational structure of PIF to be achieved within a 3-5 years timeframe. International Advisory Global Alliances Council (IAC) Pakistan Innovation Foundation (PIF) National Innovation National Partnerships Advisory Board (NIAB) Innovation Fellows PIF Executive Team (fPIF)Special Initiatives Awareness and Research on Innovation Support Specialist Advocacy Innovation (Triple Helix) Innovation Centres University Innovation Thematic Innovation Research Centres Centres Figure: “Intended” Organisation Structure of Pakistan Innovation Foundation (PIF) PIF will execute upon its objectives with the help of a funded Secretariat housing PIF’s Executive Team and a ‘voluntary’ Council of Innovation Fellows elected as Champions of Innovation from across the entire spectrum of areas of Pakistani society. Three particular elements of this organisational structure merit explanation:  Research On Innovation – Research on Innovation relates to a centre (or centres) of research on innovation established at a university (or a network of centres established at a number of universities) carry out research on innovation happening in Pakistan. By carefully documenting and analyzing innovation, these centres will contribute towards dissemination, adoption, adaptation, and replication of innovation across a variety of sectors in Pakistan.  Innovation Support – Innovation Support Units will be set up across various industry sectors (such as chemicals, textiles, pharmaceutical, sports goods, engineering, fan manufacturing, etc.) that will involve stakeholders from across the triple helix (industry-university-government) and will seek to upgrade innovative capacity across these sectors through creation of innovation roadmaps and implementation of innovation projects. It is expected that these units will through the value of their services create their own constituency within due-course and will become sustainable through funding by relevant industry players. © Copyright – Technomics International, 2004-2012 [2]
  3. 3.  Specialist Innovation Centres – In due course, PIF will also seek to establish dedicated innovation centres in a few strategic areas such as climate change, “bottom of the pyramid” innovation, etc. where such capacity already does not exist or is sub-critical and PIF’s intervention will build critical capacity and likely to deliver an impact.In the initial year(s), though, PIF will primarily focus its energies on awareness building, advocacy, and fundraisingto position itself to implement more substantive initiatives in subsequent years.4) Strategic Partnerships and AlliancesPIF is essentially a thought leadership and collaborative platform that will create and broker partnershipsbetween the triple helix to support innovation within the society. To that end, it will seek to establishpartnerships with entities such PBC, HEC, MOITT, FPCCI, APTMA, CSF, UNDP, UNIDO, OPEN, TiE, MIT EFP,Chambers of Commerce and Trade Bodies, donor community, and universities and research institutions, etc.A strategic partnership with PIF will create a “win-win” scenario that will allow its partners to position themselvesas a progressive force for innovation and modernisation in Pakistan.The proposed strategic partnership will commit Partners to:  To lend their name and credibility to PIF’s broader agenda and to its programmes on either on a blanket or “case-by-case” basis;  Provide guidance and advice – as members of the Advisory Board of the PIF – on an ongoing basis as well as on specific programmes;  To support PIF’s efforts to raise funding for its programmes and activities by making introduction to and convincing their memberships and affiliated organisations to become partners and sponsors of PIF programmes;  To support an innovation agenda among its own member companies (and beyond) as a means to create role-models for Pakistani businesses to emulate;In addition to Strategic Partners, individual organisations will be able to contribute and benefit from PIFprogrammes through Sponsorships. PIF also hopes to create an a super structure that will allow interestedindividuals to engage with its programmes and activities in various capacities such as “Fellows”, “Associates”, and“Supporters” thus moving the cause of innovation forward in Pakistan.5) The Way ForwardPIF will spend its formative year creating a credible platform and execution capability for follow-on growth,launching and disseminating the ideas and ideals about its core-objectives, building partnerships and allianceswith key stakeholders, and working with government, universities, and private sector to promote a nationalinnovation agenda. In the longer-run (3-5 year timeframe), PIF seeks to create a self-sustaining virtuous cycle ofinnovation support within Pakistani society in which various actors see value – and are willing to pay – for thecritical service that it delivers. This would ensure that innovation becomes a mainstream profit-enhancing activitythus opening it up for private sector participation.The first year’s plan of activities would include a series of low cost but high impact activities designed to buildinitial credibility with stakeholders. This could be achieved through mix of voluntary and funded support. It is mybelief that quite a lot can be achieved through minimal funding for centralised initiatives to be generated throughlocal partners and sponsorships. This will establish a track record and a credible capability to deliver which couldthen become the basis for a fundraising activity for a fully developed strategic plan – with a number ofdecentralised / distributed initiatives such as Research Centres and Innovation Centres (as outlined in the plan) –in subsequent years. It is our belief that the PIF will require 3-5 years of external funding support and couldachieve sustainability (through self-generated funds) in due course.© Copyright – Technomics International, 2004-2012 [3]