TODAY the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) celebrates its 150th anniversary since its establishment. May 17 was designated as World Telecommunications and Information Society Day (WTISD). The theme for this year is Telecommunications and ICTs: Drivers of innovation
While telecommunications/ICTs are tools used to provide services and enhance development in the traditional way, they can and are being used also to drive innovation.
Developing countries such as Guyana, by and large, are users and consumers of goods and services. There is no doubt that we need to be more creative and innovative, as such activities boost development rapidly. I strongly believe that we are as creative and innovative as people in the developed world, so we can compete with them in this area. Telecommunications and ICTs, as the theme suggests, can be used to drive and enhance our innovation.
Innovation does not happen in a vacuum. Information, Knowledge and confidence/belief in oneself, all contribute to boosting this activity.
Telecommunications and ICTs provide the ideal platform to improve access to information, which in turn increases our knowledge and boosts our confidence to venture on innovative and creative pursuits. For example, the Internet provides us with vast amounts of information which we would not have been able to access ordinarily. Information on such things as patents, (existing, pending and expired) and on how things work, are available at the click of a mouse.
There are several organisations that work with persons, who have creative ideas, to develop patents and products. One such body is the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardisation Sector (ITU-T). Aspiring innovators with access to the Internet can interact with the ITU-T, opening up opportunities that can see ideas developed into patents.
Anyone involved in creation and innovation would confirm that feedback from persons (especially the groups that the innovation targets) is vital to ensuring a workable and successful product. Social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram are ideal for brainstorming, crowdsourcing and feedback on ideas.
Financing for innovation is also very important. The Internet can be used for quickly linking prospective innovators with sources of funding. One example is ITU’s Young Innovators Competition, which can provide an ideal opportunity to source funding to develop new and innovative ideas.
The above are just a few examples of how telecommunications and ICTs can facilitate and drive innovation. There are many more. This is an area in which we need to focus on more.
As we celebrate WTISD 2015, I take this opportunity, on behalf of the National Frequency Management Unit, to extend congratulations and best wishes to the ITU on its 150th anniversary. We look forward to continue partnering with the ITU and other member states in achieving the laudable objective of connecting all the World’s people.
I also extend best wishes to fellow Guyanese and encourage our current and aspiring innovators to use telecommunications and ICTs to enhance and drive their creativity.
Happy World Telecommunications and Information Society Day 2015.
National Frequency Management Unit