With 140 million people under the age of 30, Pakistan is one of the youngest country demographics in the world – with one of the fastest-growing economies in Aisa. As the country experiences population growth, the question is who will employ all these new workers?
Consequently, the potential for entrepreneurship is at an all-time high, based on unprecedented numbers of young people hungry to make their mark on the country’s economy and, indeed, on the needs of their people. The government is paving the way, structuring incubators, and providing incentives in the way of tax relief and other investments in innovation. But how healthy is the innovation landscape in Pakistan? That was the query posed to the UBI Global research team by our valued strategic partner, the PEP Foundation. Our research team was only too happy to answer by combing through the World Benchmark Study 2019 – 2020 and the rich field of data it contains. Before we commence the next iteration of the World Benchmark Study 2021 – 2022, let’s take a look at the innovation ecosystem in Pakistan.
With offices in New York City and Islamabad, the PEP Foundation was founded to ensure the right of every young man and woman in Pakistan to have access to quality higher education. A registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the PEP Foundation has a mission that includes the mandate, “through academic excellence, Pakistan will be able to produce outstanding professionals and leaders and bring economic prosperity to its masses.”
Through our open network partnership with the PEP Foundation, the report studies 74 business incubators and accelerators currently active in Pakistan. Incidentally, 59 of these programs are UBI Global members, and 31 participated in the World Benchmark Study 2019 – 2020. This report includes a snapshot of the state of the country’s economic innovation ecosystem in its entirety, focused on university-based incubators. The report measures the capacity of the existing programs, analyzes strengths and weaknesses in a regional and global context, and provides key takeaways on how to improve, support, and accelerate entrepreneurship.
The business incubators and accelerators in Pakistan, though young, are on par with their regional and global peers as far as providing value for themselves, their client startups, and their local innovation ecosystem. Continuing to assess and benchmark themselves is one recommendation for the programs to further improve their processes and success rate as they continue to serve their client startups. Diversification of the financing structure is another recommendation for the programs in Pakistan, as the programs gain traction they should strive to supplement government support and public funding with revenue from corporate partnerships and alumni startups. For more key takeaways and recommendations, download the report.
Activating Entrepreneurship in Pakistan offers valuable insights for incubator and accelerator managers on best practices in action as well as how to overcome many obstacles faced by programs worldwide. Government innovation seekers as well as researchers, investors, and corporations on the hunt for vibrant ecosystems to form partnerships with will also discover valuable insights within the pages of this report.
Become a member of our innovation intelligence community and interact with the programs featured in the Activating Entrepreneurship in Pakistan report and all over the world! Click here to become a Pro or Premium member to participate in the next World Benchmark Study 2021-2022 – begins Spring of 2021!
Download Activating Entrepreneurship in Pakistan free here!
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The concept of remote work isn’t new by any means, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies had to quickly embrace the concept as the new normal. Almost one year on, and many corporations have made remote working the rule rather than the exception. With one caveat – innovation. Is it possible to innovate without interpersonal interaction or is remote work killing corporate innovation?
The UBI Global community is widely familiar with remote work environments including coworking spaces, WFH concepts, and catalyzing innovation among globally diverse staff, mentors, and partners. This article contains valuable insights gleaned directly from the UBI Global community of business incubators and accelerators on how corporations can keep the innovation flowing in today’s remote working environment.
Interpersonal interactions provide one key ingredient to innovation strategy – focus. Gathering key people from around the world in one room makes it easy to close laptops, turn phones screen down and engage in uninterrupted innovation sessions for at least 30-minute stretches. Not so in the remote working world, where 10 minutes of focus is the most you can hope for by the time the late joiners figure out how to turn on their cameras, or someone else gets an email notification and only appears to be engaged while they answer.
To rekindle that in-person focus, the business incubators and accelerators in our community recommend the following:
– Send an agenda and material to pre-read before the session.
– Book 60-minute sessions only (maximum).
– Target no more than 10 people at a time, breaking out into virtual ‘rooms’ as necessary.
– Request complete focus during the session by shutting off email notifications, stowing devices, etc.
– Make sure everyone participates with their video on, no exceptions.
This approach of making sure that everyone is on board for short bursts of innovation creates that flow missing from interpersonal communication.
While there are many benefits to remote work such as a vastly widened talent base, some interpersonal benefits are lost. In particular, creating social relationships and a trusting environment that, like focus, is essential for innovation. The Allen curve, discovered by MIT professor Thomas J. Allen in the late 1970s, graphically represents the exponential drop in the frequency of communication between engineers as the distance between them increases.
As with many challenges faced today, technology is helping innovation teams overcome the lack of interpersonal communication for innovation. Through communication technology from Hubspot, our community of business incubators and accelerators, as well as their startups, can ensure regular, scheduled, consistent communication with their customer base. Similarly, business incubators and accelerators in our community find that transitioning to an asynchronous communication structure is more conducive to a remote working environment.
What is asynchronous communication? It is based on the principle that not all work happens at the same time. It allows for innovation hubs to communicate, collaborate, and innovate across countries. Asynchronous communication includes all forms that do not occur in real-time, and responses can be intermittent. Some examples of asynchronous communication are:
– Team Communication Technology (i.e. Slack)
– Project Management Tools (i.e. Todoist)
– In-App communication (i.e. comments in GoogleDocs, etc.)
Innovation team members are able to respond to communications via these platforms when they’re available. Collaborators don’t need to be online at the same time or even physically together. When asynchronous communication is the foundation of the innovation process, it enables effective communication across the globe and creates a culture of focused collaboration.
Innovation teams that are highly dispersed around the globe can result in a lost sense of purpose, which is typically driven through strong, interpersonal relationships and direct observation of the impact of your efforts on others, stakeholders, or the ecosystem. While creating a sense of purpose is a challenge in a virtual environment, business incubators and accelerators have excelled at this for quite some time.
A prime example of the programs in our community creating a sense of purpose is the high percentage of alumni mentors and partners within their individual ecosystems. The reason for this is two-fold; one, it can be a requirement of enrollment in the incubator or accelerator, and two, alumni founders understand the value of having a mentor that has had the same experience of founding a startup and want to give back to the program and ecosystem that nurtured them.
Building focus, trust, and purpose through effective, consistent communication isn’t the only talent rampant in the UBI Global community of business incubators and accelerators. The programs also happen to be nurturing some of the most successful startups in the world.
Impactful Collaboration –> This way!
Collaboration with our community is by far the most effective way to ensure success for your corporate innovation team.
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As we move further into 2021, many of us have a lot to be thankful for, having seen some amazing examples of innovation amid the pandemic across industries of all sizes. From new ways to order, deliver, and pay in retail outlets and restaurants to e-learning environments and secure remote working in almost every business, the market was turned upside down and the innovation community reacted. Typically, innovation is the domain of startup companies, so how corporate innovation will succeed this year involves finely tuned innovation intelligence.
Sure, most corporations would tell you that they are going to listen to their customer base, continuously improve their product offering, and drive cost out of their daily operations. The startups redefining and disrupting the market are not even on the radar. Why? The lack of innovation intelligence within the corporation itself. This article aims to give direction to corporate innovation seekers by outlining the basic steps to a successful innovation strategy – Direction, Purpose, Resources, and Collaboration.
This is the beginning of any innovation intelligence; identifying the one important, measurable result needed from the innovation strategy. This is typically a specific revenue number, based on current product offerings and set goals. A challenging, but believable and measurable result, in other words. Then, corporations must be clear about how far they are willing to go to achieve this result. For instance, they are willing to serve a new market but absolutely draw the line at moving from a product-focused company to a service model.
With a direction set and success on the horizon, it would be tempting to just start brainstorming and creating new ideas or paying for a database service to pump out startup companies that might be suitable to build an innovation strategy around. However, without a sense of purpose, a company’s innovation intelligence can wither and die. The purpose is defined by your company’s sustainable competitive advantage. It is what design is to Apple, what logistics is to Amazon, and what R&D and branding is to Proctor & Gamble.
The third necessity to an innovation intelligence strategy is resources. This includes crucial but not necessarily continuous needs such as R&D, marketing, legal services, financial analysis, and IT resources. While many large companies have these resources, often they are tied up in the daily operations and not available to innovation teams on a regular basis. Special consideration should be given when forming an internal innovation strategy so that these resources are on hand.
Ask any company what has changed with the pandemic of 2020 and they may overlook one crucial thing; collaboration. In the pre-pandemic world, many businesses were somewhat insular with regard to external collaboration, especially in regard to innovating new products and services. For 2021 and beyond, the key to successful innovation will be collaborations with external entities to form partnerships that provide knowledge and solve problems in developing new technologies.
Going forward, the trajectory of collaboration will change and adapt to the way corporations search for innovation intelligence. Successful strategies will require a global mindset and a diverse team structure, which many corporations can find difficult to manage. Internal struggles to successfully innovate new, disruptive solutions with meaningful value to the company may kill off any hope of innovation. So what is the long-term collaboration that leads to successful innovation intelligence?
UBI Global is an innovation intelligence company and community of business incubators and accelerators. These programs have large networks of mentors and professionals that pour energy and resources into enrolled startup companies to research and develop the disruptive technologies that impact the world. Our community includes some of the most well-networked, operationally experienced business incubators and accelerators in the world.
These programs are responsible for developing startups that are more successful, with a 5-year survival rate of 59 percent, which outperforms non-incubated startups by 15 percentage points. Moreover, top-performing business incubators and accelerators supported ventures with over $3.2 billion in sales over the past five years.
We are the answer to successful corporate innovation!
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This article may be a bit different from what we would normally share to begin a new year. For instance, we usually lead off the year with an article or two on innovation that would define our world or a specific sector set for disruption. Since the year 2020 was full of nothing but disruption, our focus – and that of the innovation ecosystem – has changed. When the market disrupted for COVID-19, the innovation ecosystem reacted – we like to think of this time as one of reactive disruption.
Necessity, it was said, is the mother of invention, meaning that when challenges arise, people respond with innovative solutions. The past year was a challenge for the entire world and the driving force behind innovation has changed. Now we are witnessing technology itself create social change, invent new products, and construct ground-breaking services to address the new normal.
Without question, the pandemic has increased the adoption of technology, shifting many businesses away from manual systems of any kind. The transformation of mundane, everyday tasks using automation and technology will only increase as people continue to stay home to work, to be educated, and to socialize. The upsurge in technology adoption at every phase of business will spread across sectors, forcing large businesses, governments, and educational institutions to adapt to today’s way of doing business.
Adopted by – videoconferencing, customer service, problem-solving
One of the more popular technologies to rise to the surface during the pandemic is AI or artificial intelligence. Many large companies are reinventing themselves into a human-AI collaborative form, with an Accenture study citing 73% of the companies they surveyed either adopting AI or beginning a test pilot program using the technology.
Already playing a role in finding a vaccine for COVID-19, human-AI collaboration is working in many industries outside the medical field to solve problems, gain insights, and create value. Once predicted to replace human workers, many companies have reacted to the current market by employing AI technology as an assistant for work staff rather than a replacement.
Adopted by – logistics, delivery, safety, and security
This year, we’ve seen robots dispensing sanitizer and testing temperatures before humans are allowed to enter public spaces or board transportation. In 2021, robotics will continue to move away from controlled environments into more mainstream locations. Taking on the responsibility of human safety, the case for robotics will focus on the long-term automated future as well as the short term.
Adopted by – wearable technology, medical systems, entertainment/leisure
Yet another technology to rise to the pandemic’s challenges is the Internet of Things or IoT. Today, we can’t imagine our homes without technology in each room that, in some way, reacts to our needs to make our lives easier. Certainly, the IoT revolution has reshaped modern healthcare systems to be more personalized, diagnosing, treating, and monitoring patients more easily than ever before. Industrial IoT-based solutions are reacting to combat COVID-19 in three key areas including early diagnosis, quarantine timelines, and post-virus recovery.
As we look ahead to the year 2021, we see only positive opportunities across the entire global innovation ecosystem. We would love to share our perspective with your incubator, accelerator, corporation, government, or university.
UBI Global has the capacity to unite the world through impactful collaborations involving corporate innovation seekers, startups, and amazing business incubators and accelerators. Get in touch with us about our latest corporate matching events and activities or to begin your own innovation intelligence journey. UBI Global matches innovation-hungry corporations with impactful, exciting startups, business incubators, business accelerators, and innovation ecosystems around the world!
Click below to schedule a call with UBI Global Innovation Manager Lucas Molin