DID you know that up to 95% of new products fail each year and and reports state that anywhere between 50 to 90% of new businesses fail in the first four years?
Without innovation and the ability to be different, start-ups are unable to find a place in a highly saturated and competitive market or even find a specific target audience to buy into their product or idea.
According to Justin Kan, founder of one of the largest live video platforms in the world with more than 30 million unique users every month, “start-ups don’t die, they commit suicide.”
An American Internet entrepreneur and the founder of Justin.tv, Kan said 90% of start-ups fail because the founders get bored, discouraged and they move on to other things.
In order to curb this from happening to Malaysian entrepreneurs and the start-up industry, Genovasi Malaysia is trying to cultivate young minds to think out of the box and break down barriers.
According to chief inspiration officer Carol Wong, Genovasi is a transformative learning institution with programmes focused on the cultivation of innovation competencies.
“We offer learning experience that focuses on people so that they can learn and use innovation for social inclusion, active citizenship and personal development for future transferable skills to face challenges in life,” she said.
Genovasi sees themselves as the starting point for innovation. They aim to harness talents from various disciplines and backgrounds and provide them with skills that will make them the catalysts for innovation.
Launched by the government to develop 5,000 youths as “innovation ambassadors,” Genovasi — which is a combination of the Malay words generasi and inovasi — aims to progressively train the ambassadors over a five-year period so they can eventually take the lead in spurring progress, a better quality of life and solutions for the nation.
Among the renowned experts and organisations that have come on board to assist and guide Genovasi are shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo, the Hasso-Plattner Institute and its School of Design Thinking, Pearson, Singularity University, Stanford University, The Millennium Project and The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.
“SMEs in Malaysia are facing global challenges. They need to continue to reignite and rejuvenate their product and brand proposition to remain competitive. After all, SMEs are the growth engine of the nation,” said Wong.
The need for design thinking
Even though the term ‘design thinking’ is alien to the laymen, it is a skill that most entrepreneurs have to develop as it describes a repeatable process employing unique and creative techniques which yield guaranteed results — usually results that exceed initial expectations.
“Design thinking looks at innovation through the eyes of the people and teaching the culture and the methods of design thinking to students from various disciplines, Genovasi endeavours to educate the younger generation who are able to empathetically create new solutions for the 21st century,” said Wong.
“This includes a methodological approach consisting of six phases that are run through in an iterative process.”
Wong explained that the process begins with the framing of a design challenge in the form of a question that outlined the problem statement and possible search space for solutions.
The design challenge is developed together with the Outreach Partner. Multi-disciplinary teams aided by coaches and staff from Genovasi will go through iterative processes from understanding to prototyping and testing of innovative problem solutions.
Through their Innovation Ambassador Programme, Genovasi plans to help develop future innovators by rethinking the classroom.
“We are trying to differentiate ourselves from your typical lecture-style classroom. We want to put ideas in motion while working in teams. Lots of idea generation, brainstorming, prototyping and seeing your ideas come to fruition almost immediately.
“To support that, there is plenty of space and boards for all your great ideas. Lots of space for you to work on your prototypes and all the tools and props to bring out the creativity in you,” said Wong.
At Genovasi, they believe they can groom innovators by allowing them to look at things things from a different perspective.
“By looking at things from various angles, one would be able to think through challenges creatively, seeding the innovations that will follow.
“This skill will enable you to solve almost every challenge in a world that is increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous,” explained Wong.
Besides this, the programme is very much people focused and places importance on the end user and what they need to make their experiences better.