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Growth & Jobs | Entrepreneurship and innovation: The greatest enablers to economic growth

Published:Tuesday | April 9, 2019 | 12:08 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

With a platform designed to connect global investment, innovation and influence, transformative growth ideas designed to connect global investment were untapped during the recently held ‘Destination Experience Visionaries Summit’ at the Spanish Court Hotel in St Andrew.

With a stellar line-up of tastemakers, influencers, and captains of industry, the backdrop was laid for a stimulating exchange in a unique environment, including the exchange of transformative ideas, knowledge and resources.

One of two keynote speakers, Linda Hill, professor of business administration, Harvard Business School, encouraged companies to build success through innovation, and tap into their organisation’s collective genius. Leaders, she said, should structure their organisations to come up with visions and objectives that will set the company’s direction.

“If you see your role as a leader as being the person who has to come up with the great vision for innovation and get people to follow you, then you set things up around your vision and how you are going to get that done,” Hill said.

“What I see happening in companies that are able to innovate and really sustain their success, is that they have broadened their notion of what innovation is about and who can participate in it. As such, they have built an organisational context that allows people to be willing and able to engage in innovation processes,” she added.

Sterling Hawkins, global leader on innovation and transformational leadership, is an avid believer that entrepreneurship and innovation are the greatest enablers of economic growth and development.

Hawkins indicated that with more than 1,000 innovative technologies, such as robots, drones and artificial intelligence, organisations can actively shape the future in a number of global markets by helping others create and respond to innovation in a way that improves businesses, communities, and the human condition.

“It’s like any new technology reaching towards a peak of inflated expectations, these steps are necessary to push the technology forward and build consumer acceptance. Its inclusion in many aspects of retail is inevitable. Retailers should be looking at how to effectively support this early technology with human representatives to maintain great service,” Hawkins said.

With its primary focus of elevating the image of the Caribbean as a business destination by driving entrepreneurship, investments, partnerships and innovation within the market, the Destination Experience Visionaries Summit also had presentations from Ann-Marie Campbell, executive vice-president, Home Depot.

A Jamaican-American business executive, Campbell shared her journey to success and strategies for navigating the challenges and opportunities of the new technology-driven, multidimensional global economy.

“I have a thirst for knowledge, but beyond knowledge, it’s about learning. If you stop learning, you stop growing. You don’t get wisdom by just knowing something from 10 years ago or 15 years ago. You get wisdom when you have that knowledge and you apply it,” Campbell said.

“As you grow with any organisation, you have to transition from building a performance brand to building a performance culture. It is no longer about you. It’s about how do you inspire and motivate others to be the best they can be, and how do you harness the collective value of your team to make it the best team,” she added.