Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, January 12, 2022 -Innovation stakeholders have identified key challenges and problems within their ecosystem and have taken the initiative to find solutions to effectively deal with them and close the gaps. Through the Shaping the Future of Innovation (STFOI) Project, over twenty (20) national innovation ecosystem stakeholders participated in a design sprint workshop over a period of three days. The Project is currently being implemented with financing from the European Union, under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF), and the IDB Lab, with CARIRI as the Executing Agency.
There are 3 major components which are being implemented concurrently. Component 1, the Innovation Challenge Facility (ICF), is geared to providing targeted organizations with access to grant financing for innovation in products, services, channels, new markets, and business models, etc. Funding is effected via Calls for Proposals which would also include a call for proposals for “Inclusive Innovation Solutions” that respond to challenges faced on a day-to-day basis by lower income and excluded groups within T&T; such solutions including, for example, innovations in sustainable and affordable delivery of utilities, health, housing, transport, education, or access to credit for lower income segments of the population or inclusion of special needs/vulnerable groups. The ICF is open to all sectors, except for primary oil and gas extraction and production. Priority areas include Technologies for Inclusion; ICT; Renewable Energy; Energy Efficiency; Waste Reduction; High Value Agribusiness; and Manufacturing.
Component 2 of the project, Building Industry and Academic Linkages, seeks to forge closer ties between postgraduates and private sector firms, by piloting a model for structured collaboration of postgraduates with local firms in advancing applied research and development (R&D) for innovation.
Component 3, Building the Innovation Network, seeks to build a network model linking local actors as well as external (regional and international) accelerators, incubators, academic institutions, venture capital funds and company builders to create an innovation network that can support continuity and expansion of the innovation thrust in Trinidad and Tobago. The Consortium of Beta Technology Ltd and EUROCHAMTT have been engaged to support CARIRI in the implementation of Components 1 and 2.
The expected outcome of this project includes, new or improved markets, products, services and business models, as well as increased efficiency and competitiveness, and the existence of a more cohesive and inclusive group of innovation stakeholders working synergistically within a collaborative framework to develop and sustain an environment which nurtures and values innovation and innovators.
Design Sprint is a Google Ventures method used to drive innovation and encourage user-centred thinking to improve, adapt or create products or services in a few days and get a tangible prototype to test with customers. Under Component 3 of the project, the design sprint is administered through a series of workshops delivered over five (5) days in two parts. The first part was held over three days, viz. November 30th, December 1st, and 7th 2022, virtually via the zoom platform. The first day of the workshop was spent understanding the context, mapping and framing the problems. On Day 2, participants were engaged in sketching and researching solutions for the problems they identified and on Day 3, the participants decided, via voting, on the top three (3) solutions that would form the basis of collaboration among stakeholder agencies.
After the three-day sessions, the ecosystem stakeholders identified fifteen(15) problems which contributed to an uncoordinated ecosystem. In groups and individually, they worked on fifteen(15) solutions which were proposed through a series of sketches and re-sketches, idea hunt and reference research. The three (3) top solutions identified were an ecosystem stakeholders’ platform to share information among the network and with the entrepreneurs they support; an Innovation Intercol Challenge and an innovation-driven, mainstreamed, inclusive entrepreneurship programme in schools, involving students, teachers and the ecosystem network stakeholders.
Participants will seek to mainstream the other solutions, which included a governance mechanism. The Workshop was facilitated by the Project’s Innovation Coordinator, Dr. Marcia Brandon. The second part of the workshop will be held on February 1 and 2, 2023 in person, 9:00 am to 3:00 pm at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, Port of Spain. Those days will be dedicated to prototyping and testing of the solutions.
About the Shaping the Future of Innovation Partnership
Shaping The Future of Innovation is a partnership among the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, through the Ministry of Planning and Development, the European Union (EU), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), with the Caribbean Industrial Research Institute (CARIRI) as the executing agency. The primary project initiative is intended to contribute to the development of a national innovation ecosystem and an innovation mind-set through three Components: The Innovation Challenge Facility (ICF); Building Industry and Academic Linkages; and Building an Innovation Network. More information: https://future.cariri.com/