Indigenous people are innovative, just look at their artworks.
Without innovation, Indigenous communities will continue struggling
The terms innovation refers to a new way of doing something. It can refer to incremental and emergent or radical and revolutionary changes in thinking, culture, products, processes, or organisations. It is important to understand the fundamentals of commodities versus niches.
Creativity or an invention of an idea precedes the implementation of an innovation. Something new must be substantially different to be innovative, in the arts, business and government policy.
In business, the change must increase value to the customer. The goal of innovation should be a positive change, to make something or a community better. Innovation leading to increased productivity is the fundamental source of increasing jobs and wealth in an Indigenous community, in fact, any community.
Starting this process is based on identifying opportunities, identifying entrepreneurs, developing information and communications technology, market knowledge, globalisation impact issues and securing appropriate funding.
This should be preceded by new conversations and the building of trust. There is a need for change by implementing new ways based on available skills, culture and things that the people are familiar with.
But the foundations need to be put in place before this can successfully happen. You also need to take the practical first steps with the development of people committed to the long-term well-being of the people and their community.
Leaders from all sectors involved with Indigenous affairs are recognising the value of working together and focusing on outcomes that are real and measurable as well as leading to worthwhile improvements in economic activity. You need to be aware that there are many people pushing their own agendas which are not in tune with the people or innovation.
“The most difficult thing is the decision to act – the rest is merely tenacity”. Amelia Earhart
Innovation requires networking, access to information, knowledge, experience, technology, tools processes, checklists and opportunity generation while cutting across traditional and regional boundaries and cultures. Using things like a men’s shed as an Incubator for innovation greatly assists education, business, job creation and entrepreneurial activity along with improving health and well-being.
Supporters need to be steering and guiding not controlling. The top-down approach by many over the last few decades has not worked. You need to be built with a bottom-up approach, working alongside the people and their communities. Anyone can focus on the known, but if you start by focusing on new conversations and mashups better progress will be made. Focus on such things as:
- Business and job creation.
- The culture of innovation.
- Accepting personal responsibility.
- Health and well-being. People must be physically and mentally well if they are going to accomplish anything.
- Above all start changing the conversations and perpetuating old negative attitudes.
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Innovation in Indigenous communities is about developing a quality of place for the people to work in, exchange information and support each other and thus the Social Capital and life of the people and their community.
I found the challenge is in the transition, from where they are now to where they want to be. Any change in an Indigenous community takes a long time and requires patience and better, more appropriate conversations. No more research and talkfests, they need action.