Valentine Ozigbo, a respected Nigerian business leader who is immediate past President and Group CEO of Transcorp Plc, has called for the adoption of radical acceleration of innovation in the country to catch up with developments in the rest of the world.
Mr Ozigbo made the submission on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, where he was the Lead Speaker at the Research and Innovation Roundtable organised by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
Ozigbo, who is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for Anambra’s 2021 election, was represented by Aziza Uko, the Director of Media and Communications of his campaign organisation, spoke on the topic, “The Path from Innovative Research to Commercialisation of Viable Prototypes”.
The multiple-award-winning global CEO delved into the state of innovative research in Nigeria and offered his ideas on how innovators and academic researchers could transform their prototypes into viable economic ventures.
Ozigbo also observed that the global innovation ranking of Nigeria was poor and indicated that the country had been “left behind”. He called for Nigerians to prioritise problem-solving and original thinking.
“What Nigeria needs is a radical innovation approach that involves original thinking and seeking ingenious ways of solving the world’s biggest problems even before they become a problem,” Ozigbo declared.
“We need to start solving the big issues that matter in a bold and audacious way. For this to happen, we must be deliberate and strategic. We must invest in our youth and unleash their boundless creativity and energy,” he added.
The respected business leader also lamented the leadership failure in Nigeria and maintained that the country desperately needs innovative leaders who are self-aware, self-sacrificing, and humble.
“We are where we are because of failed leadership. Nigeria needs exemplary leaders who will invest in the people and empower them to succeed,” Ozigbo continued.
“To succeed in business, you must work on your leadership abilities. There are gaps in our leadership culture in Nigeria, which also means there is an enormous opportunity for us to step in and step up and quickly rise to the top.”
In the well-received speech, Ozigbo espoused that value creation was the central purpose of entrepreneurship and called for entrepreneurial thinking to be adopted as a national culture in Nigeria. He also harped on the value of emotional intelligence in leadership.
“In human relationships, there is a virtue that makes a world of difference, propels positive outcomes, and builds value if adequately utilised. It is called Emotional intelligence,” Ozigbo said.
“Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, manage, and utilise your emotions and those of the people around you towards positive outcomes.”
A global Kaizen champion, Ozigbo asserted that striving for excellence and cultivating a culture of continuous improvement are two essential traits of successful business leaders.
“When excellence becomes a habit, nothing is impossible. I preach excellence in my organisations and am unyielding about it. The same goes for continuous improvement, a virtue which I hold dear to my heart,” he continued.
“No matter how excellent a process, a creation, or a method is, there is always room for improvement.
“Kaizen refers to business activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all members of the organisation, from the top (CEO) to the very last person on the organisational hierarchy.
“Continuous improvement streamlines the workflow in an organisation to save time and money, reduce waste, and ensure optimisation of effort,” Ozigbo added.
A host of dignitaries attended the elaborate roundtable event, including the Chairman of the Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Adeolu Akande; the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Port Harcourt, Prof Ndowa Lele, among others.