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Innovation – key to implementing SDGs

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USP's Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Innovation and International with His Excellency Ambassador Peter Thomson, the President of the United Nations General Assembly after the lecture.

Disruptive innovation is the key to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to transform the societies.

This was the message by His Excellency Ambassador Peter Thomson, the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) during his public lecture at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus in Suva on 17 March 2017.

The theory of disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually goes on to disrupt an existing market and value network. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect.

H.E Ambassador Thomson said that in an era when technology and innovation are driving social and economic change at a pace and scale one has never seen before, the ideas, creativity and commitment to the success of young people can have an exponential impact on the transformation of the world for the better. Internet connectivity, he added, is the heart of this innovation.

“For example, we can change the way education is delivered through innovative technology, thereby helping children living in disadvantaged areas, remote villages, and even in areas of conflict and teach them skills that they will need in future,” Ambassador Thomson said.

The President said that in the olden times, people were more devoted in spending money on teacher’s quarters, classrooms, putting tin roofs, etc.

But the more important thing to note, he said is, “what is going in the kid’s head and that is where money needs to be spent.”

H.E Ambassador Thomson anticipates that within ten (10) years, the whole world will be connected to the internet, which will be an important educational tool.

“Somebody living in the back blocks of Sudan can get just as good information as somebody sitting in the middle of Harvard,” H.E Thomson said.

H.E Ambassador Thomson is a great believer in what innovation and technology can do to help people get there for the SDS’s

“If you look at innovation, technology and enhancing mobile communications infrastructure through expanding people’s access to formal economy and markets, legal and financial banking institutions, thereby helping to drive entrepreneurship, business development in a manner unthinkable at the start of the 21st century,” he said.

H.E Ambassador Thomson shared a story when he went to Sigatoka and found that the ladies who sold at the market had more financial literacy than many literate people. They were part of the modern economy in a way that was never before technology came in.

He added that things are changing so exponentially and Pacific people have to ensure that as a region they are up to date with all these.

Talking about the Pacific region, H.E Ambassador Thomson said that everyone can be connected through the power of the internet and added that, “we have to use that, we have to do the investment, not only in education, but also in the infrastructure it requires.”

H.E Ambassador Thomson urged USP students to use their education from the University to help achieve the 2030 agenda.

He also encouraged USP to leverage its role as the regional hub of excellence and innovation in the Pacific and be a champion of instilling SDG literacy across the region.

This news item was published on 24 Mar 2017 02:47:05 pm. For more information or any High-Res Images, please contact us on email

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