Second ‘chapter’ of Genovasi Challenge completed

  • 12 winners chosen for ideas that can enhance community life
  • Ultimate winners to go on study trip to Stanford University

EIGHT Malaysian and four international brands and organizations took up the challenge of coming up with innovative ideas to improve and enhance society in the second chapter of the Genovasi Challenge, a Malaysian Government initiative which began last year.
Kicked off by current caretaker Prime Minister Najib Razak, the second chapter of the challenge, entitled 'Genovasi Challenge: Executive Edition,' was jointly launched by the Special Innovation Unit (Unik) of the Prime Minister's Office and its subsidiary Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM).
The Executive Edition called upon brands to submit their proposals to improve or develop local neighborhoods to enhance of the quality of life in the community.
Unik chief executive officer Dr Kamal Jit Singh said that the challenge was about empowering youth in terms of deciding the quality of their lives.
“Malaysians, like anyone else in the world, are very fond of complaining. But we want them to take the second step, do something about it – and that's where we created the national challenge,” he said.
Second ‘chapter’ of Genovasi Challenge completedThe purpose of the Executive Edition was to see how young executives from the corporate world could contribute ideas. The panel of judges picked 12 winners from the companies that participated.
“Moving forward, we plan (for) this to be a continuous thing,” said AIM chief executive officer Mark Rozario (pic).
“We are hoping to get the private sector very involved in this. Private companies can come forward and sponsor their own challenges,” he added. asked the panel of judges how important a role the private sector and brands can play in innovating to enhance societal life.
“Whether it is a corporate organization or an individual, we live in a society. You would be foolish to think you can live in isolation,” said Rakesh Menon, chairman and managing director of Unilever Malaysia and Singapore.
“I think that’s the first principle everyone in the panel would agree on. Business can never operate on isolation,” he added.
Ernst & Young Malaysia partner Philip Rao concurred, saying that "I think big brands have a responsibility to correlate the brand value that they have to drive community building.
“When you think about some of the brands that are here today, we can associate them with some social development activities. … When you look at the ideas coming through this challenge, a lot of them center on community development and community building, and the brands can play a big role in promoting this,” he added.
“Brands play a very important role in the way societies evolve; it’s not really about the product,” continued Unilever’s Rakesh. “Brands make people feel more aspirational, mold the way they view their lives. Brands can play an important role to positively impacting the lives of people.
“It's not only about CSR; it's much more than that. It about how we help people live better lives, how we ensure people stay more healthy. Brands which are more responsible will ensure that their products and their consumption are healthy for people so that they have a better quality of life,” he said.
Participants of the Executive Edition included Malaysia Airlines, Telekom Malaysia, AirAsia, AirAsia X, Hong Leong Group, DiGi, Maybank, Maxis, Prudential, Dutch Lady, Nestle and IBM.
Rozario said the winners will be announced after Malaysia’s 13th general election, which takes place May 5, is over. The winning organization will have the opportunity to participate in a study trip to Stanford University in the United States.
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