The Inclusive Innovation Convention 2018 (IIC 2018) held in Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Tuaran on 22nd March 2018 was  organised by SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) and Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia (YIM), in partnership with the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) and the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). The Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) (IDS) served as the strategic partner and event organizer for the seminar. The convention themed ‘iGrassroots’, aims to promote and encourage multilateral support for inclusive innovation projects and empower the under-40s age group through High Impact Program 6 (HIP 6).


The inaugural convention in Sabah also served as a platform to gather the corporate sector, government agencies and grassroots innovators representing their respective communities. IIC 2018 acts as a platform in highlighting the importance of innovation in impacting economic developments and narrowing the income disparity with the target groups, whilst exploring a more inclusive approach of helping the targeted community.




In line with the rationale for organizing this program, the objectives of the convention are as follows:


  • As a platform to nurture, identify, add value, develop and ensure inclusive innovation to narrow the accessibility gap amongst Malaysians in terms of income, basic needs such as utilities, education, health and productivity;


  • Provide opportunities for investors, innovators and stakeholders to share ideas and suggestions for developing inclusive innovation products and technologies;


  • Provide space for innovators to showcase their inclusive technologies and innovation;


  • Promoting the State of Sabah as a role model using inclusive innovation as a sustainable option to empower and develop an exceptional group through innovation;


  • Enhancing the participation of grassroots innovators’ economies and marginalised communities (Disabled communities, youths, single mothers, and below-40 group); and


  • Provide a platform for related companies to contribute to the growth of inclusive innovations.


The Inclusive Innovation Conventions 2018 was officiated by Y.B. Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau, Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), followed by the launching of the Grassroots Innovation Book. The ceremony continued with prize presentation to the Sabah Zone Inclusive Innovation Challenge 2018 winners and the presentation of replica cheques to the recipients of HIP 6 funds, and ‘iGrassrots’ animated performances.


Kupi-Kupi Dulu Bah! Session


A casual discussion session called ‘Kupi-Kupi Dulu Bah!’ was the climax of the convention program, featuring two prominent figures namely Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Madius Tangau, Minister of Science and Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) and Datuk Mohd. Hasnol Bin Ayub, the then Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Development Studies (Sabah) (IDS). The laid-back style session where panelist discussed innovative ideas was moderated by Datuk Dr. Hafsah Hashim, Chief Executive Officer of SME Corporation Malaysia.


The topics discussed during the session were as follows:


  • Sabah is slipping away from designing an innovative program or project. Innovation delays causes concern for improving Sabah produce without disturbing the eco-system and environmental balance as these two matters are important points of consideration in order to continue developing Sabah as “Green State”.


  • A problem can be solved through creative ways and creativity is able to improve the standard of living of the people. These ideas and creativities can be commercialised and sold to generate income for the individuals.


Discussion Topics


There were four topics being discussed during the IIC 2018 program that revolves around inclusive innovations. Each topic was discussed by a moderator and a group of panelists, sharing their experience and journey to the participants of the convention.


Topic 1: Inclusive Community Mind Sharing


This topic was moderated by Mr. Tany Anthony Kiob, the then Chief Executive Officer of Yayasan Inovasi Malaysia (YIM). There were three panelist for this session which comprises of Datin Jeanette Tambakau, Hajah Baiyah Ag. Mahmon and Mdm. Mary Jim.


Among the main topics discussed were:


  • The success of the “Barefoot Solar Project” project run by the Sabah Women Entrepreneurs Professionals Association (SWEPA) aimed in assisting rural women in providing electrical facilities for their communities.


  • Potential innovation of rural communities with creative community minds can be seen through their way of life and practices. However, certain limitations and constraints within the areas, infrastructure and facilities leaves the communities in a backward state in terms of development, education and standard of living.


  • MJ by MUS is a local fashion and accessories brand that promotes the creation of Borneo ethnic motifs. It is produced from innovative ideas that are triggered with the goal of connecting marginalised communities throughout Sabah with local and international fashion enthusiasts. The success of the brand has increased the value of local products and created massive employment opportunities amongst rural communities.


Topic 2: Inspiring Innovative Thoughts


This session was moderated by Dr. Ramzah Dambul, Deputy Secretary General of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. The panel members of this session consisted of High Impact Project 6 (HIP 6) innovators Pn. Nur’ Athirah Razali (Express Pattern Sewing Ruler), En. Muhammad Shafiq Shahrul Amar (Nano Maker Kit), En. Ho Rui Jin (3D Printer & CNC Machine) and En. Fariz Abd. Rani (Affordable Wheelchair).


The key discussions highlighted:


  • The difficulty within the tailoring industry especially drawing stitch patterns has led to the idea of ​​generating a ruler with a generic formula compared to regular rulers. The innovation has helped the people with hearing and speech impairment in the tailoring industry to generate their own income.


  • The Nano Marker Kit is a kit that helps children learn programming and robotic at a lower cost. It has assisted rural students to study Science and Mathematics with interesting methods.


  • Production of Low Cost CNC Machine aims to reduce the dependence on machines and technologies imported from China and promote the development and use of local innovation products.


  • Affordable wheelchair innovation has benefited buyers and disabled workers. A disabled individual who works in the production of this product are able to develop their skills and generate their own income.



Topic 3: Translating Your Ideas and Creativity


This session was chaired by Dr. Hajah Dayang Aminah Ali, Director of Sabah Animation Creative Content Center (SAC3), with three panelist namely Ms. Lydia Anthony Lijua, Creative Director of ALYDS Creative Work, En. Abdul Razak Hj Salleh, General Manager of Sabah Electricity Sdn. Bhd. (SESB) and Pn. Jennifer P. Linggi, Head of Sabah Art Gallery Manager / Curator.


The main topics discussed were:


  • Sabah’s potential to develop the creative industry because it has a natural asset that is suitable for filming. But amongst the obstacles identified are infrastructure and funding issues.
  • Through the SESB Innovation Program, SESB has encouraged innovations amongst SESB employees regardless of the employee’s education background. This program was aimed to help the Sabahans’ accessibility towards the supply of electricity.


  • Creativity is a major ingredient in innovation. Higher levels of intelligence and education are not the benchmark of being creative or being an innovator.


Topic 4: Paving a Sustainable Future


The session was moderated by Datuk Bruno Vun, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Resources and Information Technology Sabah. The forum consists of four panel members, Mdm. Charlonitta Richard, who is the best participant of TUBE 1.0, Mr. Anne Antah innovator HIP 6: Malaysia’s Little Ambassador, Mr. Ceaser Mandela Malakun, General Manager, Group Sabanilam Enterprise Sdn. Bhd. and Mr. Arthur Raymond, President and Sabah ICT Programmers and Builders Association.


The main topics discussed were:


  • Within the business world, it is encouraged to take risk, and seek mentorship to obtain guidance, advice and motivation. Technology plays a role in improving the quality and business revenue generated.


  • The use of technology is seen as an opportunity and advantage to achieve the opportunities to venture into. The success of the production and marketing of the ‘Chanteek Borneo’ doll is through ideas and information from the internet. More than 300 types of dolls in Sabah ethnic clothing have been successfully produced.


  • IT and technology are able to improve socio-economic status of society as a whole. Efforts to increase awareness and accessibility of ICT need to be intensified. It should begin at the school level and require the cooperation of all parties including the government, private sector, associations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).


Convention Exhibition


Inclusive Innovation Convention 2018 also provides exhibition booths for innovative products under the support of YIM and SME Corp and, other information to supplement the knowledge of convention participants. Among those who took part in the exhibition were Express Pattern Sewing Ruler, Nano Maker Kit, 3D Printer & CNC Machine, Affordable Wheelchair, MyTaman, Kundasang Aquafarm, NK Robotics, Chanteek Borneo, Ministry of Resources and Information Technology Development, Sabah Women Entrepreneur & Professionals Association (SWEPA), Mary Jim and SME Corporation Malaysia.




A total of 720 participants attended the convention consisting of representatives from ministries / departments / agencies of the Federal and State Governments, students and lecturers from colleges and public and private higher education institutions, local business chambers, private companies, bank institutions, associations and NGOs, innovators, entrepreneurs, the disabled community and youths.


Overall, this convention has been a success in achieving its objectives. The participation has been encouraging as it has exceeded the intended target. This proves that the Sabah community is generally keen to know and understand in depth the concepts and ideas of innovation and programs undertaken by the government. Guests  of honors, moderators and panel members have successfully delivered valuable information and knowledge to the convention participants.




 Masneh Abd Ghani & Anita Limjoon



Share this article!