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If the opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.

“Everybody can’t be innovators and entrepreneurs. Only a few become really successful. During the time of undergraduate, if you try to be an entrepreneur, you will learn about so many other areas within a short period of time and this is the best time to do innovations as a team”. Mr. Heminda Perera.
The National Showcasing Team of AIESEC in Sri Lanka has commenced the second season of the Podcast Series named #ThroughTheEyesOfATrendsetter and the first episode was brought out with the honorable participation of the Guest speaker, Mr. Heminda Jayaweera, Serial innovator, Chief Operating Officer at Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC), Co-Founder and Director of Venture Frontier Lanka, Jendo Innovations (Pvt) Ltd. and Mora Ventures, a start-up incubator, Director of Ceylon Graphene Technologies and Effective Solutions (Pvt) Ltd, under the main topic,  “If the opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”. As the moderator for the entire season, the National Director for Incoming Global Talent and Teacher, AIESEC Sri Lanka 20.21, Mr. Arfan Nazar participated adding more energy to this first productive discussion.
opportunity knock build door

Mr. Heminda Perera

Getting to know oneself is much needed…

Giving a fresh beginning and starting off the debut episode with a very interesting question, ” According to you how would you define Heminda Jayaweera? ”, Mr. Heminda Jayaweera responding to that said that he didn’t know who he was in the beginning. He has jumped into various departments when he was working in Dialog Axiata in 2004. He started to work on a lot of areas, like project management, program management, marketing, corporate planning, quality area, process management, product management, innovation, embracing all the opportunities that came across, covering every area required for a business. Mr.Heminda goes on to say that grabbing all the opportunities have helped him to find who he was. He has realized to start his own thing rather than working in the corporate field and ended up starting a few startups.  Adding to that he said, his best talent is actually which he has realized very lately, that he has the talent to find talent. 

Something different out of the ordinary…

Agreeing with the points of the multitasker, Mr. Arfan directed the next question, “What made you take the risk of implementing something different out of the ordinary?”  Answering that, he explained his neediness to do something really new and fascinating, and that really has provoked him to get into his own things, stepping out of the corporate world taking risks into hands. He added saying that nothing is coming out from Sri Lanka in terms of innovations. Thus to begin with it, he started to step into entrepreneurship becoming a role model for young people. 

Becoming the First Unicorn in Sri Lanka…

opportunity knock build door

Mr. Arfan Nazar

Mr. Arfan raised his next question focusing on becoming the first unicorn in Sri Lanka. Responding to that, Mr. Heminda explained that it is impossible saying that Sri Lanka has never produced any unicorns so far. In the venture capital industry, the term unicorn refers to any startup that reaches the valuation of $1 billion. He goes on to describe that the population of Sri Lanka and the income level is not enough to support a unicorn and he stated his dream as being a part of the first unicorn from Sri Lanka in 2026 even though it’s impossible to start his own unicorn startup. And he mentioned that if someone needs to create a unicorn from Sri Lanka, the only way to achieve it is, coming up with a global product that can market globally and bringing that valuation to the company. One of the things one can really work hard on is, looking at the intrinsic quality of a certain product which is very Sri Lankan. Then it will be a competitive advantage because Sri Lanka will be the only country that produces that. So obviously there will be a global market. So that’s the model he is working on in order to create a unicorn and most probably in 2026 Sri Lankans will be able to witness a unicorn in Sri Lanka.  Further, he explained about his Jendo innovations which is a startup to emulate ‘Veda Mahattaya’ in Sri Lanka with western medicine. He mentioned that it is in the approval process and will be launching this year.

Bringing out hidden innovations of young people…

Then Mr. Arfan directed his next question, “How should we create a platform to bring out undiscovered innovations for young people?” Raising his voice to this question, Mr. Heminda said that he has also realized the point that there’s so much talent inside Sri Lanka, yet “individual talent itself is not going to help you”. He said, “We have so many good engineers, doctors, and accountants, but the innovations are not coming out”. According to him, innovations mean invention + commercializing, and to do that there should be multiple talents. Thus teamwork is essential. A lot of countries have identified Innovations can happen only with a nicely united team that is performing well.  Further, he highlighted the fact that there are a lot of good final year university projects which are at the concept level yet not coming out to the markets. So as an initiative, he gave a path, ‘Mora Ventures’, to the undergraduates in the University of Moratuwa, which brought 30 startups to market within a very short period. And he needs the same model in all the universities and he has covered almost all the universities promoting group culture as well. “If you are confident enough as an innovator or as an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t be scared off. Starting point of any innovation is sharing ideas”.   And then there was a rapid-fire question part which was successfully answered by Mr. Heminda. 

Team working, an essential part of success…

Coming to the last few minutes of the discussion of the first episode of the Podcast Series of Season 2 powered by the National Showcasing Team of AIESEC in Sri Lanka, Mr. Arfan directed the final question asking the message that the guest speaker has to render to the young innovators, the upcoming entrepreneurs and the people who are going to create the change in the country. The only problem would be there’s no experience, but that’s the time one should cultivate that mindset to create that. Obviously, it’s only 1% to 2% who can be really successful, but the journey is the most important thing according to him. He encouraged the people to start investing time in thinking and creating something innovative. He said, “Even if you fail as an entrepreneur, there’s a lot to gain. So that experience will be the only experience to climb the ladder of your corporate life as well”. Entrepreneurial and innovators’ skill set is something that is essential to be a success story.  However, the guest speaker, Mr. Heminda Jayaweera, spoke about his experience and how and what it took for him to achieve the state that he is in today, some of the hardships of his journey, and how as young entrepreneurs people need to develop and also he highlighted his ambition of being the first unicorn startup in Sri Lanka.

If the opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door…

Lots of opportunities come knocking if we are receptive. The trick is to recognize them. Then one can decide whether or not to open the door. Sometimes, it’s all about creating that right opportunity instead of just waiting for it to come. We can’t always rely on chance. We need to create opportunities that will lead to our goals and success and be aggressive and take the necessary steps that will lead to our goals. So go out there and make it happen today! The 1st episode of the Podcast series of Season 2 was terminated successfully revealing the journey of the triumph of a great leader. Await for more episodes…
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Why do companies’ innovation efforts fail and how to succeed instead?

“There is no creativity and innovation without failure period.” – Brene Brown
Most have tried at least some innovation initiatives or programs. Many have had positive experiences from some of them. But overall the end result often seems to be a bit of a disappointment. Over 90% of innovation projects end in failure, never seeing the light of day or generating any benefit for the company. Are you wondering about failed innovation efforts and succeeding methods?  Innovation requires a major commitment in both time and money but success isn’t always guaranteed. But with the right people and systems in place, even the failures that innovation sometimes produces can ultimately be beneficial.

There are two points that are important to focus on for any innovation project:

  • Market focus: Who can I sell to, who has a problem to solve?
Innovation is a new offer that tackles pain points and recognized needs, confirmed by the market itself. You need to precisely identify the issues suffered by your target markets. And then you need to gauge their criticality to orient yourself towards the right market.
  • Product focus: What am I selling? What is my value proposition?
You need to define which solution is most minimal and sufficient to meet these needs. Checking that the issue is a real issue for market actors is just as important as validating the relevance of your solution.

Why do innovation programs fail?Failed innovation efforts and succeeding

What makes innovation so tough is that for an innovation program to be successful, the organization has to get a lot of things right, while still adapting to their individual circumstances. There are always plenty of challenges that can each become barriers preventing the innovation program from succeeding. There are many reasons why innovation projects or new products fail on the market. Usually, a failure is not related to the quality of an idea itself, but to its implementation, which means that it has internal organizational causes. 

Wrong decisions

Management often sets the wrong course in innovation projects or when selecting ideas. Wrong decisions can affect the prioritization of ideas, product strategies for new products, selection of variants in development, etc. So in order to succeed you need to make the right decisions. 

Forced Innovation

While technology has forced innovation to the top of priority lists, innovation itself has to happen organically within the enterprise. Placing someone in charge of “innovation,” then sitting back waiting for it to happen makes that person’s job impossible and keeps your company mired in misguided convention. Innovation needs to be promoted and nurtured company-wide. It’s also important to put a process in place. As with any part of a business, direction is essential to seeing results.  

Fear of Failing

When it comes to being tasked with innovation, the prevailing feeling is fear. Innovation and failing often go hand-in-hand and most employees in most businesses have learned that ‘failure’ is never acceptable. That fear of failure is crippling innovation. It leads to only safe ideas. You need to embrace failure as an important step toward success.

Low priority for innovation

 If the management’s commitment is lacking, it runs through all levels of the organization. The unrealized commitment and the lack of support for innovation are certainly one of the main reasons why innovations fail. As a result, many resources are lost through friction losses and innovation tasks are not worked out in the required quality. Thus, a good priority should be given to new innovations. 

Lack of market orientation

The lack of market orientation and customer needs is another main reason why new products fail on the market. The product does not offer a true and convincing customer value or differentiate itself from existing products. An innovation project is a long and risky process. In the end, the market will be the judge. The challenge is thus, to access the right parties and their feedback to make informed, reliable decisions on how to orient your project.  So these are the reasons for failed innovation efforts and we should implement succeeding methods as well. It certainly isn’t easy to get all of these factors to align with one another. We’ve seen quite a few organizations achieve that. In essence, the key is to have a holistic approach focused on getting the big picture right and then persistently removing barriers on the way.
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Tips for publishing powerful blog content.

A well-planned blog article could go viral and drive thousands of referral visitors to your blog. But creating great blog content isn’t always easy. Do you wanna know the tips for publishing powerful blog content?

Most people that visit your blog post usually leave without reading it all the way through. And the worst part is that an even larger percentage of people who see your blog post whichever social media platforms you use, never even click on it. You really only have 2–3 seconds to grab your user’s attention, convince them to click, and actually read your blog post.

Have you ever read a great piece of content that really stuck with you? Are you wondering how to write a good blog post that makes an impact? So here are 8 tips for writing and publishing powerful blog content.

1. Research your topic before you start writing

The first step towards writing a blog post is to pick a good topic and research on that. You’ll need to find out what your followers want to know and read about, so your post will continue to get traffic after it’s published.

You don’t need to be an expert on the topic, but you do need to do your research to make sure you’re adding value. Also, it’s important that any statistic you state can be verified. Accuracy builds trust with readers.

2. Know Your Audience

Before you start writing your blog post, make sure you have a clear understanding of your target audience. Instead of guessing what your audience needs or wants, try to make data-driven decisions by doing industry research and competitor analysis.

Tips for publishing powerful blog content.

 3. Write Compelling Headlines

If you don’t have a compelling headline, then there’s a very good chance that your blog post will not be read or shared. So always the topic should be really attractive and eye-catching.

 

4. Add Subheadings and Shorter Paragraphs to break up the Page

There is nothing better than a brief, to-the-point blog post or article that is filled with information. Formatting is super important for blog posts. Most of the time people skim through the content before they actually decide to read it. Another quick tip is to use shorter paragraphs to help your readers work their way through your post.

We do this to help our readers absorb all the information coming their way in as short an amount of time as possible.

So, organize your ideas through subheadings and keep your paragraphs short to help your reader absorb more information in less time.

Tips for publishing powerful blog content.

5. Use Bullet Points

People tend to skim

blog posts before they decide to read it. That means you need to make sure to highlight your best information. That way, they can quickly see that your post is worth their time. Aside from subheadings, bullet lists are perfect because they’re very easy to skim through. Bullet points are an excellent way to spoon-feed your audience in a way that keeps them coming back for more.

6. Add Images

The human brain processes visual content a lot faster than text-based content. That’s why adding captivating images can help boost your engagement. Whatever you’re writing about, add pictures. No one wants to look at paragraphs of text unless you’re writing a book. However, only add images that help or add value.

7. Optimize for SEO

In the blogging world, SEO can be tricky. After you finish writing, go back and search engine optimization for your post. If you want to maximize your SEO ranking, then we highly recommend that you optimize your blog post for important SEO ranking factors.

Tips for publishing powerful blog content.

Below are some of the tips that you can follow:

  • Add a proper meta title
  • Add a proper meta description
  • Optimize for focused keywords
  • Use related keyword variation
  • Add alt-text to your images
  • Embed internal links to your other content

8. Include a Compelling Call to Action

A good call-to-action is something that’s easily distinguishable and stands out. Usually, for your blog posts, the call to action will ask readers to share their content if they liked what they read.

What should your call to action (CTA) be? You could ask your readers to:

  • Sign up to your email newsletter
  • Leave a comment
  • Share your post on social media
  • Buy your product

It means that you need to call your readers to action as clearly and as quickly as possible. You can’t wait until you get to the conclusion.

Start working smarter, not harder with your blog content. Publishing powerful content is about a lot more than the words you choose to write.

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How can we increase the ROI through Diversity and Inclusion Training?

Return on Investment (ROI)

Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure. We use it to evaluate the efficiency of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI tries to directly measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment’s cost. To calculate ROI, the benefit (or return) of an investment is divided by the cost of the investment. The result is expressed as a percentage or a ratio. A high ROI means the investment’s gains compare favorably to its cost. So how can we increase the ROI through Diversity and Inclusion Training? ROI by Diversity and Inclusion training

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity deals with numbers. And it ensures that organizations and teams to be versatile, balanced, and fair in representation. Today, most companies see diversity as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda. People should see diversity as a business imperative. And it is the most important element of a company’s return on investment. And inclusion ensures a sense of employee engagement and belonging, resulting in improved organizational effectiveness.  Diversity and inclusion is a collective and individual journey of culture and mindset change. One of the most challenging aspects of diversity and inclusion (D&I) is being able to quantify the value of a program or training that has been implemented in the workplace. When seeking leadership buy-in for the diversity program, it is imperative to figure out how to measure the value that the program can provide to the organization. When assessing D&I training, it is important to first understand where the organization is at, from the starting point. D&I is extremely vast, so narrowing down which areas the organization should focus on will help when implementing or improving D&I training.

Increasing ROI through diversity and inclusion training

Conducting an initial survey of the diversity climate within the organization which could include an employee engagement survey, with questions focused specifically on company culture and inclusion. ROI by Diversity and Inclusion training And in order to see whether the organization is on the right track, one should evaluate turnover rates, promotion, and salary, as well as the candidate pipeline. An inclusive work environment is a critical factor in the probability of employee success. In order to give every employee the opportunity to shine, companies should look inward and take steps to minimize the impact of personal and systemic biases that create an uneven playing field. ROI by Diversity and Inclusion training Trying to “fix diversity” by hiring women or members of underrepresented minorities is a misguided approach. Especially when hiring is limited to lower levels. Unless a company is highly inclusive, the new hires will feel unwelcome and are likely to churn. This will tarnish the company’s reputation. It leads management to conclude, “We tried, but these people just couldn’t cut it.” The inclusive mindset needs to permeate the entire company. You need managers, executives, and board members who understand what it’s like to be outside the majority. Also, we need them to get help to identify opportunities to improve the workplace for everyone. Diversity is there at all rungs of the ladder.

Embracing inclusion and increasing diversity

Embracing inclusion and increasing diversity at all levels of the company can create a virtuous loop with tangible ROI. And having more diverse talent is likely to make the company more inclusive; being more inclusive can make it easier to attract talent from a broader pool of qualified candidates; the new talent can focus on applying their skills; and this, in turn, will increase company performance by increasing productivity, reducing hiring and training costs, and minimizing the disruptions that arise from unhappy employees. Being able to develop D&I metrics and set targets/goals will not only help with buy-in but will also increase the likelihood of achieving diverse goals.
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Resolutions to start the year off strong for small business

The past year has been a tough one for everyone, especially for small business owners. Everyone had to make the necessary changes to navigate unprecedented circumstances. Likewise, your business may have started and ended the year with very different sets of goals, challenges, and experiences. As we have stepped into a new year now it is a great time to look forward and start planning for a successful year ahead. What should be your resolutions as a small business? If you are not sure where to begin, here is a list of resolutions that will help small businesses to start off the year strong.
Year Plan

Planning for the year ahead

Be clear in your priorities

How did your plans for the past year work? What worked and what did not work? Take a moment to review your successes as well as your failures. Once you review your past now you will have a clear idea about what you should achieve this year.  What are the organization’s main business activities? What should be the main focus of the new year? Answers to these questions should drive your decisions when setting up a plan for the new year. As you are planning your new year, take time to list out your priorities and rank them in order of importance. After you have decided what you want and how much time you want to spend on them, you will gradually find success when the year comes to an end.

Jumpstart your goals

Once you have prioritized what is needed to be done in the Q1 of the new year, you should start working on them. Pursuing those goals right at the beginning of the year can go a long way toward helping you accomplish them. If You try diving into your New Year’s plan intensely in the first quarter. When you kickstart at the beginning of the year, ultimately it will be beneficial later in the year.

Establish your business on social media platforms

Nowadays, digital is the way to go. If you think that making a Facebook account or an Instagram account would be enough, you are wrong. Being on social media platforms will do nothing for your business unless you use them strategically. Make your resolution to post daily or weekly depending on what is happening within your business in order to engage more with your customers. 
Sociam

Establishing your business on social media platforms

Give back to the community

A small business owner requires a lot of hard work and dedication, especially in the beginning. But knowing that you are doing something you love will make you feel great. Why not share this energy with the community? If you are in a position where you can support by giving money you can consider sponsoring an event. But it does not always require money. You and your team can consider volunteering at a certain place. It may seem like a lot but the reward you gain is unmeasurable. Your contribution will gain recognition through these and although you do not intend to use these as a method of advertising, you may gain some new customers as a result.  The beginning of a year is the time for you to grow. It is time for you to change your practices as a business and as a business owner. It is time to brainstorm your ideas and to welcome new ideas to your business. Thus, taking the time to make resolutions and sticking to them throughout the year will surely bring success to your business. Think carefully about where you want to see your business to be when the year ends and how the resolutions you set this year can help you get there. The magic in new beginnings is truly the most powerful of them all which gives you the strength to reach new heights. 
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