Innovation involves the actual implementation of new ideas or technology to add value in a way that is fundamentally different than has been done in the past. 

In the ongoing effort to overcome the challenges of the world market, innovation is vital. Innovation is no longer about added value for an individual or organisation. The ultimate aim is the creation of an intelligent future that can provide new opportunities to interested parties in society. An intelligent future or, rather, a smart future, is something that people, organisations, governments and countries must create. 

Many governments, including the Maltese government, who are involved in the creation of a smart society have a tendency to emphasise infrastructural requirements for the innovation to be a success. These requirements are emphasised because they are visible and easy to celebrate. 

Some of these requirements include the development of infrastructure for scientific, technological and engineering research; the development of innovation and research centres and innovation campuses; centres for applied research; support for small and medium enterprises in the field of technology; support for science, engineering and mathematics education programmes; and a governmental structure, budgets and policies aimed at creating jobs. 

While these programmes are suited to a modern society and have positive elements, the creation of a smart future requires more fundamental elements where innovation is nurtured for a smart future. More specifically, certain conditions need to be in place to ensure that innovation can take its course. 

Therefore, if we look at our country, we must see that we have social justice and that the right of law, accountability and transparency are supreme; that there is a culture and environment where creativity is valued; that there is a society that values enterprise and risk taking; that there is an environment where integrity and collective discipline are virtues; that there is a society where creating jobs is more important than finding jobs. 

The smart future is an aspiration for many people and for society. It is not an imaginary future but the key to possibility, especially in this digital era. To create an intelligent future, people need to think beyond the obvious and work collectively for the benefit of all of society.