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iHub Research By Editor / January 31, 2013

Igniting the invisible: African Tech Innovation Index


By Gladys Kitony

On Monday, 16th January 2013, the African tech-Innovation Index (ATII) Research project was initiated at iHub Research. The project brings together a highly qualified team, which is passionate about tech innovation.

The  team is led by Brian Omwenga, a senior iHub Research fellow (PhD Candidate –School of Computing and Informatics – University of Nairobi). The rest of the team comprises of:

This partnership comes at a time when iHub Research sets to foster collaboration with the Academia as a way of enhancing technological research capacity at the institutional level. iHub Research will offer strategic advice based on its expertise in tech research as well as assist in logistics planning.

The project is funded by the African Innovation Foundation and was borne out of the realization that there is no single standardized measure of innovation in Africa. The research shall additionally trace the path of innovation in Africa, highlighting challenges and factors that will lead to enhancement of innovation in Africa. The study aims to jump-start the discourse in this field by developing a standardized metric system for iterating the first African Innovation Index.

The research framework involves two phases. The first phase will be to carry out a study for the African Innovation Foundation so as to come up with appropriate indicators of innovation specific to the African context and the metrics needed to measure innovation in the African context.

Lessons learned from the study and the in-depth development process of the index will be published widely in order to kick-start a discussion on the continent’s level of innovation.

Phase 2 will later be conducted to generate the index and will utilize available data from International Organizations (World Bank, UN) and open data portals in order to compile the necessary information available. If relevant information is not yet available from secondary information sources, a research project will be created to collect the requisite primary data.

A final report for phase 1 is set to be released at the end of March 2013 and will be presented at the Innovation Prize for Africa conference in April 2013

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Author : Editor

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  • Emmanuel Sobakin at 21:01:31PM Thursday, January 31, 2013

    I find it interesting that whilst there are several innovation indexes around the world, there is not one Creativity Index.

    I suppose that is due to the fact that some feel innovation can be measured, but like many indexes it only measures one part of the innovation equation. Glaringly, without a measurement for creativity – which is a fundamental eco-system for innovation – how can we truly define it?

    The answer lies in the fact that all existing innovation indexes are based on technological and business innovations, measured through patents, employment and economic growth.

    Creativity meanwhile is intangible, and hardly ever figures in the economic forecasts of businesses and governments, who often relegate it to the arts and culture inbox, because no one can really show how it makes money for a country.

    Yet, creativity is at the very heart of innovation.

  • Emmanuel Sobakin at 21:24:03PM Thursday, January 31, 2013

    Empowering creativity

    Innovation is not the beginning, but rather the outcome of people being empowered to ‘be’ creative. While funding for innovation is on the top of the agenda for most governments and large organizations, the fact of the matter remains that innovation is fostered in small clusters by a small group of people.

    They are a minority because they are nonconformist.

    They ask a lot of Why Not questions, about a lot of things (often of bureaucrats).

    They are highly creative, which means they are more likely than most to break the rules.

    These are just some of the fundamental issues at the heart of what it means to nurture a society that is creative, and ultimately innovative.

    Funding is only a facilitator, but it’s not the defining value of innovation.

    The real ‘currency’ of innovation is ironically embedded in the highly intangible value of ‘creativity’.

  • Weekly Review February 2-8: Technology innovation in Africa | Invested Development at 00:43:50AM Saturday, February 9, 2013

    [...] “Igniting the invisible:  African Tech Innovation Index” by Gladys Kitony on the iHub Blog The African Innovation Foundation is funding a project to develop a standardized measure of innovation in Africa. The team consists of iHub Research team members along with Masters and PhD candidates from the University of Nairobi.  In addition to compiling an index with African-specific indicators and metrics of innovation, the team will also trace the path of innovation and study what fosters and what hinders it. We’re looking forward to seeing the first iteration. [...]

  • Sunday Reads - Series 01 - 24.02.2013 at 19:47:03PM Sunday, February 24, 2013

    [...] “Igniting the invisible: African Tech Innovation Index” – By Gladys Kitony (iHub [...]


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