Reflections from the Innovation Summit

On 28th and 29th August we had great two days live streaming event of the South African Innovation Summit. The event was co-organized by KINU and Buni(TANZICT). The theme of the local event was “The process of Innovation”, we talked about different issues involving the innovation ecosystem in Tanzania and how can we improve the situation according to the different roles we play in our communities.

The event featured international speakers who were at the main event in South Africa and local audience in Tanzania. We had some local events running jointly with the main SA event. We had different activities involving team working and innovative thinking, some of the games includes marshmallow like challenge involving making a protective device for an egg to protect it from breaking down has it falls from the first floor of the building.

The winning team, in the egg challenge, doing their final touches

We had around 25 attendees of the session, the audience splitted into groups to work into different ideas and discuss the different topics as they are being presented by the international speakers. Among the discussions, we had to brainstorm on how different solutions offered by the speakers can be localized to fit our own innovation ecosystem in Tanzania.

From the discussion we agreed innovation is something that can be developed, nurtured, emphasized and practiced by any community. One of the speakers expressed his views on innovation by saying that, innovation is something that goes very fast, innovation is something that needs to be connected to humanity and require a lot of incentives.

The speakers also talked about the importance of encouraging our communities to produce more innovation groups than consumption groups. People are to be encouraged to invent new things rather than just using consumer products that have been built by other people.

On corporate innovation the speakers advised companies and industries to allow the products and innovations to be hackable and embrace new changes as they occur in real time. The companies should work from the customers background and find a solution or produce a service from there. The companies were encouraged to stop increasing prices of the commodities instead to add value to their commodities that consumer would willingly be ready to pay for their product.

On general innovation, the speaker quoted an important phrase in innovation “ Who said something has to look like something” he gave an example of flat bottomed watermelons in a box shape and compare with round watermelons and explained how the innovative thinking has add the value to the product and make the customers willing to pay extra for the same commodity. He gave example of banks, shopping malls, paint cans and other stuffs built innovatively and how they can influence customers decision.

Day 2 started with a team role test for the attendees so see how they can best work as part of a team. The test was among the thrilling experience to the attendees most of the audience agreed with the results of the test, some of them even confessed that actually the person described on the team role test resemble them exactly.

We worked on innovation and prototyping, the aim was to understand on how you can come up with an innovative product that can first work with the five senses of the human being, meet the local African environment and eco-friendly products that can not harm the environment.

The facilitators came with an exercise that, we have to design a prototype of a phone meeting those criterias, draw it on the flip charts and explain to the audience on how our prototype is the best from others. The session was very interesting, we had a lot of fun. Lot of crazy mobile phone ideas pops up. We realize by working together and force ourselves to think we can come up with a lot of innovative product that can be used in our local communities.

One of the group doing a design exercise, creating a mobile using all five senses

We watched one more live streaming video from SA during lunch. After lunch we had another cool session on the “Tanzania Innovation Ecosystem” . We distributed ourselves into groups, each groups acting as stakeholder in the ecosystem. We had six groups of stakeholders; universities, government, financial sectors, tech community, innovators and accelerators. Each groups realized their roles, challenges facing their daily activities and the possible solutions to those challenges.

There was a lot of interactions and networking between individuals. People discussed on how they can work together in the future and implement some stuffs. The audience were very happy with the session and the summit was the best platform for them to meet and discuss about global innovation with Tanzanian perspective.

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