How Innovation Is All About People, Places, and Community



Imagine yourself in a room full of individuals from across different countries and continents all excited to interact over a period of 2 days, all thirsty for knowledge, connecting, sharing and learning from each others experiences.

Such was the atmosphere last week at the Nairobi Garage during the “What makes a city a ‘hub’ for innovation?” Learning from Nairobi, was a workshop organized by Amani Institute, Social Innovation Exchange and Hivos. It attracted individuals from as far as Brazil, Cambodia & India amongst others in addition to our fellow curious and skilled Kenyan locals like I all looking to learn more about Social Innovation.

Being naïve in the subject matter, I looked forward to workshop to learn more about: what is social innovation?” The excitement in the room was only a tip of the iceberg with participants tweeting their excitement, selfies with the new acquaintances and business cards exchanging hands with a more long-term relationship waiting to explode amongst like-minded individuals passionate about both Impact & Profit. Yes, Impact and Profit can be in one sentence.

As a takeaway, Innovation is a sum-total of:

1. People – You and I are the carriers of ideas of the next big idea that will both change and positively affect our personal lives and those around us for the good. Ideas and change do not exist in a vacuum; it’s upon us to exercise our creativity, critical thinking and collaborate.

2. Places – An environment where like-minded people meet, share and interact is vital for ideas to be shared and also where they can receive feedback and iterate until a product is found. The environment can be a hub; co-working space, rooftop or any conducive space where creative people can meet often and call “home”.

3. Community / Resources – With individuals and a common place to meet and discuss, this gives birth to a community that is able to create and shape its destiny. In addition, with support such as from government, with the right policies and incentives in place, available tools such as the Microsoft 4Afrika Initiative to support entrepreneurs, the needed catalyst is ignited to helping realize this goals and ideas which translate to opportunities and a source of livelihood behind the people creating the change.

“There are no dreams too large, no innovation unimaginable and no frontiers beyond our reach” ~ John S.Herrington

This is a guest post by Douglas Ogeto.

%d bloggers like this: