The University of Nairobi hosted an innovation forum dubbed, ‘The role of Universities in Kenya’s innovation ecosystem”. It is a first of the quarterly innovation forums that will culminate to Nairobi innovation week 2016 and beyond.
In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Peter Mbithi said that as a leading University in the region, we recognize the critical role we have to play at the center of the innovation ecosystem on the African continent. Therefore, the management has positioned innovation as one of the defining pillars of their leadership. These innovation forums will be part of the effort to nurture an innovative culture for students, staff and partners.
He further noted, “We also recognize that innovation will not just happen. Rather, it takes a disciplined, focused and dedicated effort to identify gaps in society, generate alternative ideas, manage these ideas, develop prototypes to be tested, develop business models around them, engage users and finally scale them.”
During his keynote speech, the CEO of Konza Technocity, Engineer John Tanui said that to remain globally competitive as a country, the industry and the academia must work closely to produce innovative solutions that are scalable to solve the challenges that we face. He said there is need to increase the university - industry interaction. This way, opportunities to broaden professional expertise and stimulate innovation are created. Exposing students to more practical experiences will yield the desired results of an industrialized economy that spurs growth and development.
Eng. John Tanui, CEO, Konza Technocity, Prof. Bitange Ndemo, Associate professor, School of Business, UON, Joe Ogutu, Strategy and Innovation Director, Safaricom and Dr. Tony Omwansa, Director, C4D Lab, UoN, formed the panel.