Thesis #4. Physical Space Matters for Innovation

GESCI set out to develop a model for a multi-stakeholder HUB in supporting and promoting digital creative industries in East Africa. A research was conducted which included an inquiry of “The Sound of the City” project, identifying SWOT analysis points and issues identification on the situation of Kenya’s innovation ecosystem. This research was based on case studies on three African hubs and an impact sourcing center, we certainly achieved an applicable result of numerous suggestions for the GESCI-AKE team.

Case study IHub

This blog post features a review on a Kenyan innovation hub named iHub, based on the materials collected from iHub’s website and Marchant’s (2015) case study on Kenya’s ICT innovation. The review is concluded with how GESCI can learn from the strengths of iHub and improve on its weaknesses.

The genesis of iHub in Kenya was born from the eagerness for a physical innovation space for the growing community of programmers and developers, who felt disjointed in the existing innovation ecosystem. iHub’s mission is to catalyze and grow the Kenyan tech community by connecting different stakeholders, supporting startups, and surfacing valuable information to the community. iHub is now a co-working space for technologists, investors, young entrepreneurs, designers, researchers, and programmers, where companies spring up, products are funded, people get connected, and where innovation thrives.

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Case study CCHUB

CcHub shortly describe themselves as Nigeria’s first open living lab and pre-incubation space designed to be a multi-functional, multi-purpose space where work to catalyze creative social tech ventures take place. The Hub facilitates projects which yield technological products or services that are aimed at finding solutions to the many social problems in Nigeria.

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Case study Digital Jobs Africa

Digital Jobs Africa, which is founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, aims at “connecting Africa’s rapidly growing youth population with sustainable employment opportunities”1. The Rockefeller Foundation is a philanthropic organization and private foundation based in New York, US. The foundation focuses on “creating meaningful and measurable impact for poor and vulnerable communities through smart globalization”2, and at the moment the organization has multiple projects going on in Africa: for example, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa3 and Disease Surveillance Networks4.

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Case study Mlab

MLab South Africa living lab is taking advantage of the trend of growing use of mobile phones and different applications, happening all around Africa. They offers entrepreneurs and mobile developers help with developing new and creative innovations in the form of mobile applications and services. In practice, they offer help with learning to code, hiring developers and finding funding. mLab offers a shared space for entrepreneurs to network, have the possibility to use different tools needed for their work, receive consultation from experts and finally, start up their own business.

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