‘Harvesting Innovation in Small Business Solutions’ – SME Toolkit Conference
The Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan African University, Nigeria brought together over 200 participants at its maiden SME Toolkit Conference as part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week celebration in Nigeria. Trainers, users, experts, content and service providers all came together in an attempt to redefine and scale the use of the toolkit by more SMEs.
The toolkit in my view is a powerful personal assistant for small businesses as it provides them access to enormous resources ranging from software, business forms, tools, training and much more.
The event kicked off with the stream titled “Emerging Web and Mobile Innovations” which i happened to be a panelist on alongside Mayowa Owolabi (Dudu Mobile) and Sunday Ojuolape of Life Entrepreneur Institute. The stream focused on how the trends in web and mobile applications could be leveraged to improve access to the tool by SMEs who are often disadvantaged and with limited Internet access.
Expectations were high as the panelists were handed the role of suggesting possible indication and direction for which innovation around the toolkit should go given their knowledge of web and mobile development. While impressive suggestions were made by the panelist, it was an excellent opportunity for me to apply a bit of the co-creation paradigm in a real life situation. Setting the scene with the introduction and contribution of all panelist (including moi), i reiterated the need for users and stakeholders to engage in a process through which innovation around the tool is generated based on real value and needs of the users and stakeholders.
The rest was history as the session became highly interactive with the toolkit users openly expressing their love and disappointments with the tool but equally proposing ways of correcting the disappointments. The experience while short demonstrated the importance of creating solutions with people and not AT people. The openess of the stream also trickle down to other sessions as participants became more vocal and involved in the whole meeting.
I look forward to learning more about how collective intellingence and involvement of stakeholders in design/development process can help improve quality of solutions in Nigeria.
Will endeavour to be back tomorrow.