WINNER – Open Innovation Africa Summit Ideation Competition

Yes, this is coming weeks later than planned but best late than never. This particular track will initiate the documentation of my participation at the recently concluded Open Innovation Africa Summit organised by Nokia, Cap Gemini and InfoDev – World Bank.

The event led by Nokia was one of its kind and quite ambitious. The aim was to network around 200 thought leaders in Africa ” to promote the creation of new innovation services and collaboration models, which ensure continuous alignment between different players of the innovation ecosystem as well as to embed end-user driven co-creation and open innovation as critical elements to African innovation systems.

…while i was already invited as one of the 200 thought leaders to this event, i chose to also participate in the ideation competition which was meant to identify 8 top contributors to be invited to the summit. As the title of this post suggest, I WON:-).

“Selection was based on the quality of ideas, participation and interaction on the website, and the appreciation of the issues and challenges at hand”

…and my idea? is an extension of my thinking around building a vibrant innovaton ecosystem in Africa to harness the energy behind the budding social innovation movement for economic prosperity.

Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Platform

A platform that provides a new way of working for stakeholders (social innovators, government, businesses, through leaders e.t.c) and an opportunity to position government and businesses closer together to generate more innovative solutions to major societal and policy challenges.

By bringing together local stakeholders on Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, the platform will enable the integration of a range of resources and better coordination of policy and support to harness the developments in the space for the benefit of the continent, resulting in a step change in Africa.

The objectives of the proposed platform are as follows:

- Activating Social Innovation
- Garnering support from different sectors and policy makers for Social Innovation
- Creating Platform to fertilise and accelerate Social Innovation in Africa
- Establishing contextualised metrics and models for assessing impact of Social Innovation and – ROI (return on investment)
- Propagating a culture of seeking alternative solutions to addressing social problems

Possible initial activities of the platform:

- Thought leadership on Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Africa (context through specfic research projects and collaborative papers)

- Policy dialogues on Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

- Entrepreneurial training and support for Social Innovators

- Building local networks of Social Innovators and their supporters and facilitating interaction within the network through events and discussion fora

- Connecting to international networks e.g Social Innovation eXchange ( for sharing of best case practices and insights

- Lead the establishment of a SOCIAL INNOVATION FUND for inventors (drawing resources from a wide range of stakeholders including companies, government andd international donors)

- Build and test models and metrics for assessing impact of Social Innovation and returns

…and lastly the rationale for this platform:

The popularity of social enterprise – business with social mission – is surging and the number of social enterprises is growing around the world. But its hard enough to start a successful business; founding a social enterprise that must compete in the marketplace and create social impact is an even taller order.

This growing army of socially minded entrepreneurs working at the grassroots of our society in the space between private and public sectors are creating innovative solutions to some of the world’s pressing social challenges. With increasing concerted efforts to achieve the MDGs in sustainable manner, social entrepreneurs bring innovative application of business methods to find new solutions to problems such as quality of education, combating corruption, deepening democracy, poverty alleviation, citizen engagement in governance e.t.c

To harness the energy and potentials of this movement for economic prosperity in Africa, we propose the establishment of an ecosystem to create an enabling environment for Innovation and Social Entrpreneurship to flourish in Africa (Africa Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Platform).

15. December 2010 by 'Bosun Tijani
Categories: blog post | Leave a comment