One among the major assets of a country or an organization is the incremental innovation activities and their impact on their Economy. Africa, as we all know is a developing nation. But considering the amount of natural resources they hold they should been on the top of the world long time ago. Unfortunately their slavery ended much later than on other continents. They are coming back on the track !

UN, World Bank, IMF and other NGO’s have offered great help to build up the nation which was backward even with respect to the GDP and even basic amenities. Now they are one of the fastest growing nations. I read a quote some that went like, Innovation comes from limitation and scarcity. When you have limited resources and you have much to achieve you walk forward as a nation by over coming difficulties.  There cannot be any compromise over such activities.

As we understand, the nation’s or an organization or a community will always have limited resources. ECON C 101 :).

To Quote an example, William Kamkwamba and the wind mill is the best example one can give. One of the impressive writings from him is “The Boy who harnessed the wind”. Its a story about how he used the limited resources he had to solve a problem in the community. More people were inspired after reading his writing. Book

Most of the innovations in Africa are around irrigation, agriculture, Energy Harvesting, Health Care and Tools used in the daily life. Dont live with the problem, try to find a solution for it.

You can find more information in these websites.

This initiative is very good. A list of projects is here under.

  • A pedal powered hacksaw for the disabled
  • Recycling car batteries in Rural Kenya
  • Solution for Nairobi Blackouts
  • Football: Made in Africa
  • A Wearable Flexible Solar Panel Vest and many more….

Ethan Zuckerman has written a beautiful blog on the proceedings related to Africa and Innovation. You can find it here.

He has written 7 rules of innovation which are below.

  • Innovation (often) comes from constraint (If you’ve got very few resources, you’re forced to be very creative in using and reusing them.)
  • Don’t fight culture (If people cook by stirring their stews, they’re not going to use a solar oven, no matter what you do to market it. Make them a better stove instead.)
  • Embrace market mechanisms (Giving stuff away rarely works as well as selling it.)
  • Innovate on existing platforms (We’ve got bicycles and mobile phones in Africa, plus lots of metal to weld. Innovate using that stuff, rather than bringing in completely new tech.)
  • Problems are not always obvious from afar (You really have to live for a while in a society where no one has currency larger than a $1 bill to understand the importance of money via mobile phones.)
  • What you have matters more than what you lack (If you’ve got a bicycle, consider what you can build based on that, rather than worrying about not having a car, a truck, a metal shop.)
  • Infrastructure can beget infrastructure (By building mobile phone infrastructure, we may be building power infrastructure for Africa.)