The University of Nairobi students and the youth in general have been challenged by the industry players to rise up and build scalable solutions that will solve problems in the society. This was during the public lecture at Taifa Hall on Tuesday, February, 23, 2016.
Speaking during the lecture , Eng. John Tanui, Chief Executive Officer, Konza City Technopolis urged students to join in the innovation ecosystem and develop systems that will be disruptive not just on Kenyan soils, but within the African continent and globally.
Citing the example of Uber, the global taxi company that was launched in about 58 countries worldwide and has received warm reviews from consumers and facing uproar from traditional taxis, Eng. Tanui challenged students to be rise up and plug into the innovation ecosystem and help Kenya compete with technology giants like South Korea by building scalable solutions.
Eng. Tanui noted that Universities can play a big role in the innovation ecosystem by collaborating with the industry to enable students learn from the industry as they develop networks, learn new ideas that will help them in their innovation endeavours.
The academia was also challenged to align their programs to the industry needs. The university was also called upon to register their patents and to commercialize their research findings. The industry players like Kenya Private Sector Alliance was also called upon to support the academia as they seek to commercialize their innovations.
On his part, Prof. Peter Mbithi, the Vice-Chancellor, noted that the university is at the fore-front of creating the innovation ecosystem. "Innovation takes discipline, effort and virtually anybody can do it, you don't need to be a professor or a student. You can identify the gaps in the ecosystem," he said. He noted that going forward the students can develop prototypes, business models and commercialize their ventures. He observed that together with Konza City, the University can create synergy.
Present during the discussions include Prof. Bitange Ndemo, from the School of Business, Dr. Tonny Omwanza from the School of Computing and Informatics and Mr. Joseph Ogutu, Director, Strategy and Innovation, Safaricom Limited.