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Report – Open Innovation Africa Summit, 2010

The first-ever Open Innovation Africa Summit which was held in Naivasha, Kenya from Nov, 29th – Dec 1st, 2010 brought together over 200 thought leaders and innovators from 25 countries across the world to stimulate critical thinking about the role of innovation in sustainable socio-economic development and to contribute to creating a conducive environment for innovative entrepreneurial activity in Africa.

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The key goal of the summit was to promote the creation of new innovation services and collaboration models, which align public and private sector stakeholder and embed end-used driven co-creation and open innovation as critical elements in African innovation systems. The Summit generated actionable ideas and recommendations for the gathered public policy specialists, researchers, academia, entrepreneurs, government representatives, ICT experts and financiers to take forward in their respective contexts for positive social impact.
200 African thought leaders gathered for the event, which was spearheaded by Nokia, Capgemini and The World Bank.

“Every individual in this room already possesses an answer”.

This was just one of the interesting quotes displayed in the plenary hall throughout the Summit. True to this, delegates came up with a joint vision for an innovation ecosystem and sought to foster trust between stakeholders. This was partly through building networks and establishing partnerships to stimulate collaboration. Delegates also highlighted critical policy recommendations and best practices in sustainable, open innovation as well as the vital role played by mobile and other technologies in building an information society and stimulating entrepreneurship.
Fours thematic areas of African Innovation were the main topics of discussion amongst the participants. The topics were:

One area I found very interesting was – Room for High-tech Thinking:
Innovation entrepreneurship in Africa would also benefit greatly from designated innovation hubs “i-hubs” that provide the infrastructural and knowledge links across the region and make use of various technologies to stay abreast of global trends. Already, a number of African countries have set up “i-hubs”. Increasing interest in the role of the internet and growing capacity in the development and use of mobile technologies on the continent provides fertile ground for Africa to compete effectively in the technological marketplace.

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