Africas in ”innov’action”, who benefits from innovation and creativity?
For companies, collaborative innovation events are seen as means to stimulate innovation in a very short time period and at a low cost. They are easily to maintain over time and at the same time it reduces the time to market. For companies, it’s also an opportunity to adress a considerable number of innovators, startups. For entrepreneurs, events make it possible to accelerate project development by facilitating access to the first customer, new partners, additional resources, especially financial and incubation ones. Ultimately, this benefits everyone.
Collaborative innovation events play an important role in innovation processes, inspiring experiences and entrepreneurial journeys.
The phenomenon of organizing, hackathons, bootcamps, innovation challenges, become increasingly important the digital ecosystem in Africa.
The TED talks dynamize the conference format to share inspiring experiences. The Hold-Up are collective creativity workshops lasting a few hours to solve a management problem of a social entrepreneur. The Startup Weekends aim to give birth in one weekend to new businesses in all fields. Hackathons take the form of two-day team competitions to transform an idea or concept into a prototype of concrete applications to be commercialized in the following months after the event. The ”Innovation Challenges” are idea race organized mostly via crowdsourcing platforms, on various topics, over several days or weeks. Sprints are small week-long workshops to design and test innovation projects using the Design Thinking methodology. Bootcamps last several months, on the model of army classes, to acculturate a group to innovation. The Bootcamp originally refers to extreme training sessions of the US armed forces lasting several days. Bootcamp – a word taken from the armies’ vocabulary by Startups, means working in a limited space and time.
‘“Let’s not be « yes-men » of the ecosystem”, dixit Basile Niane says.
Basile Niang is an IT Journalist, Blogger, Digital Consultant and CEO Socialnetlink.org. These events, whose objective is to provide young students or startups with the opportunity to win prizes or to be mentored, have now become bait for well-crafted ideas conceived by this very dynamic new generation. Still, Basile Niang believes that many companies and large subsidiaries use these “advertising channels” to steal (in his own words), skills and to feed their own structure. This method would be the biggest brake on the development of our startups in Africa,” he says. “how many are there, -these young startups- running after a competition behind a broken promise of a subsidiary and then find themselves in a precarious situation afterwards? How many are these young startups, who, after a contest, have been acclaimed everywhere and at the end find themselves at the starting point for lack of strategies and means”.
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