“Creating an Enabling Ecosystem for Resilience Innovations”
The potential for innovation at the universities and communities cannot be under estimated. It is paramount that we stop working in silos, embrace the multi-disciplinary approach and allow each one to contribute to the pool of ideas and projects to more effectively address community challenges. “An innovation should cause positive change in the communities” Prof. William Bazeyo, Dean Makerere University School of Public Health and ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) Chief of Party/Lab Director.
The RAN’s Ignite Innovator Series, is an interactive session hosted by the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RILab) bringing together a community of resilience role models, innovators, agriculturalists, environmental experts, students, faculty, social scientists, policy makers, engineers, behavioral scientists, public health specialists and anthropologists. The evening of February 13th 2015 brought together over 100 such experts working to foster development of creative approaches and practices to address communities’ most pressing challenges.
The innovation bubble has been growing steadily for the past 5years or so and we have witnessed the emergence of impressive solutions like Mobile Money, SMS banking, low cost food preservation methods, resistant hybrid crops, water harvesting and management methods to mention but a few. Some of these have caused a positive change in the communities but others have failed to advance to the next level. And more still some innovations are not targeting strengthening resilience to disasters that present as shocks and stresses in African communities. The rationale for RAN is that although development efforts have saved lives, they have not sufficiently strengthened resilience of the target communities; the same shocks/stresses recur with similar or even worse consequences. RAN seeks to break these negative cycles by tapping into the adaptive capacities of communities to develop innovative solutions.
In this session, answers to questions like; “what is resilience, what is an innovation, what is a resilience innovation? What kind of dimensions/sectors of our society does resilience address? Why are some the current solutions failing? How can we do things differently to strengthen resilience in communities?” were provided. Additionally, during this #Ignite Innovator Series session, the speakers shared acumen into how a resilient ecosystem functions; what it means to be resilient as an individual or community and what opportunities are available for innovators? The improved clarity of such questions and provision of the required tools enhances innovator capacity to develop solutions aimed at improving livelihood, stabilizing household incomes, strengthening food security measures, preparing communities for any shocks and stresses resulting from climate variability, early detection of any possible outbreaks, creating sustainable farming methods with smarter response systems among others. Key among the messages shared was the need for all innovators to seek to know the real community challenges to inform solutions development. “Innovators, go meet, interact and develop the solutions together with the end users. In so doing, the solution is properly aligned to the real community needs and acceptability of the solution by the community members is guaranteed” noted Dr. Dorothy Okello, RAN EA RILab Director.
Innovators among others shared their fear to share their ideas/projects in relation to Intellectual Property rights. Dr. Roy William Mayega, RAN Deputy Chief of Party urged all to reach out and engage Makerere University’s Intellectual Property rights office as a point of first contact. Associate Prof. Moses Galukande in his remarks emphasized the need for innovators and the community at large to work in multi-disciplinary teams. He said “As we work, let us break the silos, work together in order to allow for input from each member. In so doing, innovators address the community challenges in amore holistic and encompassing manner”.
This was a great opportunity to interact, share knowledge and contribute to the innovation world with speakers like; Dr. Roy William Mayega, Deputy Chief of Party RAN, Michael Niyitegeka, Franklin Covey Certified Facilitator with CEMM Group, Dr. Dorothy Okello, Director RAN Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab, Dr. Moses Galukande, Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery, Department of Surgery/ Health Professionals Education Specialist. The speakers took participants through the introduction to resilience/ a synopsis of the RAN resilience framework and opportunities for innovators, the current innovators’ dilema-where are innovators going wrong? and Harnessing institutional resources to innovate. The series are aligned to the rationale for RAN: strengthening resilience to priority shocks and stresses in African communities. RAN seeks to break these negative cycles by tapping into the adaptive capacities of communities to develop innovative solutions.
“Solutions through Innovation”