Intel Corporation has partnered with the University of Nairobi’s Innovation Hub to launch a tech incubation program aimed at accelerating innovation in Kenya.
The Innovation hub, which will be under Computing for Development Lab(C4DLab), serves as a multi-disciplinary technology hub and incubates technology-driven startups from inception through to growth.
The project is conceived under the custodian program of Africa Technology and Innovation Accelerator (AfTIA) and targets to admit startups founded by students, faculties, and alumni of the University of Nairobi as well as the general public.
“Intel recognizes the role of innovation in driving sustainable growth and as such will continue to invest in young innovators with a view of empowering them to develop solutions for now and the future,” Intel General Manager for East Africa Mr. Danie Steyn said.
The C4DLab will run a set of Design Thinking courses that will help build a large community of user-centric innovators. Design Thinking is an approach used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions.
The concept draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user.
“Using Design Thinking will create a unique opportunity for developers to explore how the Internet of Things (IoT) technology can create solutions that will add value to our society,” said Mr. Steyn.
In supporting the program, Intel will provide Intel Edison developer boards, sensor kits and other hardware to be used in the program, while also supporting the university in the design and development of a curriculum for Design Thinking.
Speaking at the launch, University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Mbithi said the University recognizes its critical role in being at the Centre of the innovation ecosystem on the African continent and has positioned innovation as one of the defining pillars of the University leadership.
“Kenya is uniquely positioned and well-endowed with a promising innovation ecosystem that if well guided and managed, can have a transformative effect in organizations, the country and even the continent,” said Professor Mbithi.
The program is also supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which advocates for open source tools and methodologies, and collaborative incubation accelerators that bring private sector, universities, governments and civil society together to create sustainable solutions to the most pressing challenges faced by children and youth.
According to UNICEF Innovation UnitAcademic partnerships Lead Ms. Norah Maki, partnerships between universities and the private sector create opportunities for young people, who have a unique insight into the challenges that affect their communities.
“Young people have the ability to team up with their local leaders to develop and come up with creative and sustainable solutions,” she added.