In his most recent book, ‘Harambee: The Spirit of Innovation in Africa’ (HSRC, October 2021) Mike Bruton argues that the key quality of African innovation is that it is expressed at all three levels, from high- to middle- to low-tech, simultaneously as the needs and wants of its people dictate. High-tech innovations blend seamlessly into mid-tech innovations, while the underbelly of low-tech innovations continues to proliferate. The different levels feed into one another to create a unique mix that generates solutions that solve, or strive to solve, the problems on the continent.
This ‘step ladder’ of innovations also promotes the upskilling of African innovators so that they can eventually become global players even if they have had humble beginnings. African innovation is also characterized by its exuberance and spontaneity, its flouting of the rules, and its homegrown agenda. He also argues that creativity is often sparked in the resource-strapped environments in which many African innovators are forced to work. Mike recounts that most young people in Africa, especially girls, have experienced failure as well as discrimination and inequality during their short lives and learned to cope with it. They have learned that failing often and quickly, and getting up and starting again, is a far more beneficial lesson in life than nearly always succeeding.
Join Mike in a webinar that explores the complexity of Africa’s creativity and examines how this can be exploited for technology advancement. During the talk he will give examples to support his arguments