Innovators in Africa are yet to fulfil their potential, write Moses Alobo and Simon Ndoria
American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson’s practical adage, “build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”, held true in the days of the Industrial Revolution, where the key to success as an innovator was having a better production concept than your competitors. Whether such simplicity holds true in the modern world is less clear with things like convenience, customer service and after-sales support coming into play.
Researchers in Africa are doing an incredible job at making breakthrough discoveries and innovations—creating fantastic ‘mousetraps’—but few have translated into products and services that solve Africa’s most daunting challenges. For innovations coming from researchers in Africa to have real impact on economies and communities, researchers have to beat their own path out of their laboratories to the market. Therein lies the challenge.