Kenyan policy leaders build new knowledge community for Transformative Innovation


TIPC joins forces with African Centre for Technology Studies and University of Johannesburg to support emerging community of practice for Transformative Innovation Policy in Kenya.

Le nouveau Transformative Innovation Africa Hub, working in partnership with the DSI/NRF Trilateral Research Chair in Transformative Innovation, the 4th Industrial Revolution and Sustainable Development et le École de commerce de l'Université du Sussex led a two-day workshop in Nairobi this September with local policymakers, research leaders, and entrepreneurs.

The aim was to share learnings across regions and help strengthen local transformative policy approaches.

Over 30 participants joined face-to-face, with many others taking part online. The diverse cohort included representatives from the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, National Commission for Science, Technology, and Innovation, National Research Fund, Climate Innovation Centre, and Ministry of Health.

The pioneering forum was designed to strengthen the community of practice for Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP) in Kenya by showcasing the value of TIP approaches for policy practice in the African context, enabling hands-on interaction with tools from the Laboratoire de ressources TIP, and exploring transformation of climate innovation ecosystems through engagement with the TransCIIT project.

It also provided pathways for further engagement between the STI ecosystem stakeholders in Kenya and the new Africa Hub at the University of Pretoria Future Africa campus.

Dr Chux Daniels, Research Fellow at SPRU and Director of the Hub, set out how it will foster a robust knowledge community on the continent and support regional experimentation during Phase II of TIPC, with practitioners in Kenya contributing to TIP capacity development, research, network building and knowledge management.

‘Regional commitment to the Hub marks a significant step toward advancing transformative innovation in Africa,’ said Dr Daniels. ‘The emerging partnerships and knowledge community promise to catalyse TIP in the region, setting the stage for new thinking about innovation policy for systemic change.’

The TIPC team in Nairobi were joined by contributors online for a number of hybrid sessions. Five case studies were shared, introducing TIP in practice across a range of geographical contexts, including Kenya, Ghana and Senegal, South Africa, Latin America and Europe.

In an interactive learning exercise, participants used the TIP Policy Radar tool from the Resource Lab to evaluate live projects through the lens of Transformative Innovation Policy principles. The session stimulated thinking and discussion on a range of local challenges including affordable housing, co-learning from conventional and indigenous medical practices, science policy development, and commercialisation of agricultural innovations.

Victoria Shaw, TIPC Programme Director and lead for learning, said: ‘It was inspiring to see how the tool captured the imagination of people working on transformative change from very different perspectives. We look forward in the core programme to learning from the work unfolding in Kenya.’