On the 18th and 19th July 2019, the second transnational workshop of the TIP Africa Exploratory Hub took place in Dakar, Senegal, hosted by the Senegalese Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI) & the University of Dakar.   After spending the last five months working separately on their individual case studies, this workshop was a chance for the three associate countries – Ghana, Kenya, and Senegal – to share emerging insights, learnings and challenges from their work so far.

The first day opened with a presentation from TIPC Founder and Director Professor Johan Schot, who gave a brief overview of TIP principles and theory.   This was Schot’s first time with the TIP Africa Hub since the initial launch, and he commented on the countries’ remarkable progress since December last year.

The rest of the morning was an opportunity for each country to present preliminary findings from their Transformative Innovation Learning History (TILH), an in-depth exploration of one particular case study with transformative potential.  The TILH methodology allows participants to map the processes of change and contestation within the case study, and thus develop an understanding of how transformative change occurs.

The Ghanaian team from the Science, Technology and Policy Research Institute (CSIR-STEPRI) shared some of their insights from their case study on e-waste.  Wilhelmina Quaye, Director of CSIR-STEPRI, pointed out the interesting tensions between multiple stakeholders, and the need for dialogue between those who saw e-waste as a “menace” and those whose livelihoods depended on the recycling and re-use of such materials. Following this, the team from the National Commission of Science, Technology and Innovation of Kenya presented findings from their case study on nomadic education.   Boniface Wekesa spoke about the importance of preserving and appreciating nomadic culture, and noted that the project had taken into account the lifestyles of nomadic communities through offering flexible school hours which had been crucial for its success. Finally, Senegal presented their learnings from the Virtual University Senegal.  Fatou Cisse of the Head of Department, Growth and Equity at Consortium for Economic and Social Research spoke about the importance of indigenous knowledge in the case study, as the university is an example of an entirely Senegalese-led and implemented project.

The afternoon was a chance to share feedback and discuss emerging insights as well as regional comparisons across the three case studies.  It was noted there were similar larger themes across the three case studies, such as questions around incorporating a gendered approach to the projects, and balancing competing stakeholders’ views. During the first day, part of the TIPC team met the Senegalese Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation to present the work of the TIP Africa Hub.  The Minister praised the Hub’s work so far, and was particularly interested in the emphasis on collaboration between researchers and policymakers.  The Minister noted that it was crucial that multiple actors were involved in the development of policy, and he was pleased to see that the Hub recognised this.

On the second day, participants broke into country groups to provide detailed feedback on the TIP methodology they had used.  Participants stressed that the participatory, bottom-up approach had been extremely helpful in understanding how transformation works within their own contexts.   Furthermore, the emphasis on co-creation meant that participants felt a strong engagement with the work of TIP Africa Hub. The afternoon was dedicated to planning the final stages of the TIP Africa Hub, where each country will spend the next few months finalising their Transformative Innovation Learning Histories before presenting their findings at the 2019 TIPC Conference in Valencia this coming November. TIP Africa Hub Lead Dr. Chux Daniels closed the workshop by thanking all the participants for their critical engagement and investment in the work done so far, and gave special thanks to the hosts from MESRI.

Dr. Chux Daniels, TIP Africa Hub Lead, said, “The strength of the TIP Africa Hub is that we do not assume solutions will come from the Global North only.  The Global North has a lot to learn about transformation from the African context, and the work of the Hub is demonstrating that.  It will be exciting to share the final outcomes from the project in Valencia.”

Marie Blanche Ting, TIPC researcher, said, “The methodology around TIP is centred on co-creation and co-learning, and it’s been fantastic to see that co-learning has taken place not only within the country teams but also across countries.  As part of the TIPC team, we have also learnt a great deal and further developed our own methodology from the feedback of the hub.”

TIPC Founder Johan Schot said, “The last two days have been a high-quality discussion around Transformative Innovation Policy in the African context. It was especially encouraging to see the high levels of engagement and investment from the Hub members.  TIP Africa Hub is already playing a key role in building a global constituency of TIP policymakers.”