In Summary

  • My visit to Strathmore was necessitated by a visiting Japanese team of scholars from Doshisha University, in Kyoto
  • For us to be more innovative, there must be a collision of minds.  I leant this from a TED talk by Stephen Johnson, entitled, “Where do good ideas come from?”
  • Strathmore University in collaboration with Solar E-Cycles Kenya Ltd, have come up with a new product dubbed SOLAR CARGO BIKE in their mobility product line

To succeed in entrepreneurship, one must plan or think about the next paradigm shift that will change business.

Then you must create value out of the situation. 

Strathmore’s Energy Research Centre is gearing up to change business and life by taking advantage of the shifting paradigm in the energy sector. As the university inches closer to starting engineering courses, it is taking a different path from existing institutions by focusing on applied science. 

In seeking to create value by exploiting physical resources, knowledge and creating new energy products, processes and service, they are indeed staying ahead of the competition through constant improvement and innovation. 

Falling prices of green energy products have made it possible for ordinary citizens to access and afford energy, and the institution is developing enviable local capacity to take its programs higher. 

My visit to Strathmore was necessitated by a visiting Japanese team of scholars from Doshisha University, in Kyoto, who arrived in Kenya to look into areas of collaboration with their engineering program.

Geoffrey Ronoh, Manager at Strathmore Energy Research Centre, explains how a three-phase solar energy supply works to Prof Agola and Prof Takashi both from Doshisha University, Japan and Prof Bitange Ndemo, University of Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY

Most institutions across the world have changed, or are changing, their engineering programs into an integrated framework that incorporates social and cognitive processes which combine innovative teaching methods with an industry-oriented curriculum. 

For example, students in water engineering who intend to solve water problems will stay with a community to understand its problems before they move into design thinking and provide an eventual solution. It requires combined knowledge to deal with most problems.

The inside of the 600KVA production that is used for training purposes. PHOTO | COURTESY

It is this kind of teaching that lacks in local universities, which largely focus on theory. Upon graduation, the students are hardly employable and are less innovative. 

For us to be more innovative, there must be a collision of minds.  I leant this from a TED talk by Stephen Johnson, entitled, “Where do good ideas come from?”

Johnson’s thesis in this video is that for really great and innovative ideas to make it to reality, they need to collide with other ideas to refine them. It is the group activity that leads to innovation.

Several other researchers like Amabile and Khaire corroborate Johnson’s views by asserting that enhancing creativity is not the sole fount of ideas. One must encourage collaboration to enhance diversity, accepting the inevitability and utility of failure and motivate with intellectual challenge. 

To be more effective, there is need to map the stages of creativity and attend to their different needs. In most cases, multidisciplinary approaches are more effective.

STRUGGLING HAWKERS

The national dream of becoming an industrialised nation starts with capacity-building around innovation and creativity.  With the many problems that we have in our environment, we have the best opportunity to solve our problems as well as those in other countries. 

Page 1 of 2