Accra: CSI hosts 60 open innovation researchers from across Africa and Canada


Picture courtesy: Open AIR

Open AIR Network Panel Discussion to be held in Accra, Ghana on Thursday, 8th February 2018, as part of the transition conference slated for 8-10 February, 2018. The Centre for Social Innovations (CSI) will host this event.

The Open African Innovation Research (Open AIR) Partnership is helping African innovators, creators and entrepreneurs turn knowledge into concrete practices that have the potential to transform economies and drive human development forward. Funded by Canada’s IDRC, SSHRC, and QES, the network is administered from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, with additional hubs in West, East and North Africa, and Canada. Its experts are working in a number of different counties throughout the continent, in collaboration with partners elsewhere in the world.

Open AIR has chosen Accra to hold their Transition Workshop, the purpose of which is to assess the progress of the past 3 years, and, as a networked community, decide on the way forward for the next 4 years.

Below are highlights of some of the research areas that the panel discussion will dwell on;

  • Making in Southern Africa: We have identified 28 maker collectives operating in universities, government buildings, and private homes across South Africa. Our researchers have published a working paper on maker collectives in Gauteng province, which considers the dynamics of the maker movement as a contributor to informal innovation. They offer a framework for understanding makerspaces and their relationship to innovation


  • Making in East Africa: Our first publication on tech hubs shows the entire country of Kenya has emerged as a place where startup companies are congregating in several clusters, especially in a few Nairobi neighborhoods. Our emerging researchers have led Open AIR’s research on Kenyan makerspaces, identifying 7 makerspaces located in Nairobi, Mombasa, and Kisumu.


  • Making in North Africa: Researchers at the Access to Knowledge for Development Center (A2K4D) at the American University of Cairo are conducting a case study of informal innovation occurring in makerspaces. Our team of researchers are developing new metrics to measure informal innovation.


  • Making in West Africa: Our researcher Yaw Adu-Gyamfi is leading an Open AIR case study of informal innovation in Suame Magazine, an informal industrial area located in Kumasi, Ghana. His research found that artisans report being unable to keep pace with technological developments. The study explores ways to support innovation, including using the maker movement to enhance collaboration and provide opportunities to learn digital technologies.


  • STEM Innovation in Africa: Our researcher Gordon Kwesi Adomdza is leading an Open AIR case study on modeling the dissemination of local STEM Innovation with Ghana as a case study. In this study he seeks s to understand the state of STEM education in Africa, with emphasis on how STEM teachers disseminate STEM knowledge, how they modify this knowledge and share the modifications with others.


  • Biohacking in Africa: Our current research looks at how developing countries cancapitalize on a massive social, technological, and economic shift taking place in the world. Biohacking provides an opportunity for developing countries to tap into science and technology. We explain that Africa is in the best position to tap into the global scientific revolution of biohacking because of its regulatory system and pre-existing mechanisms where the formal sector collaborates with the informal sector.

Venue: ISSER (Institute of Statistical, Social, and Economic Research), College of Humanities, University of Ghana

Time: Thursday 8 February 2018 at 16.00 – 17.00


Please be reminded that this program is strictly by invitation.


By: Yaw Adu-Gyamfi

OpenAIR Collaborator and Host


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