BIH calls for innovation driven economy

Andrew Maramwidze BG correspondent
Friday, 26 October 2018
BIH CEO, Allan Boshwaen BIH CEO, Allan Boshwaen

Botswana Innovation Hub (BIH) has challenged the nation to move away from its conservative mindset, embrace technology and innovation for the local economy to blossom.BIH Chief Executive Officer, Alan Boshwaen has said the country should fully participate in the ongoing fourth industrial revolution coiled around internet of things (IoT) and data.

“Technology is moving so fast and we have to align ourselves and be willing recipients,” said Boshwaen.He said although initially the revolution was about technology, horizons have expanded, challenging entrepreneurs to create not only new types of businesses but add value to existing industries.

“Innovation is the ability to deliver new value to your customers,” said Boshwaen, adding that innovation is idle until someone is willing to pay for it.Boshwaen implored the nation to innovate the local culture, so that citizens can be at the forefront of innovation.
“Culture of innovation is to share creativity, using the tools available to us.”

BIH believes innovation should be hinged to the country’s features such as the fact that Botswana is a large and landlocked country with a small population, dominated by young people faced with unemployment challenges and whose industry is at infancy stage. In addition, the country boasts of a high mobile penetration rate.

“We have to figure out how to use these to create value for the economy. And organise the framework around which ideas are created through networking platforms and promote collaborations,” said Boshwaen, highlighting that the nation needs to identify the confluence of factors that can drive the country’s innovation culture.

Dimension Data Chief Executive Officer, Onnayang Marumo shares Boshwaen’s sentiments and believes more dialogue around the digital revolution is a must for the nation.“The change is coming and is coming at a high speed,” said Marumo, citing that artificial intelligence (AI), internet of things (IoT) and blockchain are disrupting economies at a large scale.

She said AI is changing the way in which companies innovate and communicate processes and products, highlighting that beyond 2020, the world will witness a lot of automation.“By 2020, there will be more than 50 billion things connected to the internet,” said Marumo, highlighting that blockchain will have the same impact that internet had in 1993.

“It is a lot more than Bitcoin. We are only left with two choices, to disrupt or be disrupted,” remarked Marumo. Marumo said the fourth industrial revolution is rapid and insensitive since it has already made some professions invalid, urging career curriculum developers to also start making forecast. “Skills that are not yet here, will be required tomorrow,” said Marumo, calling for different stakeholders to start asking what the right curriculum is for the future.

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