My R4i Experience: ABRAHAM KEHINDE AWORINDE (PhD)

From First Technical University, Ibadan

Whenever the unstoppable innovation hits the unmovable invention, the inadvertent result will always be a breakthrough. This seems to be the heart of the matter at the Research for Impact initiative: a planet of its own, where boxes are completely deleted, making everyone to think, not within the box or outside the box, but without any box at all.

Innov8 Hub is a home of wild thinkers, mindblowers, trailblazers, game changers, and great luminaries. Here, it becomes clear to me that Nigeria is still in the oven with some group of great innovators cooking on it.

“What is the difference between invention and innovation?” As those words fell on my ears from one of the astute facilitators, my dictionary became useless. How can there ever be any difference between these two long-assumed synonyms? And a glaring difference at that! I became agitated. One after the other, from the smallest to the greatest, gender immaterial, each one of those who led impactful sessions took me to another space in the learning world, leaving no stone unturned. Through their fun-filled revelatory approach to teaching, it became very clear that tertiary institutions in Nigeria, my university inclusive, have the great task of keeping their shelves empty going forward.

The culture of application of technology without demand-driven products must give way to innovation driven by genuine human needs and meaningful societal impact; permanently shutting the door on supply-driven innovation, which to me is no innovation at all. Poco a poco, it is surreptitiously becoming very clear that my academic research articles are not what my nation really needs to get out of the woods. Interestingly, lecturers’ research articles seem not to be what their owners really need to live the life of their dreams. Very strange yet totally true! My attendance at the Research for Impact initiative, R4i as we stylishly call it, showed me that societal problems cannot be truly solved by sitting in front of a laptop screen for days or months to generate a twelve- page write-up for publication.

Now, I have the solution; I am billed for agile innovation with continuous creativity; I am poised to write unbeatable value propositions; my founders’ agreement must be ready soon; I am ready to fly. But then, I heard a mother-like whisper from behind asking me to beware of a crash landing for lack of emotional intelligence.

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