By Chinenye Anuforo
Information and Communication Technology stakeholders who converged at Union Bank Nigeria’s innovation Hub, SpaceNXT, have re-echoed that cooperative competition (Coopetition) will help innovators in Nigeria achieve more.
The speakers at the maiden Nigeria Innovation Talks (NiX) Talk, as part of activities for the weeklong Nigeria Innovation Summit in Lagos, explored their experiences and emphasized the dynamics of the future of the workplace.
The participants also explored how development in tech has transformed the models of work and how the innovation ecosystem is adjusting to the current realities.
Professor Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), said that the government has taken critical steps to harness the potential of its digital economy through co-created regulations and provide enabling environment for growth.
The EVC who spoke through Dr. Austine Nwaulune, Director, Digital Economy at the Commission, reemphasized that since the renaming of the Federal Ministry of Communications to Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami and heads of agencies under the Ministry are working assiduously to make the digital economy sector more attractive to innovators.
He added that steps to provide cover the startup ecosystem is now at the final stage as the recently passed Nigeria Startup Bill by National Assembly will help institutionalize legal frameworks that will enhance the growth of startups easily, quickly and conveniently in the country.
Speaking at the event, Efunbolanle Hughes, Team Lead, Digital Innovation at Union Bank Nigeria, said the hub was convinced as a nest for innovators to encourage collaboration within the tech ecosystem in Nigeria.
She said: “SpaceNXT is not limited in innovation. We work with partners to innovate on solutions that we are deploying in the market. At the same time, we are open to the public like our demo lab is open to users to test their ideas. We also have community based events – where we invite experts to meet with young experts.
“It is a launching pad for innovators to collaborate, develop and improve on ideas around digital systems and technology.
“Post NIS 2022, we will continue to support innovation and collaborate with the industry. The conversations will continue which is the essence of Cooperation. We will achieve much if we collaborate more”.
Speaking at the event, the Head of Channels, Digital and Innovation at Union Bank, Mr. Akoh Ochai, added that as a traditional financial institution who is leveraging on technology, the enormous possibilities tech portends has made the institution more open to ideas and innovation which would may open up better opportunities
“As a bank that provides financial services and also leverages technology, although we are a traditional bank, we are also a fintech and we also know that there is a point where we have to put out a proposition where we can attract team leads, creators, and where we can actually collaborate and do a lot of inspiring things together and hopefully scale.
“So for us, it is a statement to say that we focus on tech and innovation to build a community of experts and also interact with collaborators of people in the ecosystem. We would continue to do what we are doing and we would be collaborating to see how we can actually build solutions,” he said.
Adding to the discussion, painter and sculptor, Abinoro Akporode Collins noted that with the growth from traditional methods of work, the world has grown to become a marketplace where the need to create value is the essential element of the future.
“When you have a product or an idea, you need an environment where it can be nurtured. It is not just materially but realising success for isn’t in figures but how much you are able to impact people,” he said
Founder of SpaceFinish an architecture and design firm, Mr Remo Dada, advised startup founders on a paradigm shift from reactive to proactive response to innovation.
He emphasized that strategic planning will bring clear-cut benefits for such startups; creating values and improving their competitiveness.
With specific emphasis on SpaceFinish’s activities, he said the future is bright for the design company that is launching a technology solution for $800 billion ‘Home Improvement’ market in the United States. “65 per cent of people want a hybrid workspace”, Remi said.
“We never tell our clients we would make their workplace look pretty. It’s an image they want to portray. When you pitch that, you are pitching value and when you are pitching value, you attract client’s attention”, he said.
In her contribution, Unyime Etura, Area Operations Manager, Lagos at SYNLAB Nigeria, said that the company is synonymous with innovation in healthcare.
She that, from SYNLAB Nigeria’s network of medical professionals to the state-of-the-art equipment they offer only the best laboratory services.
“SYNLAB has the largest, most comprehensive test offering in Africa. We are able to support our doctors and our patients in ways not possible before. Together, we are building a stronger healthcare system in Nigeria and we are open to working with innovators in the healthtech space to be part of the change”, Etura said.
This year’s Nigeria Innovation Summit (NIS) is themed: “Re-imagining Innovation”, with key highlights including the novel Nigeria Innovation Experience Talks (NiX Talks); Press Parley, Innovation Tours, Innovation Awards, the Grand Summit and Private Dinner with key C-Suites, stakeholders & policymakers.
Tony Ajah, Programme Director at Nigeria Innovation Summit, said that over the years, the Summit brings together stakeholders from different sectors of the economy to discuss ground-breaking ideas, trends, opportunities and numerous verticals to accelerate innovation, attain globally competitiveness and explore present innovative approaches to fixing existing problems, redundant economic playbooks, systems and structures.
Since inception, NIS has recorded thousands of participants, cutting across governments, industry leaders, founders, lawmakers, policymakers, C-Suites, foreign diplomats and key stakeholders, who grace the highly remarkable event annually, to steer pertinent conversations around innovation, research and development, emerging technologies, frontier markets and industrial disruptions occurring in Nigeria and other African countries.