November 13, 2020

Duke Students Light Up Makerere University in Kampala with Innovation

On July 7th, Duke University through the Social Entrepreneurship Accelerator at Duke (SEAD) program, held a “Doblin’s 10 Types of Innovation” workshop at Makerere University in Kampala.

The SEAD program works with nonprofit and for profit global health solutions addressing cost, quality and access issues for low and medium income populations in East Africa and India as part of the Higher Education Solutions Network.

The 4-hour workshop was co-hosted by Makerere’s College of Engineering Design Art and Technology (CEDAT), the Innovation Village and SEAD. The event drew 112 participants including undergraduate students from at least six of the ten major colleges at the oldest learning institution in Eastern and Central Africa as well as students from the neighboring International Health Sciences University Kampala.

The Chief Guest, CEDAT Deputy Principal Dr. Venny Nalubwama in her opening remarks, commended Duke University and the Innovation Village for “providing a learning avenue to the students.” She reiterated that Uganda was one of the most enterprising countries in the world, according to the World Bank, but new enterprises collapse within the first three months of existence. 

Facilitation and moderation of the workshop was done by three Duke University masters’ students Emmy Komada (Business Administration) James Ruggiero (Business Administration) and Caesar Lubangakene (Global Health). The students worked with the SEAD/Innovations in Healthcare team to develop, research and organize the content to facilitate the students at the workshop.

The graduate students presented the 10 Types of Innovation Framework and used their own summer internship attachment organization as models. All three graduate students are placed with East African based health innovators that are part of the SEAD program cohort and the Innovations in Healthcare network. The USAID-funded initiative aims at collaborating academic rigor and inter-disciplinary approaches to development for maximum impact. The organizations where the students are placed are: Kenya’s Jacaranda Health (Emmy), Afya Research Africa (James) and LifeNet Uganda (Caesar).

All through the workshop, the facilitators maintained an interactive session designed to encourage active engagement among the participants. There were many exciting discussions and debates around various innovation topics and ideas. The most outstanding was a long debate between divided participants whether “Rwenzori Water”- Uganda’s leading water bottling company was innovative after learning about Doblin’s 10 Types of Innovation.

The most exciting component of the event according to most participants we spoke to, was the team break-out session where groups of students selected a brand from either a shared list of local East African and global brands, picked an unlisted brand of their choice or crafted a new innovative company of their choice. The students broke out into 12 groups of student teams. The twelve brands that the student teams chose to analyze were:

  • Nemo Rolex (catering services)
  • Coca Cola (beverage) 
  • Fresh Dairy Milk (dairy products)
  • Harris International (beverage)
  • Air BnB (hotel and travel)
  • EcoFuel (biomass fuel)
  • Total (petroleum company)
  • Save for the Future (credit and savings)
  • Tesla Motors (renewable energy and technology)
  • Online Construction Tendering Company (construction)
  • Lipa Mobile (electronic money transfer)

The student teams then applied “Doblin’s 10 Types of Innovation” to cooperatively analyze and understand the types of innovation in the selected companies within assigned teams. After which, all the groups presented their key ideas in relation to the framework to the audience in three minutes and answered questions from the audience about their chosen innovative brands. The top three brands deemed to be most innovative were then selected by the participants through a popular vote to win prizes.

The winners by the popular vote from the audience were Nemo Rolex (catering services), Coca Cola  (beverage), Air BnB (hotel and travel). The three teams each received a brand new copy of Larry Kealy’s Ten Types of Innovation: The Discipline of Building Breakthroughs book. While handing the three prizes to the winning teams, SEAD East Africa’s Regional Director, Dr. Patricia Odero implored the students to use the materials to learn more about innovation and apply them while assessing innovations in companies around the world.

In his closing observations, the University Guild President thanked the students for attending the workshop and acknowledged the organizers for availing the opportunity for the students to learn something new about innovation. He added that innovation and entrepreneurship are the most vital aspects in improving prospects of self-reliance and employment in the job market today for the young people. He also requested for more workshops of such nature for students in future through university partnerships.