World Creativity and Innovation Day (WCID) is marked annually on 21st April. It was included as a day of observance by the United Nations on 27th April 2017. 2018 is the first year it will be observed. The purpose of the day is to encourage people to use creativity to make the world a better place.
As Kenya joins the world to mark WCID, Crossover Kenya asks ‘What innovation do you think changed Kenya?’
Many Kenyans will probably answer with M-PESA. The mobile money service revolutionized the way Kenyans spend, save and transfer money. It is an innovation that has crossed over into other sectors including banking and retail, leading to complimentary innovations in those fields.
A recent innovation that is changing Kenyan’s lives is eCitizen which was launched in 2014. eCitizen, described as the ‘gateway to all government services’ did away with the hassle of standing in line for hours in order to access government services. You can get your driver’s license renewed, apply and pay for business licenses, get a marriage certificate issued and more from the comfort of your home. All you need is access to internet.
The Global Innovation Index Report published by Cornell University, INSEAD, and the World Intellectual Property Organization provides detailed metrics about the innovation performance of 127 countries. In the 2017 report, Kenya was ranked at 80, an improvement from 99 which was her rank 5 years ago.
There are three government bodies mandated to deal with innovation in the country: National Commission for Science and Technology, National Innovation Agency and the National Research Fund. Majority of Kenyans are unaware of their existence. Furthermore, despite the presence of these three bodies, the government spends less than half a percent of the country’s GDP on innovation leaving creators to fend for themselves.
WCID is a day to celebrate innovators and their innovations and realize their importance to the development of the country. As we continue to mark the day this year and in the coming years, Kenyans and the government should give innovations and innovators the seriousness and help they deserve. You never know when the next M-PESA might be created.