Why coopetition is critical to innovation, by Danbatta, others
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 emphasised 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.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, 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 the Director of Digital Economy at the Commission, Dr. Austine Nwaulune, reemphasised 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 for the startup ecosystem are now at the final stage as the recently passed Nigeria Startup Bill by National Assembly will help institutionalise legal frameworks that will enhance the growth of startups easily, quickly and conveniently in the country.
Speaking at the event, Team Lead, Digital Innovation at Union Bank Nigeria, Efunbolanle Hughes, 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”.
At the event, the Head of Channels, Digital and Innovation at Union Bank, Akoh Ochai, added that as a traditional financial institution that is leveraging on technology, the enormous possibilities tech portends have made the institution more open to ideas and innovation which would 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 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 isn’t in figures but how much you can impact people,” he said.
Founder of SpaceFinish, an architecture and design firm, Remo Dada, advised startup founders on a paradigm shift from a reactive to a proactive response to innovation.
He emphasized that strategic planning will bring clear-cut benefits for such startups; creating value and improving their competitiveness.
With a specific emphasis on SpaceFinish’s activities, he said the future is bright for the design company that is launching a technology solution for the $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.