Innovation, entrepreneurship and recession has been the buzz words all through the year in Nigeria. It contested with “Change” mantra and MMM for the most used words by Nigerians on issues of public discourse across various settings. These words were the choice words simply because the government has precipitously realized the necessity for her to leverage on strides by Nigerians in shifting limitations across various sectors while the sad reality of global financial markets figures has made government to spread out her nets for internally generated revenue. With non-oil revenue totaling 60% of the 2017 proposed national budget, the government has dutifully put her spotlight on non-oil sectors.
There have been calls from various quarters and thought leaders on creating long and short-term models for a knowledge based economy. Knowledge driven economy has been a certified template of development with positive results from the Nordic countries and the Asian Tigers (Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan). Finland for example, was characterized with economic development in the 20 years leading up to the worldwide economic crisis in 2008, were radical increases in intangible investments (education, research and development, and the organization of work) and comprehensive building of the national base of knowledge were the main focus of all stakeholders. These contributed to increasing productivity, redirecting and refocusing employment into more productive and knowledge-intensive sectors, and using financial resources more efficiently.
At the cross-roads of a rapidly booming population, high unemployment figures and an urgent need for a broad economy, striking the right cords in curtailing the myriads of national challenges and optimization of her resources should be the centre point of decision-making. If you want to know where the society is going to next, go and sit down in with humility in the slumps. The large chunk of the Nigerian society lives below the poverty line, building innovative solutions that maximizes their potentials is the future of growth and development. The nation got her deserved share of global recognition for innovation when CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg paid a visit to the country. This success is not mainly thanks to government policies or interventions; it has been private sector driven. Nigerian tech and social innovation hubs have been at the forefront of innovation driven development.
Just like the recession experience in Finland in the 1980s and 90s, where technological push was at its budding stage, the use of new technological opportunities and efforts to intensify knowledge based growth should be at the core of government policies and plans. These two objectives can effectively and quickly drive the nation out of economic recession, consolidating on her growing sector and thereby changing the dynamics of the nation.
Technological innovations, has proven from the success stories of the ecosystem can drive local and regional integration cum development just at the pace of the solid infrastructures available in a geographical area while the knowledge based growth drives national and trans-national development. Therefore, the government should pick up the role as a consumer of tech and a provider of perfect conditions (infrastructure, funding and regulations). Conditions that promote and support entrepreneurship are hard to create through direct state action, but, as evident in viable examples across the globe, the public sector can create a desirable climate that supports multifaceted forms of entrepreneurship and encourages novel innovative companies to seek international growth.
Developments and innovations from tech hubs is yet to be matched with corresponding results from our tertiary institutions.
Emphasis should be placed on constructing and expanding the machinery of innovation policy.
Innovators should adopt institutional and organizational models that reflect national historical, cultural, political, and administrative specificities.
Four important changes occurred in Finland’s innovation policy in the 1960s and early 1970s:
- Improved capabilities and operating conditions of universities : This measures should be targeted directly at the teaching and research appropriations of universities and other tertiary institutions.
- Increased and improved (technical) research
- Public support for firms’ Research and Development.
- Establishment of high-level coordination : The country should embrace policies that distributes vital national resources to much smaller number of vital metropolis that are critical to development as against the larger sharing formula.
Is there a Nigerian model of innovation policy or a formula for success in innovation-driven economic development?
Kindly leave comments and let’s have a conversation.
Lemola, T.2002 2003a. “Innovation Policy in Finland.” In Innovation Policies in Europe and the US: The New Agenda, edited by P. S. Biegelbauer and S. Borrás, 77–92. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing.
(Vartia and Ylä-Anttila 1996) . Vartia, P., and P. Ylä-Anttila. 1996. Kansantalous 2021. ETLA Series B126, Sitra 153. Helsinki: Taloustieto Oy.