Why Africa Is a Nascent Innovation Powerhouse

Africa is a nascent innovation powerhouse

Africa [credit: Mapswire.com]

Africa is a nascent innovation powerhouse, and its leadership will become increasingly obvious during the coming decades, but the seeds are already visible as this post reveals: Africa’s population is exploding, and its young people are adopting tech alternatives to countries’ long-insufficient health, education, and financial infrastructure.

If you’ve been interested in international development for long, you have seen many prognostications about “Africa rising” over the years only to see them fade into oblivion. Predicting profound economic shifts is like predicting earthquakes; you study the driving forces and your algorithms crunch the data.

That isn’t stopping Helga Stegmann. She has led “user experience” agency Mantaray since 2006, and she gave a riveting talk last week in Chicago hosted by partner agency BoldInsight. In my experience, user experience folks rarely have their hands on the pulse of disruptive economic change, but the reason she is an exception reflects that Africa’s economic transformation is happening at the grassroots level (as with most revolutions), and her key orientation is user experience design, so researching users across rapidly evolving interfaces in devices. Follow along with my notes of her remarks and […]