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Insight into Innovation


Mo Ibrahim - British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire.

“I don't see the public sector getting involved in developing technology other than the funding of universities or funding some focused research areas. Most innovation really will always come from the private sector. That is what we expect.”

“This is like the new West in America here, the new frontier has been opened and you're free to think. You have a blank sheet to draw things in. A lot of things were made wrong. We don't have to build these awful energy power stations. We can do green energy.”

Bola Olabisi - CEO of the Global Women Inventors and Innovators Network (GWIIN)

“African women are born entrepreneurs, they don’t just talk about business; they get out there and do it.”

Dr Kevin Urama - Executive Director, ATPS

“...impossible is not a word you will find in any innovators dictionary. I can only become an innovator if I begin to dwell less on the why I can’t, and more on why I can."

Mbwana Alliy - Founder and managing partner of Savannah Fund, an Africa focused Technology Venture Capital fund.

“[There is still] a significant gap for early stage investing in web and mobile startups that constrains potential innovation."

Erik Hersman - Co-founder of Ushahidi, iHub Nairobi and AfriGadget

“Innovation comes from the edges, so it comes as no surprise that innovators are found in the margins."

Hayaatun Sillem - Director of Programmes and Fellowship at The Royal Academy of Engineering

“African use of mobile phones has been far more innovative than in Europe, largely because meeting the specific needs of Africa requires innovation."

Biju Mohandas - Head of Health and Education, Sub Saharan Africa, IFC

"Imagination without execution is hallucination."

Professor Walter Baets - Director of the UCT Graduate School of Business in Cape Town, South Africa

“Development in Africa is not dependent on the quality and drive of its governments. Neither on aid projects, nor on the work of volunteers from the west. The future and the well-being of this continent depends largely on the power of its own, local entrepreneurs."

Stephen Shapiro - Business Innovation Speaker, Author and Consultant

“Innovation — a talent we all had when we were young — can be relearned and pooled in a culture of innovation to confront and overcome competitive threats. The combined creative power of all employees pulling together in cross-functional teams can provide the spark to produce winning performance in the marketplace."

Allen Hammond - Social entrepreneur focused on health care and rural connectivity.

“The informal sector is a poverty trap, so it’s very important to enable the informal sector to become formal."

Jim Carrol - Futurist, trends & innovation expert

“Innovation isn’t some dark, mysterious ancient ritual: it’s simply a mindset that involves constant probing to see how we can fix things, find new things, or transform things."

John Kotter - Chief innovation officer at Kotter International

“Innovation everywhere is never going to happen on a regular basis because you appoint innovation teams. Great innovations happen because enough people want to be innovative, want the innovations to be useful, and are convinced they have the permission to try to be innovative. These conditions are not natural. They need to be created and nurtured. And they can be.”

Dr Alan Kay - President of Viewpoints Research Institute, Inc., and Senior Fellow at Hewlett Packard Lab

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”


Theodore (Ted) Levitt - Economist and professor at Harvard Business School

“Just as energy is the basis of life itself, and ideas the source of innovation, so is innovation the vital spark of all human change, improvement and progress.”


Steven W. Anderson - Director of Instructional Technology for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools

“I think my question is we want innovation sure, but what if what we want becomes the norm. What is innovation then?”


Warren Bennis - is an American scholar, organizational consultant and author who is widely regarded as the pioneer of the contemporary field of leadership.

“Innovation— any new idea—by definition will not be accepted at first. It takes repeated attempts, endless demonstrations, monotonous rehearsals before innovation can be accepted and internalized by an organization. This requires courageous patience.”

William G. Pollard - Nuclear physicist, Episcopal priest, and founder of Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU)

“Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.”

"Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable."

David O. Adeife

“Never innovate to compete, innovate to change the rules of the game."


“Innovation is a risky business, but not innovating is even riskier.”

"Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat."


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