User login

Shout Box

There are no shouts to view.
Login or register to post shouts
All Shouts

Recent comments

Who's new

  • Acma
  • nxkwwwblazerod
  • translatornauseating
  • fidelisadjei
  • baronfake

Innovation

Author

Message

Akruaseni

Comments

GhanaThink Managing Executive abocco

The innovation concept

The innovation concept ...

teaching is one thing - encouraging is another.

Encouraging innovation mostly occurs when you introduce people to things that they haven't seen before, allowing them to see outside their little communities, getting them to think outside the box and see possibilities they are not used to.

In our case, Ghana's case - innovation would be tackling problems/issues in our societies in ways we haven't really done before.
It may not be something extraordinary, it may be a service provided by an entity that other people never saw fit to do.

Getting people to innovate is a little more difficult - you have to give them the avenues to carry out their innovations, let them practice whatever they are learning (in school, etc), organize mediums for brainstorming/critical thinking, etc.

What do others think?

The destiny of a nation at any given time depends on the opinions (and actions) of its young men and women.

King Mills

Innovation:A mindset How do

Innovation:A mindset

How do we get people to think outside the box when society seems to encourage people to do things the way they where done years ago?

The starting point I believe is for people to recognize the fact the innovative thinking is appreciated.

How many programs on our TV stations in Ghana show us the new things Ghanaians are doing,how many documentaries on our screens focus on innovative ways of tackling our present and future challenges?
How many radio talk shows on our airways talk about innovation,about technology,about science?
The last time I checked there was nothing like that.If it is not about NPP or NDC it is about CPP.

GTV used to show short documentaries on Japanese technology and inventions,I'm sure they still do.Whenever I watched that program it sent my imagination running wild.Of course the program that followed was meant to go after those very thoughts and bring them back into captivity.

Infact,maybe we shouldn't be surprised at the lack of innovative thinking in our society because our very actions send the message that it is not required or desired.

That could be a first step-creating an atmosphere or culture that celebrates innovation.For example having Ghanaian radio and tv programs that tell the youth that we welcome and appreciate innovative solutions to the problems we face in our society.

Government and civil society can make a commitment to help people who think in new ways and new ideas and come out with innovative solutions.That way others will be inspired to think outside the box.

That is what I think.What do you think?

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO MUCH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE FUTURE OF GHANA.REMEMBER WHAT NEIL ARMSTRONG SAID WHEN HE LANDED ON THE MOON "ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN,ONE GAINT LEAP FOR MANKIND".SMALL STEPS=GAINT LEAP

mandock

Before we venture into

Before we venture into "encouraging innovation" or creating the "mindset" to go with it,we must first understand or at least surmise factors responsible for the improminence of the concept in popular Ghanaian psyche. I will offer one such.

I do not speak for all ethnic groups,but in Akan,I struggle to find a word that aptly captures the concept of innovation."Mpontuo" (development) or "akokan" (forward moving,roughly translating into development) easily come to mind but none of these captures the concept of innovation in its totality.Unlike "sankofa" (going back to the past for what is worthy);recourse to the past) which Akans have a very systematic and grounded conception of.

This may be a scanty piece of evidence,but my conclusion is that the entire Akan cultural dynamic (and I suspect it applies to Ghana as well) is oriented more toward the past than the future.All our celebrations,practices,ideas and intellectual traditions are grounded on the firm notion of the past and its primacy in contemporary events.From ancestral worship to proverbs;from Adinkra symbology to Akan norms,we have been taught that "tete wo bi ka,tete wo bi kyere" (the past has a lot to say,the past has a lot to teach).There isn't a single such saying that captures any notion of innovation.

A second conclusion that I want to draw, is that the concept of innovation is alien to the unschooled traditional Ghanaian mindset.It is an artifact of western education just like many of the modern development mantras preached today.Unfortunately for Africans,and Ghanaians in particular,we were not taught the concept (along with our colonial education) by our colonizers.

They preferred that the African remain savage and continue to produce raw materials or at best replicate the industrial and scientific feats of his white master.Unlike the Asian tigers or India,all of whom have done considerably better at innovation during the same post-idependence period under consideration;African countries,Ghana included,are yet to catch on technologically,scientifically or even intellectually

The results of this is visible where ever you look in Africa. The closest Ghana gets to scientific innovation is via the efforts of Apostle Kwadwo Safo of Kristo Asafo who has been hailed my many as an icon of innovation.The truth however,is that his "inventions" are for the most part replicative and mere improvements on pre-existing patents.This is not to say he should not be encouraged.

My point is that we must evaluate and fully understand the concept of innovation and also understand how it came to be absent in our development discourse.The next logical step will then be how to foster it or inculcate it into our national consciousness.We must put more emphasis on the future(science,tech,innovation) rather than on the past (tradition,culture,etc).Only then can we see an intellectual revolution and taste the sweet fruits of development.

~**Until the lions begin to tell their own history,tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter***~

Akruaseni

Do we see our cultures as

Do we see our cultures as "ever-evolving"?

What role do the art's play in nurturing innovation?

King Mills

@ mandock.Re: Innovation

I read your response on the innovation issue and I agree with you that before we begin to offer solutions we should try to understand the underlying factors responsible for the seeming lack of innovation in the Ghanaian society.However,I would like to raise a couple of points.

Firstly,to draw the conclusion that "the concept of innovation is alien to the unschooled traditional Ghanaian mindset" and that it is "an artifact of western education" is a little too harsh and denies the accomplishments of the various Ghanaian societies and cultures that flourished prior to the landing of the first Westerner on our shores.Though the technological knowhow and innovation of these societies cannot be compared to those of ancient Egypt and other famous African civilizations and cultures,those that were located in the geographical region presently called Ghana cannot be said to have displayed no innovative thinking prior to meeting the first European.As far as I know the peoples of Ghana were mining gold and making ornaments,weaving cloths,and making pottery among others before the white man landed here.Can we say that the concept of innovation was alien to these people?I would not go that far.I'd rather say that being subjected to colonial domination and education for so many years killed that spirit of innovation however small that we had and several years of freedom have not done much to revive that innovative spirit.

Secondly,I'd like to know the sense in which you used the word 'savage' when you stated that the colonizers "preferred that the African remain savage".If I am to understand 'savage' to mean 'not civilized',then it is to admit that the African was indeed not civilized before the arrival of the Europeans and by extension give credence to one of the reasons the Europeans sought to colonize us,that is,to make us civilized.As we all now know the societies that Western scholars described as uncivilized because they had different forms of institutions from those found in the West were infact advanced in their own right.

In conclusion I want to state once again that we are basically on the same page on the issue of innovation in the Ghanaian society but this is part of the dialogue we seek to have within GT.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO MUCH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE FUTURE OF GHANA.REMEMBER WHAT NEIL ARMSTRONG SAID WHEN HE LANDED ON THE MOON "ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN,ONE GAINT LEAP FOR MANKIND".SMALL STEPS=GAINT LEAP

mandock

King's Dissent

Interesting dissent,King

I think we have to better define innovation before we can proceed with this dialogue.As far as I am concerned,adaptation is crucial for any civilization or culture's survival.Does the fact that a culture can adapt to the environment and to the times make that culture innovative?If we equate adaptation to innovation or claim innovation as a predicate of adaptation,then every society and culture that has survived to the present time must necessarily be innovative.So no need for this debate.We can even then argue that animals are also innovative insofar as they come up with new ways to survive in the face of emerging challenges.

Most cultures have developed the craft of weaving since antiquity and gold mining was preceded by the bronze and iron ages.So in the continuum of human history these "achievements" do not really count for innovation.Whether we define innovation as doing new things or doing old things in new ways,Ghana,and Africa in general has not scored very highly.

We must first decide the basis for our consideration of the term "innovation." From my conception of the discourse so far,the common understanding refers to scientific,technological,economic and even social progress of sorts;a top to down renewal of our cultutal structures and systems akin to a rennaisance.If we go by this understanding then I believe my statement that "the concept of innovation is alien to the unschooled traditional Ghanaian mindset" is justified.As a culture we have not yet grasped the urgency and necessity for tireless innovation--the same way that the Japanese,Americans,Europeans or more recently the South East Asian countries have.

Lastly,when I say "the European preferred the African to remain savage" I say so from the dominant (and clearly false) Eurocentric perspective of the time.I do not in any way imply there is some truth to the African having been a savage.

*******************************************************

~**Until the lions begin to tell their own history,tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter***~

King Mills

Re:King's Dissent

I guess the dialoque continues Mandock :)

Once again I completely agree with you on the major thrust of your arguement that Ghana,and Africa in general,has not scored highly with regard to innovation and that we are behind much of the modern world.

But then again I ask myself these questions:If Ghana had not been faced with colonial domination and the slave trade with its devastating effect on our peoples and societies would our forbears have developed new/improved ways of mining and refining their gold and other minerals?Would they have developed new/better ways of farming and irrigation?Would they have developed new/better systems and weapons of warfare?Would they have developed new social systems or improved the ones they had?Would they have developed new systems of trade or improved the ones they had?I cannot see myself answering NO to any of these questions.If I cannot answer no to any of these questions then by extension I find it difficult to accept that "the concept of innovation is alien to the unschooled traditional Ghanaian mindset".And here I take innovation to mean "doing new things or doing old things in new ways".

Also,don't you think that discounting the "achievements" of past societies and cultures as not innovation risks judging the past by today's standards?In the light of the major and unprecedented scientific and technological advances of the 21st century it is easy to look back and describe the 'simple' things that past cultures achieved as not innovative.Indeed,if we were to tow that line of arguement in some hundreds or thousands of years to come another person would look back at our civilization and make the statement that in the continuum of human history our "achievements" do not really count for innovation.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO MUCH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE FUTURE OF GHANA.REMEMBER WHAT NEIL ARMSTRONG SAID WHEN HE LANDED ON THE MOON "ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN,ONE GAINT LEAP FOR MANKIND".SMALL STEPS=GAINT LEAP

mandock

King: My Conclusion

King, you asked,"If Ghana had not been faced with colonial domination and the slave trade with its devastating effect on our peoples and societies would our forebears have developed new/improved ways of mining and refining their gold and other minerals?" And on the basis of your affirmative responses to these questions,you conclude that you cannot accept my assertion that "the concept of innovation is alien to the unschooled traditional Ghanaian mindset"

In the first place,your questions are hypothetical and we will never be able to truly answer such.Furthermore, even if your affirmative answer is true--that Ghanaians would have advanced through innovation,whether serially or parallel to other inovations in human history had slavery and colonialism not impeded us--it only supports my earlier claim that we would have adapted to life somehow but not necessarily undergone a systemic innovative transformation.

Yes,we would have adapted somehow,but would our past-oriented cultural systems and religious obsession with the afterlife have allowed us the desire to create a prosperous affluent secular society? One common feature of Europe,America and the emergent East Asian countries we look to as beacons of innovation is that they have a very secular and futuristic view of life.They believe in heaven on earth and as such work to create a better world via science,technology and tireless innovation.The European Rennaisance which signalled the advent of science, technology and a revolution in social,political and cultural systems,coincided with a shift from religious dogmatism to secularism and rationalism.

Most Africans on the other hand are doped on religion and believe in an afterlife where all their dreams will be fulfilled. This utopian worldview inadvertently discourages efforts to make life better via innovation and look to the future and what it holds.Most Africans today will rather pray and fast for the heavenly things than pursue innovation of any sort.We have not been able to successfully reconcile our beliefs with a need for secularim and pragmatism--the cornerstones of innovation and scientific/technological advancement.

The problem with Ghanaian and African innovation or the lack thereof,is a problem of our worldview.There are more fundamental and far reaching causes that need to be addressed if we want to see a catch-up effect of any sort or any real innovation for that matter.Ghanaians, from the cradle to the grave, need to start thinking differently.

To define innovation simply as doing new things or doing old things in new ways is not enough.We must embrace a more comprehensive definition that encompasses every aspect of our lives.There is a tall list of issues I think we must address to start heading in the right direction.But before we even begin to look for solutions,I think we must at least appreciate some extent of truth in my basic assertion that "the concept of innovation(as we mean it in this discussion) is alien to the unschooled Ghanaian traditional mindset." Appreciating this view--if not accepting it completely--will allow us to break away from ignorance and entrapping traditionalism and start looking for real solutions rather than pretending the ordinary Ghanaian can just be "taught" the concept of innovation as if it's a song.When you are illiterate,dogmatic and traditional in your beliefs,a cow will go through a needle's eye before you become innovative.

Long live Ghana...!!!
****************
~**Until the lions begin to tell their own history,tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter***~

Akruaseni

well said

mandock said:"The problem with Ghanaian and African innovation or the lack thereof,is a problem of our worldview.There are more fundamental and far reaching causes that need to be addressed if we want to see a catch-up effect of any sort or any real innovation for that matter.Ghanaians, from the cradle to the grave, need to start thinking differently."

We haven't grasped nationhood yet......"god only knows"

King Mills

Good stuff Mandock

I guess this will also be my conclusion.

I agree with you on all the salient points you raised.

Indeed looking at the current situation in Ghana and Africa in general makes defending my stance on innovation vis-a-vis whether or not it is alien to the traditional Ghanaian a tall order.Does that vitiate my stance?I don't think so.

On a much wider context do you notice that we are faced with a situation where everything Western is or is considered alien to the African?

I know this is outside our current discussion but take the example of democracy.I sometimes hear people say that the reason democracy is not entrenched in Africa is that it is alien to us.I agree it is alien to our traditional governance system but in making that statement we sometimes forget that there was a time when democracy had no stronghold in Europe.Indeed the ancient Greek city-states we credit with being the first democracies would today be considered undemocratic.

You rightly made the point that "the problem with Ghanaian and African innovation or the lack thereof,is a problem of our worldview".But then you would also agree with me that before the Renaissance I would not be far from right in saying that the worldview of Europe could be compared to what we have in Africa.Worldviews change.Once upon a time secularism and pragmatism where not in the worldview of Europe.

In the final analysis we as a people have a long way to go in order to catch up with the rest of the world.That is the challenge we face, a challenge of changing the worldview of the average Ghanaian and as you rightly said we must begin to take the steps to head in the right direction.

Thanks for this dialogue.

YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO MUCH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE FUTURE OF GHANA.REMEMBER WHAT NEIL ARMSTRONG SAID WHEN HE LANDED ON THE MOON "ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN,ONE GAINT LEAP FOR MANKIND".SMALL STEPS=GAINT LEAP

Panyin

Innovation

Innovation doesn't come like magic. It rears its head whenever there is one or a combination of one of these;

* Neccessity.
* Knowledge.
* Funds.
* Time.
* Willingness.
* Talent.

Make your own list.