Through the Nairobi Design Thinking School, C4DLab will run a set of Design Thinking courses ( the initial course being Design Thinking for Internet of Things (IoT)) that will help build a large community of user-centric innovators. Design Thinking is an approach used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions. The concept draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be, and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user.
Speaking at the launch on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Prof. Henry Mutoro said that the University recognizes its critical role in being at the centre of the innovation ecosystem on the African continent and has positioned innovation as one of the defining pillars of the University leadership.
“Kenya is uniquely positioned and well-endowed with a promising innovation ecosystem that if well guided and managed, can have a transformative effect in organizations, the country and even the continent,” he said.
Intel General Manager for East Africa Mr. Danie Steyn said that Intel recognizes the role of innovation in driving sustainable growth and as such will continue to invest in young innovators with a view of empowering them to develop solutions for now and the future.
“Using Design Thinking will create a unique opportunity for developers to explore how the Internet of Things (IoT) technology can create solutions that will add value to our society,” said Mr. Steyn.
In supporting the program, Intel will provide Intel® Edison developer boards, sensor kits and other hardware to be used in the program, while also supporting the university in the design and development of a curriculum for Design Thinking.
The program is also supported by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which advocates for open source tools and methodologies, and collaborative incubation accelerators that bring private sector, universities, governments and civil society together to create sustainable solutions to the most pressing challenges faced by children and youth.
“In Kenya, almost six out of ten people are children. Over 16 million children do not have access to basic social services like sanitation, clean drinking water, education, health, nutrition and shelter,” says Mr. Ousmane Naing, Chief of Social Policy at UNICEF Kenya. “In a country where eight out of ten children are deprived, especially in hard to reach areas, the need to put children issues at the centre of design processes has never been greater,” he adds.
According to UNICEF Innovation Unit Academic Partnerships Lead Ms. Norah Maki, partnerships between universities and the private sector create opportunities for young people who have unique insight into the challenges that affect their communities. “These partnerships give young people the ability to team up with their local leaders to develop creative and sustainable solutions that address issues they care about most,” she says.