Exploring Innovation Ecosystems in Botswana

Visualising innovation networks in Africa

Badziili Nthubu and David Pérez travelled to Gaborone, the capital of Botswana, to conduct three workshops about the innovation ecosystem. One hundred participants from a wide range of African organisations (SMEs, policymakers, entrepreneurs and higher education institutions) participated in the workshops. Visual methods were used to explore and to raise awareness of the innovation ecosystem of these organisations.

The first workshop was conducted at the Local Enterprise Authority, with 15 SMEs leather manufacturers. The second workshop has 65 participants of the Lancaster University’s Recirculate project that involved a wide range of organisations from six countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana). The last workshop was conducted with 20 entrepreneurs from the Botswana Innovation Hub, a Governmental organisation that promotes entrepreneurship in the country.

The workshops utilised visual methods to explore the innovation ecosystem among the participants. The first method invited participants to graphically represent their innovation network as a diagram. The second (and main) method aimed to map their innovation networks based on 5 criteria defined by participants and the strength of connections. This method was used individually or by organisations and later in mixed groups of participants. Finally, an evaluation exercise was conducted to capture the feedback of participants.

The workshops revealed the networks gaps and ties of these organisations. Also, they allowed participants to identify common barriers encountered which encourage them to establish new forms of collaboration to overcome their issues and to be more innovative.

More details in the report below.

Workshops Report