May 22, 2018

Recession and the necessity for innovation in Nigeria- Adetola Salau

Recession and the necessity for innovation in Nigeria- Adetola Salau

What we need in Nigeria currently is more innovation, more visionary thinkers who are innovative. We need to get our youth excited about innovative thinking and entrepreneurship. If we want to break the cycle of myriads of youth unemployed and contributing nothing to society, we must foster an environment that is conducive to innovation.Our educational system needs a radical transformation.

We are in a time like no other in our nation. Millions of people are losing their jobs, our public health system is in shambles, the price of food is sky high and businesses are struggling. It is a disillusioning period and the look of despair is on all faces. Our economy is strained and the poverty in our country unimaginable with one hearing forlorn tales of people trading their children for food and stolen food from stove pots as daily occurrences.

Real progress in being able to move our country forward will require creativity and innovative ideas, skills that must be nurtured. It is a continual process and will pay dividends for our future. It would enable us to find solutions to the problems that beset us; like how to solve our energy problem, becoming self-reliant in our food production, and how to abet our health crisis to name a few of the issues before us. We must start thinking now and get off our collective inertia. Our future as a nation is bleak if we fail to embrace the urgency to focus on creativity and innovation.

The upside is at times of adversity, people dig deeper to survive. According to experts, when you are faced with doing more with less, that drives people to be innovativeness and creativity in ways that they were unable to when they were complacent with a lot. You learn to stretch your meager resources to get the most from it. The good news is that Nigerians are experts in this aspect; There just needs to be a nurturing environment for this to excel and be appealed in the many sectors that need rejuvenation like our businesses, education and modus operandi.

Historians have stated that the most innovative periods for nations were when they were forced to become creative to survive; think of Britain during World War II and the United States of America. The hardships of the Great Depression spurred a period of unparalleled creativity according to a University of Manchester historian.

Iconic landmarks such as Manchester Central Library, Manchester Town hall extension, the Mersey Tunnel and the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall were all built during the early 1930s.

Legendary innovations were molded during times of adversity (the period of the great depression 1920-1940) like the creation of the TV, neoprene, penicillin, iron lung, scotch tape, car radio, jet engine, electron microscope, Polaroid photography(we could go on and on, there were a lot of discoveries during this tough time.) Opportunities were seen in adversity and value was created.

Even nature shows us that stress, conflict, and adversity produces gems; think of the creation of pearls. Natural Pearls form when an irritant – usually a parasite and not the proverbial grain of sand – works its way into an oyster, mussel, or clam. As a defense mechanism, a fluid is used to coat the irritant. Layer upon layer of this coating, called ‘nacre’, is deposited until a lustrous pearl is formed.

This recession is a blessing in disguise for our nation, especially for our youth if we assist in laying the foundation for an enabling environment. They can create new businesses; solve endemic problems that we have in our nation and help drive down unemployment in our nation. Above all, they will resuscitate our economy with their activities. If done right, this recession can inspire and propel our nation to greatness, forcing us to think inside and outside of our boxes and work on ourselves as we create new products and services.

Innovation is needed to lift the country from the doldrums; exciting ideas and methods are required to keep us moving forward.

Innovation is a new way of doing things that results in positive change. It makes life better. It sustains economic prosperity. It increases productivity, which leads to increases across the board- profits, higher salaries and a better economy and improved life spans. We need to transform smart ideas that tackle and address real problems into products and services that everyone wants. Innovation needs to be the mantra in Nigeria.

Innovation is small continual improvements that lead to progress and make life better for all of us. Continuing as we have always done will not help us survive these tumultuous times. Adapting means looking at new ways to solve current problems. Creativity will take work and it doesn’t stop. Commit to continual progression all the time.

According to the Late Steve Jobs, everyone is an innovator. Yes, even the market woman. We need to empower people to see their God given talents and abilities.

We need to think differently about the recession and embrace innovation happily. It will save us.

Our education needs a huge dose of innovation. We need an injection of it, training our students to see solutions to problems and focus on practicalities. We don’t have time, we need tools and practices of innovation taught to our students.

Further discussion about steps to bring about this will be forthcoming as we ensure this rewiring of our mindsets and develop our society’s progress.

Read more from Adetola

Education is not sexy- Adetola Salau

How Math Teachers are making the world a better place- Adetola Salau

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