Open Innovation Program Zambia: Co-Creation Sessions

In order to create products and services that people love, solve challenges and create viable solutions that cut across all sectors, we need to bring together the ideas and contributions of  all stakeholders and partners. 

We believe that innovation is at its best and most effective when we incorporate the contributions of various stakeholders in the co-creation processes that embrace and perfect solutions that answer or solve the right problems.

What is Co-creation?

Ryan Lancelot of KLC describes co-creation as the process of including customers and/or end users of a product or service in the ideation phase of the product development process. Customers are invited to contribute, to share their stories, their ideas and to refine as well as prioritize the ideas shared by others in a systematic multi-step process. 

According to an article by Mckinsey, co-creation has proven to be advantageous in three areas when engaging with external stakeholders in the creative process. These areas include; i)  understanding the intended co-creators, ii) identifying the underlaying motivations and iii) prioritising sustainable outcomes. 

Through co-creation, users can provide solutions to business problems utilising their unique perspectives.

Co-creation can and should be used throughout the development process to ensure that the solutions generated serve their correct and intended purpose. Investing in this process increases idea capacity and velocity, ensuring innovation, reducing risk and building brand loyalty.

It is on this premise that the Make- IT in Africa Open Innovation Program (OIP) is anchored upon as the program initiates collaboration between private and public sectors and startups in Zambia.

The goal of the OIP is to bridge the gap between private and public sector innovation needs and startups through a guided co-creation process.

OIP Co- Creation Sessions

Early this year, Make-IT in Africa in partnership with BongoHive launched a call for startup applications for the Open Innovation Program Zambia (OIP) on the 6th of April, 2023 to enable entrepreneurs to connect with stakeholders such as government agencies, investors, and corporates in the sectors of Green Technology, Smart Cities and Financial Technology.

The ongoing Open Innovation Program Zambia with selected startups in the Green Tech, Fintech and Smart Cities sectors is making use of the concept of co-creation sessions. 

The sessions serve as valuable opportunities for the startups to further refine their solutions tailored specifically for the aforementioned sectors. 

The co-creation sessions held between the startups and BongoHive Consult units focus on various cardinal aspects such as empathizing with the user and defining problems faced in the above sectors through guided discussions and brainstorming exercises facilitated by the BongoHive Innovation Consult unit. 

Participants have identified the target users’ common patterns, pain points, and desires by defining problems faced in the above sectors through user journey mapping.

The user journey is essential in the co-creation process as it helps startups to identify when, how, and where customers may discover their products and/or services.

During the sessions, participating startups have delved further into essential aspects of sketching and prototyping. These two pivotal components lie at the core of the design thinking process, empowering designers to explore and refine ideas, obtain valuable feedback, and iteratively progress toward optimal solutions. 

By providing tangible and visually representative manifestations of concepts; sketching and prototyping fosters an environment of creativity, effective communication, and innovative thinking.

Our Entrepreneurship Unit has further conducted sessions with participating startups focused on practical entrepreneurial readiness sessions ranging from customer discovery, business modeling and identifying business value propositions.

The sessions are meant to equip startups with business knowledge to help them market their solutions.

The collective expertise and diverse perspectives brought together during these sessions will significantly shape innovative solutions to problems faced in different fields. 

The startups will further be exposed to industry experts (Key Partners) in their respective sectors (GreenTech, Fintech and SmartCities) for mentorship and collaborative exchange. 

This collaboration is key as industry experts will able to share knowledge with the startups due to their longer and extensive experience in the field.

The following are the startups taking part in the  cocreation sessions: Yaaka Inv, Ecocube, Kavena Consultancy, Toyani, Netagrow, Bluemoney, Mtetezi, Greenway Solutions, Khah tech, Cowrie and Bio Green Technology. 

Kudos to the startups for their active participation and contributions during these sessions, we believe viable solutions will be created as the program unfolds hence positively impacting our GreenTech, Fintech and Smart Cities sectors in Zambia. 

Visit the website to learn more about the program here: