How best to pursue inclusive innovation for development

The AHEAD project (African Higher Education Leadership in Advancing Inclusive Innovation for Development) is a three-year Capacity Building project (co funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union) that aims to enhance the management, governance, teaching, research and evaluation capacities of partner higher education institutions from Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in view of enabling them to implement the knowledge triangle and better integrate their research, education and innovation functions in support of innovation for sustainable development and inclusive growth. Since the kick-off of the project at the start of 2018 with the inception meeting held at Campabasso in Italy the project has undertaken a number of activities

  1. Analysis of the context for change which sort to analyse
    • The National innovation systems in the 3 East African countries (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) with the aim of providing a cross national comparison facilitating the espousal of approaches, systems, processes and models that have positively impacted the research and innovation ecosystems in the respective countries
    • Institutional innovation systems at the 10 Partner Universities (including Kenyatta University) to informimprovement strategies to be incorporated at the partner universities

2. First Transnational Capacity Building Workshop in Zanzibar, Tanzania

The workshop presented a forum for the representative of the organizations to identify working approaches and important steps for implementing the knowledge triangle in the AHEAD partner country (PC) universities, as well as the requirements for the open educational resources (OERs) and the Resource Pack on Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship Education. The partnership had the chance to identify the challenges, opportunities and the vital steps in the process of intensifying knowledge flows and linkages between universities and their external environment and to plan the upcoming tasks of engaging stakeholders in innovation for development.

SME Ahead

The work groups focused on identifying working approaches and key steps for implementing the knowledge triangle in the AHEAD PC universities, as well as the requirements for the open educational resources (OERs) and the Resource Pack on Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship Education. During the second day the collaborative work addressed the preliminary scoping reports for creating Innovation for Development Hubs and the organization of internal discussion panels at the PC universities that will seek input from internal stakeholders to ensure ownership and impact of the improvements are felt.

KU AHEAD Project

AHEAD Project partners at the workshop, KU was represented by Prof. Vincent Onywera and Dr. Onesmus Thuo

3. Transnational Train the Trainer Event in Birmingham, UK

The training event enhanced the skills of the participants (core trainer team) from the partner institutions by contributing to their knowledge and teaching base in the field of innovation management, inclusive innovation, entrepreneurship and social entrepreneurship. The training sessions highlights included

  • delivery of entrepreneurship teaching/training
  • Options of integrating stakeholders into social entrepreneurship education
  • Human-centred design, design thinking and social innovation and customer development process
  • Teaching methods that engage entrepreneurship students
  • Measuring the impact of the entrepreneurship education
  • Open innovation and knowledge transfer exploiting innovations
  • Inclusive innovations (its characteristics, impact and difference from commercial innovation ) as well as policies in support of it
  • Challenges in building an ecosystem for inclusive innovation and managing grassroots involvement in innovation;

Various case studies of best practices for delivering inclusive innovation and entrepreneurship education were shared by the European partners.

The core teams from the partner universities will be expected to prepare faculty members and researchers to teach/train in the area of innovation management and inclusive innovation. The project next main activity is the finalization of the open education resources and resource pack on entrepreneurship education which will be reviewed and tested prior to roll out.


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