Rwanda gets $11m Design Lab

The hub, which is expanding its physical presence out of Nigeria for the first time in its eight year history, also plans to use technology to widen STEM education.
Minister for ICT & Innovation Paula Ingabire (centre) launches the African ‘Design Lab’ with a tweet from her phone on Thursday. Looking on are tech-prenuers Bosun Tijani (left), the founder of Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) and Femi Longe (R) the co-founder and head of innovation. Rwanda is the firm’s first operation outside Nigeria. Emmanuel Kwizera.

Co-Creation Hub (CcHub), a Nigerian innovation centre, yesterday unveiled its first African ‘Design Lab’ in Kigali as part of its expansion strategy.

Over the next five years, the firm plans to spend $11 million on designing design technology solutions to systemic problems in in public health, education and governance.

The launch of CcHUB Design Lab was presided over by the Minister for ICT and Innovation, Paula Ingabire.

The project is set to assemble a multidisciplinary team of product designers and engineers who collaborate with scientists and stakeholders globally to solve some of Africa’s complex problems.

CcHUB’s Founder and CEO, Bosun Tijani, said that it was necessary to adopt the concept of design thinking as it would relieve Africa the burden of innovating just for the sake of it.

“It is important to understand that we don’t have luxury to build solutions just for the sake of solutions. We have to build for end users who desperately need solutions for the existing problems in society. Applying design thinking will help African countries not waste time during the process of building solutions,” he noted.

The entrepreneur highlighted a few things that the concept of design can bring; ensuring better outcomes, improve processes, expand capabilities and increase equity.

These, he said, are all critically important to rapidly innovate and build the much-needed solutions in Africa.

Bosun had previously told this paper that they were seeking to build solutions for digital epidemiology, improve adherence to treatment, and strengthen efficient collection of data, all of which are aimed at designing the right solutions for healthcare.

The launch of the CcHUB Design Lab coincided with the announcement of the partnership with Rwanda Biomedical Centre as its first local company to partner, joining the likes of Go-Ga Lab, Nimcure and Safe Online.

The hub, which is expanding its physical presence out of Nigeria for the first time in its eight year history, also plans to use technology to widen STEM education, improve interests and learning outcomes and introduce smart applications in schools.

On the other hand, they have bigger plans to bridge the gap between government and citizens and improve technology delivery of public services.

To achieve all this, they say they will invest some $11 million for the next five years.

Already, CcHUB boasts a pre-incubation portfolio of over 60 companies, including digital blood bank, Lifebank, recycling venture, WeCyclers and Budgit, a web platform that simplifies the Nigerian budget and public data.

It has reportedly built a community of over 13,000 technologists, entrepreneurs and thought-leaders, and has incubated and provided support to a portfolio of over 110 early stage ventures.

The Design Lab, they say, further reinforces CcHUB’s commitment to solving Africa’s biggest development and social challenges.

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