WHAT is innovation to you? To the business community, it seems to be ‘creativity’. At the launch of “Kigali Business Inspiration”, a new forum for the business community, participants were asked to contribute and discuss innovation.
A former young female brand manager of Bourbon Coffee, who has just started her own fashion label and a media manager, with his first issue of a new magazine for woman in Rwanda; and around 150 other guests from the Kigali business community came together at the Serena Hotel on Thursday, for the first edition of the Kigali Business Inspiration event.
On arrival for the event, participants were requested to write down, “what innovation meant to them. A host of participants indicated that innovation was about creating something new by combining something old, about creativity, curiosity, new thinking, and so forth.
Rwandese actress Carole Umulinga Karemera started off by asking people to loosen the ties, remove the belts and get ready to be surprised and inspired.
Well known local entrepreneur Amin Gafaranga took to the floor talking about people centred innovation and the role of culture in creating new ideas and new business.
Christer Windeløv-Lidzelius, the evening’s key-note speaker from Sweden, offered another perspective. “It sounds simple. Innovation is a process with no endpoint, more a journey than a destination. It never stops.”
When asked about the need for protection of property rights, he suggested that “ideas should be free, that innovation happens when people share ideas.”
One of the organisers, Sandra Idossou from The ServiceMag practises innovation: “Doing things differently. Getting out of the ordinary, we follow this target in our magazine. In every issue, there is something new. We also listen to our readers.
We ask them what they think about the magazine and we ask them to interact with us. In the current issue, we have an article about what do costumers think about the service of banks.”
Before moving to the cocktail, Benjamin Cox from the Babson-Rwanda Entrepreneurship Centre encouraged people to discuss how they could contribute to the Global Entrepreneurship Week taking place in Rwanda for the first time this November.
Mikkel Harder, country director of Educat social enterprise and the other organiser of the “Kigali Business Inspiration” initiative explains: “We want the Kigali Business Inspiration to offer a space for new inspiration, a place to exchange ideas and meet new people.
This was the first event and others will definitely follow with the next one scheduled for December.” What the theme for the next event will be, he would not tell.