Kenya’s innovativeness to dominate scholar’s view in Finland

Graduating at the prestigious Finnish Aalto University, Paula Linna, a researcher who has worked closely with Kenya’s little known innovators is set to highlight their impact at an academic event in Finland.

The doctoral researcher of Business and Economics has previously worked closely with little known innovators from the rural part of Kenya among them bee-keepers and artisans. According to Dr. Linna the region has great potential hidden behind the worldview. “What is seen nowadays as small innovations might tomorrow bring a huge impact to low-income markets,” she says ahead of her academic event set to be held in Helsinki, the capital city of Finland.

She attributes the efforts by groups such as craftsmen, farmers and Jua Kali (informal sector) as the key drivers that needs a lot of attention in the society. “There are high number of creative entrepreneurs there (Kenya) who have started efforts to alleviate against poverty,” she noted, adding innovating under resource scarcity can be seen as a unique way of thinking and acting in response to persisting problems.

The Finnish researcher chose to conduct part of the research in Kenya because she knew that in Kenya there is high number of creative entrepreneurs who have started to solve poverty related problems and create solutions targeting the poor.  

Dr Linna says that during her time in Kenya she came across several interesting businesses targeting at low-income markets which aimed to improve the livelihoods of the poor. In her keynote presentation, she underlines the fact that mobile industry and affordable energy solutions played out throughout her period in the country having seen them to be critical to the society.  

Among the cases included in her dissertation are for instance, M-Farm a company which aims to empower the rural farmers and improve their livelihoods by their mobile application which offers information on weather, market prices and serve as an online market places; a self-learnt wind-turbine innovator (Cratfskills,  Simon Mwacharo Guyo),who has developed small wind-turbines made out of ”scratch” using  only locally available materials, such as fiber glass and old car motors and an innovator (Biogas International) who had created  a portable  biogas digester which uses fuel generated from organic waste for cooking and as a source of electricity.   

Doctor Linna advices that the self-learnt innovators work should not go unnoticed. “These innovators might represent a ‘new generation in innovation systems,’ which will be based on mobilizing local resources at the community level and trying to solve locally specified problems without outside assistance.” 

‘These people have strong problem-solving skills that need to be recognized’, Linna emphasizes. I recommend to study more to understand how this kind of ‘new generation’ operates and how local people solve practical problems. I am there for numbers of resourcefulness innovators who employ their own innovation practices, based on ‘making do with resources at hand’ and improvisation when necessary.

The findings of her academic work has are elaborated in context in the doctoral publication and other international journals which have won world attention including the business administrators in the United States, US. Dr Linna will be officially granted her credentials by leading Professors; Prof. Rüdiger Hahn, University of Hohenheim, Germany and Prof. Minna Halme, Aalto University School of Business. “What is essential about these innovations, is that they are easy to use and maintain, and the affordability of the product is based on the use of locally available material,” added ahead of the event.

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