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#AoT 1.0: Olatunbosun Alake speaks on Innovation Masterplan, LASRIC and Lagos Solutions Hubs

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Lagos Innovation Masterplan 1
The Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu scored a very important innovative goal with the launch of Lagos Innovation Masterplan at the just concluded Art of technology Lagos (#AoTLagos) 1.0 conference.

The Governor wowed the audience drawn from the technology ecosystem within and outside Nigeria as he expressed administration’s commitment to releasing and turbo charging the nascent problem solving potential through innovations in science and technology.

The State is also matching words with actions with the setting aside N250million seed money to encourage research and development, innovation and ideas creation.

Lagos Innovation Masterplan 2

L-r: Special Adviser to the Governor, Innovation and Technology, Olatunbosun Alake; Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hakeem Fahm and Founder, Eko Innovaton Centre/CEO, Hazon Holdings, during the Governor’s arrival at the Art of Technology (Lagos) 1.0 Conference held at Oriental Hotel, Lagos State

The Fund would be administered by Lagos Science, Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) to be chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe. (Read more here).

Also, the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat took to the stage to unveil Lagos State Solutions Hub (www.LagosSolutionsHub.com) which will enable a team of experts to evaluate different solutions from the tech ecosystem whom the State now regard as among the most important stakeholders in the journey to unleash Smarter Lagos.

Another commitment from the government is the Open Government Initiative which promotes open data for inclusiveness, participation and more fit for purpose solutions.

“The Open Government initiative has kicked off and we will be communicating subsequent milestones with the public soon”, the Governor told the audience.

AoT 1.0

L-r: Commissioner for Science and Technology, Hakeem Fahm; Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat; State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu; and Special Adviser to the Governor, Innovation and Technology, Olatunbosun Alake, during the unveiling of the Lagos State Innovation Masterplan as part of activities for Art of Technology (Lagos) 1.0 Conference

In a nutshell, Lagos State Government, through the Innovation Master Plan is addressing the 4 main pillars that are required to enable a vibrant innovation ecosystem.

These pillars are 

o Access: From Access to data and Access to markets. Making accessibility easier enables creators get the tools and critical ingredients they need to engineer fit for purpose solutions 

o Talent: Updated Curriculums that match industry needs are critical areas this administration will look to address 

o Infrastructure: Broadband communications cannot be overemphasized in the building of a comprehensive technology ecosystem. The administration has already begun to address this 

o Funding: One critical challenge has been the lack of understanding of our local technology ecosystem by our investors. We will tackle this head on. 

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With this administration’s activities in these 4 main areas, the innovation ecosystem is sure to receive the needed boost to raise its contribution to the state’s economy. 

AoT 1.0

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu speaking at AoT 1.0

So, how can one decipher from the policy statements made by the Governor; understanding the concepts and follow through? When will the funds for R&D mature for researchers or innovators to access it? What are the thematic areas government is seeking technological interventions for? The Ideas Hub is seeking for ideas in their ‘crude’ form; how sure are we that the Intellectual Property will be protected?

These and more were the questions we put across to the Special Adviser to the Governor, Innovation and Technology, Lagos State, Mr. Olatunbosun Alake who doubles as the convener of Art of Technology 1.0

Hi, Olatunbosun, kindly break down the government’s plan in a simple form that techies can relate and follow through for that partnership to happen:

Alake: “In a nutshell, the Art of Technology (AoT Lagos 1.0) platform is a technology summit to bring together all the players in the ecosystem – from government to multiple players in the value-chain. From founders, innovators, creators, accelerators, incubators; in fact, the entire industry so we can co-create and proffer solutions to many problems of Lagos State and transform the State to a truly 21st Century economy. So, we have initiated conversations, talking about how we can co-create for the benefit of all Lagosians”.

Core policy statements made by the Governor…understanding the concepts

“One of the strategic statements and commitment made by the Governor (in his speech) was Lagos State Science, Research & Innovation Council (LASRIC). This Council was initiated because of the need to start the culture of research and development in the State. The Governor has reignited that Council incorporating a lot of people from the public and private sectors. He granted the Council seed-money of about N250million. What that is supposed to do is fund research projects through the universities, innovation hubs, and what is supposed to come of them are solutions to problems we have in the State and the country at large.

“We want to formulate the culture of problem solving. It is through research and development and investigative methods that we can proffer local solutions to local problems.

“Another platform that the Deputy Governor launched was the Lagos Solutions Hubs, where ready-made solutions, tested and approved, can be submitted or proposed to the State. A Council will evaluate it and follow it up with them and possibly engage the solution for development.

“The Ideas Hub will cater for people who have ideas or brainwaves – you know a lot must be put in place between a brainwave and the actual product or service. So, Idea Hub will help you to professionalise your product or service; structure, give it the touch it needs so you can take it becomes marketable. There are so many ideas, but not as good products or services.

Lagos Innovation Masterplan

Special Adviser to the Governor, Innovation and Technology, Olatunbosun Alake, speaking during the launch of Ideas Hub as part of activities for Art of Technology (Lagos) 1.0 Conference

When will the funds for R&D mature for researchers or innovators to access it?

“The Council will be putting up its website that will explain the process of accessing the funding. Even if you go to a bank there are things you will be required to present. Hopefully, the Council won’t ask you for a ‘house’ or collateral, but it really important that young people benefit from the funds by getting their proof-of-concepts to viable products or services level.

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Thematic areas government is seeking technological interventions

“The government is interest in thematic areas such as transportation, health, climate change or green energy, robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning. In developing products in those areas, we are looking at applying a lot of principles into solving our challenges. It is instructive to note that some of these products will be needed more in certain areas than others. But it is up to the innovator or creator to determine what market it will serve; whether it is Ikorodu town, entire Lagos, Nigeria or the world. So, we have to take into cognizance the market your product is built for. That is what Ideas Hub will be able to help you do.

https://twitter.com/aotlagos/status/1202576224297660416

Ideas Hub and Intellectual Property protection…the assurance

“One of the things we have put in place, especially in the Solutions Hub, is that, in the process of submitting an idea you will sign come T&C (terms and conditions). Your idea is protected and will not be infringed on. The agreement between the State indemnifies you from some of those risks.

“Ultimately, we want people to trust us. So, it is not in our best interest to take somebody’s idea and runs with it, because the IP owner understands some of the concepts more. We want to work with innovators that are credible and so we build this country”.

There is no gainsaying the fact that any society that wants to be reckoned with on the global stage must be grounded in the application of technology to growth and development.

It is, there, gratifying to note that the world has accepted that Lagos State is the “Silicon Valley” of the African Continent with major investments by Microsoft and Google in the Ikeja based “Computer Village” and emerging tech hubs which have served as launch pads for the digital careers of numerous youths as software developers.

The State has now provided more opportunities for the technology ecosystem to co-create and deliver the Lagos that we all yawn for.

https://twitter.com/aotlagos/status/1202972663095943170

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There are many opportunities available for the development of software that can transform the way Lagosians see, do or think about life activities.

Art of Technology 1.0 opened the window for ideas, concepts and principles buried in the creative recesses of the community to break out and transform the landscape.

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