As the Regional Managing Director of ThoughtWorks Pan-Africa, I was recently interviewed by InfoQ’s Shane Hastie during Agile Australia 2014.
During the interview, I spoke about frugal innovation in Africa. Innovation is fueled by need (after all, necessity is the mother of invention), and is both the science and art of using the little resources available to solve challenges. GoldKeys is one example of that - where a simple text messaging system can potentially save people from consuming counterfeit medication that could be harmful to them.
Innovation is often associated with spanking new technologies. But often, it is the robust, tried and tested technology, that is also more readily available and easier to deploy, which has the larger impact. The continent has seen tremendous changes in the past few decades with more opportunities for people to innovate and address real challenges.
However, I’m still concerned that there are too few African women in technology. Given that half the population in Africa is female, there is a need to get more women into IT by encouraging them to take up STEM courses from a younger age. While ThoughtWorks Pan-Africa is slowly attempting to bridge the gap through programs like Level Up, Rails Girls and Black Girls Code, it’s still a long journey and there’s much more to be done.