Innovation is the new buzzword. Much hope has been placed on technological innovation, social innovation, financial innovation, and organizational innovation; we might even start hearing talk about the need to innovate innovation. However, innovation in itself is not enough. Social impact—meaning positive change for society requires successful implementation and use of technologies at a large scale. However, many challenges (ranging from cultural acceptance to economic affordability to environmental and institutional sustainability) remain to be addressed, as there are numerous pitfalls between the initial conception and large-scale adoption of a technology.


Innovation must be tailored to the context.


Innovation must be low-cost, scalable, robust, and socioculturally accepted.


Some key leverage factors include conducting a thorough assessment of beneficiaries’ actual needs, their ability to pay, finding an industrial partner to manufacture a technology, an accurate business model that ensures long-term financial sustainability, and the ability to develop a successful supply chain (including quality insurance, training, maintenance, etc.).


Furthermore, legal questions regarding patents and national standards must be considered.

Technological innovation must also be in line with the objectives of a circular economy and be adequately recyclable.


The opportunities to fail are numerous.

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Dr. Noel Akpata - Founder