To accomplish sustainable innovation, all players in the ecosystem must work together because it cannot be completed by one person or organisation. This statement was contained in a speech delivered by the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, CCIE, at the Innovation Support Network (ISN) 2023 Annual Gathering with the theme “Unlocking Potential: Collaborating for Growth and Impact’’ at the Shehu Musa Yar’adua Centre, Abuja.
Inuwa emphasised that the tech industry thrives on collaboration and over 60% of global innovation now involves some form of cross-organisational collaboration. “A 2020 report by Microsoft indicates that over 95% of Fortune 500 companies rely on Microsoft Cloud services, illustrating how digital collaboration is driving business operations and innovation.” DG NITDA noted.
The Director General who was represented at the event by the National Coordinator, Office of the Nigerian Digital Innovation ONDI, Yakubu Musa, added that collaboration is the leading competitive edge across all spheres of socioeconomic activities, and this year’s annual gathering is to encourage and strengthen collaboration towards assisting innovators in discovering innovative and efficient solutions to the various problems confronting us in the economic, social, and political/governance realms.
He further revealed that technological advancements help societies to develop interconnected networks of cooperation which helps to accomplish more and improve the quality of life, thus allowing us to use these platforms to access ecosystems, talents, and information that are democratizing knowledge.
Furthermore, the DG said, ”these statistics are indicative of the fact that the world is becoming increasingly interconnected, interdependent, and collaborative. Therefore, collaboration is no longer an option, but a necessity for progress and growth.”
He stated that recognising collaboration as the dominant component for the digital transformation of the economy, the Director General noted that, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is unrelenting in its promotion of an environment suitable for all stakeholders to collaboratively grow and impact the digital innovation ecosystem.
He added that the role of the Agency is manifested through various enabling policies, guidelines, and strategies.
“Through strategic local and international relationships, NITDA has continued to work towards the realization of its overarching mandates. And, through numerous collaborative efforts, we have co-created enabling policies and regulatory instruments, as well as implemented programmes and initiatives for the sustainable development of Nigeria’s digital economy.”
He argued that in order to deepen our collaboration with the ecosystem, two Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs), the Office for Nigerian Innovation (ONDI) and the National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (NCAIR) were established.
And through these SPVs, there have been collaborations with relevant stakeholders in implementing programmes such as the Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Support (TIES) Scheme, the iHatch Startup Incubation Programme, amongst others.
Inuwa expressed his confidence in NITDA’s collaborative efforts to foster creativity and innovation to help the entrepreneurs catalyze digital innovation and entrepreneurship in all its ramifications.
He urged the public and private sector stakeholders to join the organizers of the annual gathering to avail themselves of the opportunities to collaborate and support the establishment of a prosperous and sustainable digital innovation ecosystem.
The Finland Ambassador to Nigeria, Leena Pylvänäinena, stated that as one of the top 10 most innovative countries in the world and as a small country, collaboration is key for success in any area.
Pylvänäinena reiterated that “there is much more that can be done in terms on partnerships and collaboration between Finnish Startup and Innovation Community and Nigerian startup community”.
The Executive Vice Chairman NASENI, Khalil Halilu, in his own remark, asserted that ISN was a product of collaboration, stating that working together is key in achieving progress, creating solutions to the most pressing challenges facing us, producing technological innovations and for creating jobs and wealth.