The Presidential Digital Talent Program Innovations evaluation event

The Presidential Digital Talent Program (PDTP) concluded the innovations evaluation for the 2016/2017 class. The evaluations that began on Wednesday 1st Nov 2017 saw over a 100 innovators showcase 36 innovations at Huawei offices along Tiara Office Part in Lavington Nairobi. Following the initial presentations, 11 best innovations were selected for the second round of evaluations which took place today on 11th November at Huawei Offices.

The innovation evaluation exercise is aimed at creating an opportunity for the interns to showcase their products to panelists who will then selected the best innovation. The event was being spearheaded by Huawei in partnership with other PDTP partners. The judges were drawn from various government agencies and tech companies.

It is important to note that the PDTP participants are the ‘Bearers of the Digital Promise’ and are thus required to keep innovating to represent the PDTP Brand. As such, the beneficiaries should be shapers and makers of the digital Kenya. They represent the aspirations of the government to enhance service delivery to the Kenyan citizens by harnessing the use of ICT in government and public sector.

Ms. Eunice Kariuki, the Director Innovations, Capacity, and Development at ICT Authority says that:
“Kenya and the world are experiencing disruptions in most industries. The Kenyan youth cannot ignore the importance to innovate. Failing to innovate is an invitation to losing competitiveness in a world where intensive competition is the norm. PDTP innovation evaluation exercise provides a platform for all the beneficiaries to get their innovations to the market sooner.”

The innovation evaluation is being conducted as a joint collaboration between the public and private sector. The panelists are seeing to help PDTP innovators create business value as well as financial returns from their ideas. They also have access to critical talent and fresh ideas that they can help nurture into great businesses. The PDTP innovators have an opportunity to do a 10-minute slide presentation and then 10 minutes to answer follow up questions from the panelists. It is a platform for seasoned entrepreneurs and innovators, heads of public and private sector entities to interact with young innovators and chat on how they can improve their ideas.

Jeremiah Gatonga, one of the PDTP beneficiary who presented his innovation with partner Duke Moindi on the SUKWA App that aims at connecting beauticians and clients noted that “the idea of innovations evaluation exercise is a well thought. From my initial innovation, I was learnt how to improve the concept and align it to a specific business strategy. I have also learn valuable lessons such as being bold when pitching for your business idea.

The panelists were friendly and felt like we were having a conversation through asking big questions to understand the core of your innovation. I also learnt that launching a new disruptive product is not a result of randomness or magic; it is a science of putting the struggle of the consumer at the center of your innovation. Your innovation must break-through the clutter of skyrocketing consumer demands and be sustainable over time. I felt inspired to pursue the idea and hopefully get it into the market.”

Most innovation evaluation panelists have described the presentations with words such as “incredibly important’, “transformative”, and “a big moment for the future of public service delivery in Kenya.” The innovations have surfaced at the time when there were so many issues that the Kenyan public sector and private sector were struggling to overcome over the years.
Another PDTP innovations challenge participant John Wakahiu of the WinguBrains a freelancing company that connects job creators/employees with the right workers remotely, had this to say of the innovations competitions

“Our presentation has been good with panelists from leading companies in the country. We liked the way they raised issues we could not see from our end. It was an eye opening as it helps us to structure ourselves in order to address the weaknesses and pivot our business for success. We are motivated by the need to empower people from all over Kenya. We have already launched our site and therefore we are pursuing our innovation further. Time is of essence and this is the greatest lesson we’ve learnt from this presentation. It is never too late or too early to start a business “says John.

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