Monday, 25 January 2010

Tech Parks And Forced Innovation

The Nigerian government at the all tiers must be commended for their awakening to the importance of information technology in promoting entrepreneurship and innovation. Despite the fact that it is easy to point out where things are being done wrong, I am inclined to believe that the mistakes are a result of ignorance of both ICT and entrepreneurship. Another factor is the text-book approach the governments are applying to the whole process.
One particular trend that caught my attention is the love for technology parks by governments. Kano state for example has reached advanced stages of setting up their proposed IT park. I also know that Lagos state has a similar project and the FCT has a plan for a technology park. Other states like Cross Rivers and Akwa-Ibom have similar projects. These are all steps in the right direction but are not a guarantee of creating innovation and entrepreneurship.
Innovation and entrepreneurship can only be encouraged but not forced. This is because innovators and entrepreneurs move naturally to the best place that favor their growth and that place doesn't have to be a government built tech park. A perfect example is the Ikeja computer village which is the largest IT market in Africa. This market didn't come to existence through conscious government effort but grew naturally because of several factors that favoured it's growth.
So what should the government do?, I say give us stable electricity and broadband Internet across the country and we'll take it from there.

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