The Research for Impact initiative opened the door to a paradigm shift in my approach to research and innovation. With 23 years of experience as a researcher, I initially approached the program with a sense of familiarity, centered on traditional research practices. Little did I know that my journey at Innov8 Hub would be a catalyst for profound transformation.
My first thought about R4i was that I will be taken away from the comfort of my home and family to yet another ‘as usual’ academic workshop one is used to, for two weeks! This was my feeling from the very first day I was nominated, down to the very moment I arrived in Abuja. But that feeling was completely changed, in fact, ‘Regret’ can never be a word to mention about The Research for Impact initiative.
On the first day of R4i, my colleagues and I were teasing each other, wondering what could an Innov8 Hub programme teach a university professor for up to two weeks? On the plus side, at least we will go home with our DTA. But then we were in for a big surprise, changing the way I look at everything. For the first time in many years, I found myself speechless. In fact, by day three I had an out of body experience into the world of endless imaginations full of hope.
I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt in my mind that, with all that I have learned from the R4i initiative in 10 days, the world will hear about me. Bespoke innovative solutions will be given birth to. The narrative will change concerning academia. I will indeed be a good ambassador of R4i and a transformative agent of research, innovations, inventions and an acadapreneur in Nigeria and across the world.
The culture of application of technology without demand-driven products must give way to innovation driven by genuine human needs and meaningful societal impact; permanently shutting the door on supply-driven innovation, which to me is no innovation at all. Poco a poco, it is surreptitiously becoming very clear that my academic research articles are not what my nation really needs to get out of the woods.
Personally, I saw my R4i experience as an exceptional lifetime opportunity to witness the thrill of innovation management and value creation. These have all been practically proven beyond doubt, to all participants through intense provision of in-depth insight of the means of attending to our immediate societal necessities. To such effect, R4i has really provided us with the principles, processes, platform and procedures of innovative research, development ideation, implementation management and value creation.
When I became the much awaited ‘professor’, like other milestones, there were no loud drums, no feelings of ‘I have arrived”. I felt I had accomplished something but knew that it was not yet ready. It was just another milestone. I wanted more, to make an impact and leave a legacy. By this time, the economic situation in the country had changed and as a professor, my take home pay could not take me home. I needed an additional source of income.
R4i is the greatest collaboration I have ever seen or being involved with in my academic pursuit. This capacity-building initiative aims to reorient the Nigerian academia towards carrying out value-added research that will solve societal problems directly and practically by transforming research findings from paper work into innovative and finished products.
Having been in the academic pathway for a decade and counting, going for workshops and seminars across the nation, I thought that I had seen all there is to see regarding innovation in Nigeria. But stepping into Innov8 Hub for the Research for Impact (R4i) initiative, I was blown away. I never believed that such a world class center for birthing ideas into innovations really existed in Nigeria.
My experience at Innov8 Hub is the most fantastic New Year’s gift I have ever had. The program exemplifies a dream come true for me as an adventurous and young creative educator with a passion to become an astute scholar, with nation-building in mind. For over a decade, I have observed the use of several styles and pedagogies in classroom learning, but I have never witnessed any such pattern as is demonstrated here at Innov8 Hub.