At Co-creation Hub, we encourage, support and promote active female participation in technology and technology entrepreneurship. That’s why we are excited to be part of the Google for Entrepreneurs’ #40Forward challenge.
What have we done so far to get more women involved in technology?
In the last 2 years, we have hosted networking and information sessions where women, interested or already active in technology, get to learn and share their knowledge, experiences and challenges.
In December 2012, we had our first Ladies in Tech meetup with the purpose to form a synergy amongst women in technology and discover ways to maximize available opportunities, particularly with regards to what the CcHub community can provide.
From these sessions, we have identified some pain points for women in technology in Nigeria. There is the struggle to succeed in a predominantly male dominated field while learning to balance business and family life. All this in addition to the challenges common to all entrepreneurs such as how to:
improve business and technical skills
learn to build great products/offer great services
learn to sell said products and services
collaborate with partners and connect with potential investors
finding good hands to work with
identify opportunities to grow their business
Less Talk, More Action
With all these lessons in mind, this year, we are designing a high impact program that addresses these needs, and best of all, yields results. The program will identify aspiring and existing female technology entrepreneurs in Nigeria and provide them with necessary resources and support to grow successful businesses.
The goals of the program are to:
Equip potential and existing female technology entrepreneurs with the skills needed to build and grow their businesses.
Provide mentoring, training, and potential funding for female technology entrepreneurs in Nigeria.
By so doing, we will also:
Increase the number of women actively involved in technology entrepreneurship in Nigeria
Increase networking opportunities locally for women in STEM fields in Nigeria
Develop a critical mass and build a steady pipeline of skilled women in STEM in Nigeria
At the end of the program, participants will have formed teams and transformed their ideas into products and/or services fit to push to the market.
Are you a Nigerian female with a start up business or idea? Follow the link below to be a part of this project.
The world may be full of problems, but students presenting projects for Introduction to Creative Studies have uncovered a bunch you probably haven’t thought of. Elie Fortune, a freshman, revealed his Sneaks ’n Geeks app to identify the brand of killer sneakers you spot on the street. Jason Cathcart, a senior, sported a bulky martial arts uniform with sparring pads he had sewn in. No more forgetting them at home.
Once considered the product of genius or divine inspiration, creativity — the ability to spot problems and devise smart solutions — is being recast as a prized and teachable skill. Pin it on pushback against standardized tests and standardized thinking, or on the need for ingenuity in a fluid landscape.
“The reality is that to survive in a fast-changing world you need to be creative,” says Gerard J. Puccio, chairman of the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State College, which has the nation’s oldest creative studies program, having offered courses in it since 1967.
“That is why you are seeing more attention to creativity at universities,” he says. “The marketplace is demanding it.”
Critical thinking has long been regarded as the essential skill for success, but it’s not enough, says Dr. Puccio. Creativity moves beyond mere synthesis and evaluation and is, he says, “the higher order skill.” This has not been a sudden development. Nearly 20 years ago “creating” replaced “evaluation” at the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy of learning objectives. In 2010 “creativity” was the factor most crucial for success found in an I.B.M. survey of 1,500chief executives in 33 industries. These days “creative” is the most used buzzword in LinkedIn profiles two years running.
Traditional academic disciplines still matter, but as content knowledge evolves at lightning speed, educators are talking more and more about “process skills,” strategies to reframe challenges and extrapolate and transform information, and to accept and deal with ambiguity.
Creative studies is popping up on course lists and as a credential. Buffalo State, part of the State University of New York, plans a Ph.D. and already offers a master’s degree and undergraduate minor. Saybrook University in San Francisco has a master’s and certificate, and added a specialization to its psychology Ph.D. in 2011. Drexel University in Philadelphia has a three-year-old online master’s. St. Andrews University in Laurinburg, N.C., has added a minor. And creative studies offerings, sometimes with a transdisciplinary bent, are new options in business, education, digital media, humanities, arts, science and engineering programs across the country.
Suddenly, says Russell G. Carpenter, program coordinator for a new minor in applied creative thinking at Eastern Kentucky University, “there is a larger conversation happening on campus: ‘Where does creativity fit into the E.K.U. student experience?’ ” Dr. Carpenter says 40 students from a broad array of fields, including nursing and justice and safety, have enrolled in the minor — a number he expects to double as more sections are added to introductory classes. Justice and safety? Students want tools to help them solve public safety problems and deal with community issues, Dr. Carpenter explains, and a credential to take to market.
The credential’s worth is apparent to Mr. Lahue, a communication major who believes that a minor in the field carries a message. “It says: ‘This person is not a drone. They can use this skill set and apply themselves in other parts of the job.’ ”
On-demand inventiveness is not as outrageous as it sounds. Sure, some people are naturally more imaginative than others. What’s igniting campuses, though, is the conviction that everyone is creative, and can learn to be more so.
Just about every pedagogical toolbox taps similar strategies, employing divergent thinking (generating multiple ideas) and convergent thinking (finding what works).The real genius, of course, is in the how.
Dr. Puccio developed an approach that he and partners market as FourSight and sell to schools, businesses and individuals. The method, which is used in Buffalo State classrooms, has four steps: clarifying, ideating, developing and implementing. People tend to gravitate to particular steps, suggesting their primary thinking style. Clarifying — asking the right question — is critical because people often misstate or misperceive a problem. “If you don’t have the right frame for the situation, it’s difficult to come up with a breakthrough,” Dr. Puccio says. Ideating is brainstorming and calls for getting rid of your inner naysayer to let your imagination fly. Developing is building out a solution, and maybe finding that it doesn’t work and having to start over. Implementing calls for convincing others that your idea has value.
Jack V. Matson, an environmental engineer and a lead instructor of “Creativity, Innovation and Change,” a MOOC that drew 120,000 in September, teaches a freshman seminar course at Penn State that he calls “Failure 101.” That’s because, he says, “the frequency and intensity of failures is an implicit principle of the course. Getting into a creative mind-set involves a lot of trial and error.”
His favorite assignments? Construct a résumé based on things that didn’t work out and find the meaning and influence these have had on your choices. Or build the tallest structure you can with 20 Popsicle sticks. The secret to the assignment is to destroy the sticks and reimagine their use. “As soon as someone in the class starts breaking the sticks,” he says, “it changes everything.”
Dr. Matson also asks students to “find some cultural norms to break,” like doing cartwheels while entering the library. The point: “Examine what in the culture is preventing you from creating something new or different. And what is it like to look like a fool because a lot of things won’t work out and you will look foolish? So how do you handle that?”
Bonnie Cramond, director of the Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development at the University of Georgia, is another believer in taking bold risks, which she calls a competitive necessity. Her center added an interdisciplinary graduate certificate in creativity and innovation this year. “The new people who will be creative will sit at the juxtaposition of two or more fields,” she says. When ideas from different fields collide, Dr. Cramond says, fresh ones are generated. She cites an undergraduate class that teams engineering and art students to, say, reimagine the use of public spaces. Basic creativity tools used at the Torrance Center include thinking by analogy, looking for and making patterns, playing, literally, to encourage ideas, and learning to abstract problems to their essence.
In Dr. Burnett’s Introduction to Creative Studies survey course, students explore definitions of creativity, characteristics of creative people and strategies to enhance their own creativity.These include rephrasing problems as questions, learning not to instinctively shoot down a new idea (first find three positives), and categorizing problems as needing a solution that requires either action, planning or invention. A key objective is to get students to look around with fresh eyes and be curious. The inventive process, she says, starts with “How might you…”
The view of creativity as a practical skill that can be learned and applied in daily life is a 180-degree flip from the thinking that it requires a little magic: Throw yourself into a challenge, step back — pause — wait for brilliance to spout.
The point of creative studies, says Roger L. Firestien, a Buffalo State professor and author of several books on creativity, is to learn techniques “to make creativity happen instead of waiting for it to bubble up. A muse doesn’t have to hit you.”
The Nigerian art market is looking up, as it made total sales of N286.6million in 2013, a 21.8 percent increase, compared with the N232million sales in 2012, although experts say it was undermined by poor cash flow in the season.
This, analysts say is not a surprise, as interest in Nigerian contemporary art, which began to gain momentum a few years ago, was sustained in 2013.
“We are not surprised at the outcome in 2013,” says Nana Sonoiki of ArtHouse Contemporary Ltd, one of the foremost art auction houses in Lagos, “there was high expectation, so we were not surprised at the result at all.”
In the May 2013 edition of the Arthouse Contemporary Ltd auction, 82 percent of the lots were sold at N124, 982, 000, a 22.9 percent increase, compared to the 2012 figure of N101, 683, 600. At the annual auction organised by Terra Kulture in April 2013, 60 lots were sold at N47, 400, 000 which is also a 24.3 percent increase in sales, compared to the 2012 sales of N38, 125, 000.
The Nigerian auction market which is conducted three times a year, between April and December, usually witnesses two major houses putting lots out for sale.
At the May 2013 Arthouse Contemporary Ltd auction, an untitled woodwork by Ben Enwonwu was sold at the highest hammer price of N13.2 million, as against the estimated price of between N13 million and N15 million. In the second auction in November by Arthouse again, Ben Enwonwu’s 1957 work, Fulani Girl, was sold at hammer price of N17.05 million as against the estimated price of between N12million and N15 million. Also, at the auction organised by Terra Kulture and Mydrim Gallery in April 2013, Kolade Oshinowo’s ‘Royal Procession’ was the highest work sold at N3.9 million.
It is not a surprise that Enwonwu’s work took centre stage at local auction market in 2013 as his works were sold at higher prices at Bonhams’ sale of Modern and Contemporary African Art held in London in May2013.
Enwonwu’s work, a collection of seven wooden sculptures of figures holding newspapers which was commissioned by the UK Daily Mirror in 1961, was estimated to sell for £80,000 to £120,000 but tripled the high estimate to make £361,250. Another Enwonwu work, evocative oil on canvas of The Durbar of Eid el-Fitr, Kano, Nigeria, also broke the artist’s previous best by selling for £193,250. A bronze sculpture, Lot 118, also by Enwonwu, titled ‘Anyanwu’ and estimated to sell for £50,000-£80,000, made £133,350. This is a small-scale version of the famous work mounted on the façade of the National Museum in Onikan, Lagos, the current lot is one of Enwonwu’s most significant sculptures. The title ‘Anyanwu’ meaning eye of the sun invokes the Igbo practice of saluting the rising sun as a way to honour ChiUkwu, the Great Spirit.
Not long ago, I met a truly inspired young lady from Romania. It was on a discussion forum during an online course that we both participated in. Our common interest and what drew us to each other was our love for creativity. We both expressed a vision to nurture the innovative tendencies that are rife in our respective communities.
Well, she has a project that is all about developing ‘doers from dreamers’, and to take you from ‘idea to implementation’. It’s called Successify, and with her team they have put an awesome framework together to realize it. See an excerpt from their home page:
Successify is a place designed to empower young, creative people to put more of their ideas in practice. We focus on building a bridge between the birth of an idea and its implementation, by providing three essential ingredients to the success sauce:
an established entrepreneur as mentor to accompany you in the clarification of your idea
the essential knowledge-set based on the best practical entrepreneurial skill-boosting content existing so far
suitable tools that you can use to test and manage the development of your idea into a real product
Successify is currently taking applications for their mentor-ship program, so if you are young and have a creative idea that you need help implementing, this is for you. Or you know someone; I don’t think there’s anyone who does not like to be helped, especially in a new venture.
Mind you, your creative idea is not necessarily a new thing that has not been done before. Read ‘novelty’. It does need to be an inspired one though, inject your personal creativity into the problem you want to fix.