The average sociocultural Ghanaian environment is full of creative minds and innovators. This is clearly evident in how we prepare our local dishes, play our local games and tell stories of heritage amidst many other activities. In the area of technology, our uniqueness and creativity doesn’t seem to hold, perhaps, because we have not learned to adequately bridge the gap between technology and innovation.
Man’s greatest desire is to see technology produce solutions to the many problems that beset us. The question still remains, “How creative have we been in the fulfillment of that quest?” Our creative ideas may sound radical or even impossible but the fact still remains: they are game changers, breaking the status quo. They are Innovation!
Most likely, we might have come across the phrase “Think outside the box” but did we ever stop to realize that it would be much better if we didn’t have a box in the first place. Our imaginations then run free and wild. This is exactly what these four outstanding innovators do.
Let’s meet them!
Prof. Nii Narku Quaynor
If you are reading this article in Ghana, or anywhere in Africa, know that this man-made this possible for you to do so. The Internet only existed in Europe, Asia, Americas and other continents but had not yet come to Africa. It needed someone to make it possible for it to come to Africa and Prof. Quaynor took charge!
Prof. Quaynor is a computer scientist and an engineer who had his tertiary education in the USA and this definitely gave him the much-needed exposure to technology. On Quaynor’s return to Ghana from the United States in the early 1990s he established some of Africa’s first Internet connections and was involved in setting up some key organisations, including the African Network Operators Group (AfNOG).
He introduced Value Added Networks in the region through the introduction of the SWIFT, Internet and Commerce networks, and was founding chairman of the African numbers registry(AfriNIC).
Quaynor is the Chairman of the Ghanaian company Network Computer Systems, a member of the United Nations Secretary General Advisory Group on ICT, member of the ITU Telecom Board, Chair and of the OAU Internet Task Force, President of the Internet Society of Ghana, and member of the Worldbank Infodev TAP. He has also been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame by the Internet Society.
Dr. Thomas Mensah
One of the greatest minds to ever exist in the 21st century, Dr. Thomas Mensah; a chemical engineer and world-renowned inventor with 7 US and worldwide patents in Fiber Optics over a period of six years and Nanotechnology. One remarkable brain he has there ,it’s no easy feat to produce such patents within such a period of time.
He’s worked for Corning Incorporated, makers of the toughest smart phone screen protectors. The Corning Gorilla Glass Screen, in Fiber Optics research Sullivan Park, New York 1983-1986, where he built the fastest Fiber Optics draw and coating process, 50 meters per second.
Mensah’s work in fiber optics reduced the cost of producing them on a large-scale, which led to the speedy spread of fiber optics around the world. In this regard, he received the Individual Outstanding Contributor Award Prize of $10,000 at Corning Glass works in 1985. He holds 4 patents for this effort.
He joined AT&T Bell laboratories, the birth place of C and C++ programming languages, in 1986 and led the program to develop fiber optic reels used in the guided missile program. This effort led to the development of a system that was successfully deployed at missile speeds up to Mach 1 (The Speed of sound).
He received 3 US patents on this technology.As a world expert in the field of advanced materials, Dr. Mensah has worked on specialized projects for NASA (Superconductors for space communications), the US Army (Smart munitions Picatinny Arsenal) and US Department of Energy, (Fiber optics sensors for Highway Traffic monitoring). Dr. Mensah has additional patents pending in some of these areas.
Nana Opoku Agyeman Prempeh
Nana Opoku Agyeman Prempeh is one man who found it necessary to apply his creative and analytical thinking skills in solving a problem in his church by being innovative with technology.He observed how the church was virtually struggling in its administration of duties;and hence, found a solution by developing an app named “ASORIBA“. “Asori” meaning “church” and “ba” meaning “child” translating the app name as “Church-child”.
He describes “Asoriba” as a unique web and mobile application that enables effective church administration for leaders, and seamless engagement with members via mobile phones (App & SMS). It goes beyond a good database and does more.
Any forward looking church that see a colossal shift in the way humans engage has already started thinking about how to leverage technology to effectively run the church and engage with its members who are constantly on their mobile phones and the Internet. What “Asoriba” does is, it gives the church a solution that is uniquely designed to meet its needs.
[ctt template=”4″ link=”3mlak” via=”no” ]”I am not African because I was born in Africa but because Africa was born in me” -Kwame Nkrumah[/ctt]
To be more specific;” Asoriba” is designed to make it easy for the church leader to nourish members by sending daily devotions or prayer points seamlessly to the member’s mobile phone. This is possible via the Devotional and Announcement feature in the Web App. The member will receive notices on his/her “Asoriba” mobile app or as an SMS on a feature phone.
This means every morning before you get out of bed, you can have tailor made, spirit filled devotions from your own Pastor. And in the course of the day, you can listen to a past sermon, which could be audio or video from the Media feature in the mobile app.
This enabled him start up his own company to further reach out to more churches. He’s now a successful entrepreneur ,part of Forbes 30 under 30 tomorrows billionaires and a pastor-in-training at the church “Asoriba” was given birth to.
Prince is the CEO and Co-founder of MapTech Logistics Limited. His company leverages the power of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to solve business problems by developing and deploying GIS-based applications to solve business problems relating to logistics and supply chain management.
With the help of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies, MapTech Logistics, assists clients in delivering goods and services in order to overcome unique geographic obstacles and challenges. The philosophy behind MapTech Logistics is that location matters. Every business and customer has a location and in order to meet needs effectively, location barriers must be overcome.
Prior to founding MapTech Logistics, he co-founded EVOLV.Africa; a non-profit organisation that empowers the youth with entrepreneurship and leadership skills. To date, his NGO has reached close to 1,000 youth through seminars, conferences and workshops. Prince holds an MBA in Logistics & Supply Chain Management from KNUST-Kumasi.
He has worked as Logistics and Supply Chain Analyst for Clean Team Ghana, where he worked with the operations team to design and engineer a more efficient and effective transportation model for the company; he also handled procurement and importation of the company’s toilet technologies and toilet additives.
He is the founding curator of TEDxKNUST, a World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shaper (Kumasi Hub), and recently named Future of Ghana Magazine 30 under 30 emerging Ghanaians to watch. Prince is a Ye! Fellow and was selected as 1 of 10 entrepreneurs from Ghana to pitch their businesses to investors at The Dutch Central Bank in Amsterdam.
Prince also served as a speaker at the just-ended Atlantic Dialogues in Morocco as one of 40 named Emerging Leaders from four continents across the Atlantic Basin —an initiative of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the OCP Policy Center of Morocco. He is an active member of the GhanaThink Foundation.
So you see, there is nothing out of your reach! Forget the box and think wild. The truth of the matter is whatever you do; be innovative, be “you-nique” and be outstanding. Definitely, the results would be mind-boggling!