Importing Innovation? Culture and Politics of Education in Creative Industries, Case Kenya

Minna Aslama Horowitz, Andrea Botero

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This chapter discusses the need to critically reframe the concept of innovation, especially regarding North-South development cooperation. The emerging discourse on the “Silicon Savannah” illustrates the situation: Eastern Africa is becoming more and more interesting to the Global North because of local technological innovations and emerging examples of locally inspired content that has begun to reach both local, regional, and global customers. This has evoked discussion on how ICTs, innovation, and entrepreneurship will form the core of bottom-up solutions for development. At the same time, training and mentoring programs tend to be designed to match the ideals of Western start-up culture, without broader regard to local practices. Given some of these conditions, it is fair to ask, “whose innovation?” This case study seeks to answer the question based on a case study on a creative industries’ start-up incubation project in Kenya. The multi-method Living Lab study within the project (2014–2017) points to how different actors of innovation ecosystems can add value to the ecosystem and offer also value to participants through managing relationships with peers, clients, funders, and partners and thus creating new learning and development possibilities. At the same time, they tend to import Western start-up discursive culture and politics of innovation. This may be in contrast to other creative opportunities that are embedded in country- and region-specific cultural content and practices that might be overlooked. Using the case study as an example, the chapter highlights key tensions of definitions, policies, and practices of innovation and development.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Communication for Development and Social Change
EditorsJan Servaes
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-10-7035-8
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2018
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


Dive into the research topics of 'Importing Innovation? Culture and Politics of Education in Creative Industries, Case Kenya'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this