Kenya, along with countries like Nigeria, South Africa, and Ghana, is leading the way on the continent in innovating new applications and programs that enable developments in the information communication technology (ICT) sector. This growth has not gone unnoticed. It has attracted substantial international interest, not just from non-profit organizations focused on development, but increasingly from for-profit actors interested in investing in the country.
In this environment, understanding how tech innovation happens in Kenya – the roles played by these many different international, local, for-profit, and not-for-profit actors – is a big part of understanding the shape of new technologies that will emerge. Yet many of the theories that exist to explain technology innovation were developed to describe processes in Western contexts, like Silicon Valley, far removed from the reality of innovation in Kenya.
This paper uses the technology innovation sector in Kenya to illustrate where existing innovation theories fall short. If we hope to understand the growth of these sector and help shape its development, ICT, communication, and management scholars need to work together to develop better theories to explain the unique context of innovation in African countries.Download PDF