Creativity is the spark that powers innovation, drives growth and development. It sets us free to express the full gamut of our inductive powers of reasoning, logic and passionate longing for something that was not once there or something that addresses a problem or that builds upon an already existing concept, theme or idea.
We all know the tough call of becoming a person of independence and deciding to go through with that crazy business scheme of ours – we all know too well the sleepless nights and the inherent doubts that haunt us repeatedly – the tiny voices of dissidence in our heads that scream out to antagonize this spark of creativity that seeks to live in our world. The negative voices of friends, colleagues and partners who now seem to stand against this new seed of an idea.
It is sometimes and most times a hard road to travel; especially if you are traveling alone and so you do need all the help you can get. That is why the advent of incubation hubs is so vital.
They are a concentration and support structure of people, skills and infrastructure that can often be the kiss of life needed to lift an idea off the ground. They can be the entrepreneur best friend in a time of chaos, difficulty and uncertainty. Where the inherent bliss of structure, support and routine create a safe haven for new concepts, ideas and entrepreneurs to thrive.
Incubation hubs as the name implies act as incubators of ideas – like an artificial womb – they cater to and sustain an idea with or without merit until it is fully formed and able to take a life of its own – they provide an environment for such ideas to thrive and develop at a pace that is not smothered with real world issues. the HUB by itself is not the magic bullet – often the individual or team involved may often have to go through various challenges in a bid to overcome seeming unmountable obstacles. The HUN only makes the journey occasionally easier.
They are often a mix of people with different talents and skills – business managers, marketers, analysts, technical personnel, creatives and they provide a haven and equipment, time, support either in personnel and infrastructure to the would be entrepreneur or business person.
These days as the engine room of growth that pushes for self independence – they are a means to jumpstart an economy that is mostly dependent on white collar jobs. The traditional mindset insists that people finish from college or the university and immediately start looking for jobs. In an flourishing economy with many jobs available – this would be no problem at all but in an economy marked by high unemployment numbers and shrinking job markets – it becomes a keenly contested battle where rights are sacrificed and employers become overlords.
Incubation hubs help to alleviate this by encouraging independence, viable business plans and ideas that can create and open up opportunities that were sorely lacking. Most tech companies of today have very humble beginnings and started out in incubator hubs or its early precursors.
They received mentor-ship, financing, space, resources etc and in return they went ahead to create employment as employers of labour and eventually profit.
The sheer creative energy that resides in these hubs are a testament of the power of surrounding yourself with like minded people who seek to create something new and viable and which addresses real world needs and requirements.
These hubs create and promote a mindset and attitude of “never say never” – they create a pool of talented persons, solutions, services, platforms that can be called upon for different purposes depending on the needs and requirements of clients and other interested parties. After awhile the culture of exchange becomes a prevalent currency used to bargain projects and assignments within the hub.
At the juncture when that business idea is deemed viable and has been proofed – venture capitalists and partners step forward to offer support and other incentives to take it to the next level – this creates employment opportunities and re-creates the cycle all over again when one of the founding members goes out to start another venture.
We need much more of such hubs and we need people who are not afraid to be partners, stakeholders, sponsors, mentors in the creative process.
In Lagos, Nigeria – the cchub: http://cchubnigeria.com is one of such innovation hubs and has received support from major industry players like Google, Microsoft, RIM, MainOne, Samsung etc
In Lusaka, Zambia – the most prominent is BongoHive where i have been fortunate enough to meet fantastic people and to also mentor a few.
We need more innovation hubs like these both for the service they provide and the outlet for creativeness and other productive enterprises.
At the end of the day – the creative process and the steps towards the future begin with a spark of an idea and a vision of its eventual form. We are all part of the process and we cannot any more stand aside and wait for miracles to happen.
We are after all miracles in the making.