The Postal & Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) in cooperation with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is currently developing the Digital Innovation Profile (DIP) for Zimbabwe.
That’s likely gibberish to most of us. A digital innovation profile is an accurate assessment of an ecosystem’s capacity and maturity in terms of digital innovation. So yeah, that’s what Potraz and ITU are doing.
So how is this ‘accurate assessment’ done? – you ask.
It is done through a series of events in which stakeholders from the ecosystem come together to analyse the current situation and co-create appropriate solutions via flagship projects and/or initiatives, and policies designed to close the digital innovation gap.
Potraz and ITU are holding a 3-day Co-creation workshop to come up with a Digital Innovation Profile for Zimbabwe. The event kicked off yesterday, the 7th of June and concludes on the 9th.
On the first day many experts, called key stakeholders by ITU, from finance, academia, the private sector, the public sector, entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial support networks were present to share their knowledge.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of ICT, Postal and Courier Services was there, as was the Potraz Deputy Director General. The ITU group facilitated the sessions.
Never having experienced a co-creation workshop, we didn’t know what to expect. If we’re being honest, we thought it wouldn’t be the best use of time. However, after Day 1, I can tell you that it was the opposite of that – it was really something.
Now, Day 1 was all about understanding the current state of the digital innovation ecosystem. Then an ideal future state was mapped, as well as the gaps in the ecosystem that are preventing us from reaching that desired state.
ITU did their research, which included interviews and have a picture of what the current and future states look like, as well as the gaps. However, they wanted the key stakeholders present to share what they saw to complete the picture.
As they say, you can’t talk about solutions until you understand the problem. Day 1 was a gruelling affair but I believe the problems were mapped out.
Oh, and it’s always fun to be able to talk about which organisation is responsible for a particular gap in the ecosystem when they are there to sit through the talking-to. They can respond of course, and that clears everything up for everyone.
Current state and gaps
As regards the problems that were identified, you won’t be surprised by any of them. They included:
- Both public sector and private sector organisations work in silos. There is no collaboration in the market. So, some organisations have to engage foreign companies or waste time developing solutions that already exist, if they only knew.
- The poor digitisation of Zimbabwean records and information. This makes it hard to research and spot areas that need innovation among other things.
- The formal education system does not equip learners with soft skills. Critical thinking, financial, interpersonal and general business skills sorely lacking
- Poor flow of information on govt programmes’ progress. For example, SMEDCO and the RBZ Fintech sandbox. Who knows if the programmes have been a success? What has been their impact?
- The lack of a social security net makes Zimbabweans risk averse
I couldn’t possibly go through everything that was discussed but that should give you an idea.
From Day 2 we will be looking at solutions and that should be the fun part. We will keep you updated on what’s discussed.