Why is Lagos a Mega city currently without a Knowledge Park? Curiosity, creativity and imagination are acknowledged as the chief ingredients of Innovation. But all these thrive in Lagos State! So, why has the establishment of a digital knowledge park eluded her?
The thought of Lagos, a Mega city with over 20million human brains without a knowledge park, is to say the least, magically incredible. Most Mega cities of the world are populated by concerned stakeholders, passionate owners and promoters of Knowledge Parks for very obvious reasons. The most critical reason, according to Albert Einstein is “Education is not about learning the fact but training the mind to THINK”.
Let’s fast forward to Mega Cities and Parks and recreation in general…
Tokyo with a population of 37.4 million people is and remains the largest Mega city in the world. It boasts a surprising number of parks with awesome life experience. There are over 6,000 different parks and gardens covering more than 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) in the city. And Lagos? What happened to the Ikoyi Park of my Youth?
However, by all intent and purposes, Lagos ably qualifies as a distinguished Mega city going by its large population. But, there are other key characteristics that define and make a mega city of the 21st century.
They include: clean Air, smart and green environment, efficient mobility/transportation, 24/7 power, fluid financial transactions, security of life and property and above all, knowledge clusters for Research and Innovation.
Reflections of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+10 Review Meeting, From Digital to Knowledge Divide, Thematic Forum 1, UNESCO, France, 25 February 2013, presented by Professor Asha Kanwar and co-written with Dr. K. Balasubramanian, Commonwealth of Learning – represent an early warning system for developing economies. It focused on future human living environment, population and deployment of technology to enable access to information at all levels.
Today, we live in a Mega city confronted with enormous challenges. Evaluating the ICT character of Lagos State and strategies for responding to the opportunities, benefits and risks of emerging Information Society (IS) has become a life-survival issue. And by extension, sharing knowledge on how to deal with the dynamism and uniqueness of Lagos as a living space is a task for us all.
The air we breathe, the character of our collective sanitation, humanity relations, our mobility space – especially the man-made traffic shackle, etc., represent an environment devoid of inadequate infusion and application of Science and Technology logic. No Mega city of the 21st Century survives or can achieve sustainable development and endemic progress without the ability to conjure up a disciplined environment and people!
For example, why are our cities designed without rights of way for bicycles, children playgrounds, and community recreation centres? Should we continue to live by cars alone? Why are our abundant bodies of water wasting away in a habitat defined as an island surrendered by water?
Why have the precious butterflies, grasshoppers, the lovely birds, monkeys, crabs etc., disappeared and/or in hiding? Are we waiting for AI and Robotics to recreate them?
Alarmingly, Lagos is full of inspirational materials and resources for innovation, smart skills and but uncoordinated development strategy – seems to deny her the sanity and sanctity of self as a conscious centre of excellence?
Faced with the audacity of globalization, population surge, the increased velocity of 21st Century learning-technologies, mind-blowing energy of the youth in creative development processes, innovative economy and survivability – time to establish at least 10 knowledge parks was like 10 years ago. The resilience of Lagos and its world people and resources demand much more.
As the world transits into the future-of-work (FoW) in cloud-based information society, new conditions are being created for future economic (Data-centric 4th Industrial) direction and creation of wealth.
And indeed, the importance and critical nature of this narrative aptly redefined as ‘Software Strategies for Retooling the Workforce’ further compels and propels Lagos State to redefine the character of the Centre of Excellence as the innovative Mega city it deserves.
In exploring these new conditions, there is need to seek effective solutions for resolving the following pertinent issues. The critical role of State governments in supporting the creation of knowledge- parks as a proactive development strategy. The significant success factors for setting up effective Knowledge Parks. And the cultural characteristics that contribute to the sustainable growth of Knowledge Parks.
Knowledge Parks constitute to the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with immense benefits. Some of the principal benefits includes but not limited to the following: Generate employment; Foster better links with the academy; Providing support to the emergence of new firms; Be the bedrock and seedbeds for innovation, etc.
Indeed, existing framework and standards may not be capable of sustaining our national mission without strategically retooling the workforce and the dynamics of digital knowledge incubation, Today, it has become easy and feasible to retool the workforce by empowering the Nigeria Youth with a platform for constructive and critical knowledge processes.
Conscious assistance to Innovation Hubs in the State has become a strategic imperative and deploying creative Broadband infrastructure is necessary to drive growth and aid the ability to subdue the total environment.
Knowledge Parks will respond to the critical shortage of IT capacities, propensity and quality of future ‘Creative Class’ to survive as a Mega City in the knowledge-centric 21st Century? How do we reposition the ICT character of Lagos State to focus on Software Innovation?
If the goal of retooling the workforce is to facilitate wealth creation, enhance global competitiveness and ensure as well as sustain national security and survivability, then we have a collective duty to discover the lasting solutions for the Lagos State of our dream.. Perhaps, if we configure our knowledge arsenal properly, we may be surprised to find out that Software Engineering Development and Services harbor the prime and sustainable Roadmap for the mission.
Collaborating with the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON, Lagos State can become a destination of digital knowledge outsourcing (Yele Okeremi – President ISPON) This mission is capable of positioning Lagos State as a world leader in Software Engineering and Innovation Development, where the Indigenous software and services industry performs as the largest contributor to the GDP of Lagos State and national wealth creation”. We consciously believe that this task of championing the promotion of Software-Nigeria as a world class brand through the adoption and propagation of global standards is very feasible and possible.
ISPON is concerned that, unless our National Technology Character and Innovation thinking poverty is not engaged with conscious political will and strategies to reverse its current direction, the nation may become a classical example of the “Digital Colony” of the 21 Century! In the light of all the above audacious challenges, I hereby solicit for the support of Lagos State and implore her to join forces with Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh the e-Commerce Emeritus of our time and Chair of ZINOS Group, ISPON and committed Stakeholder to proffer functional solutions for demystifying the technophobia phenomenon in the State. Collectively and surely, we can turn our consumerism mindset into a digital hyper-creative Ecosystem.
Finally, I implore all to champion the goal of promoting a national framework for ‘Retooling the Workforce’ and the actualization of improved e-readiness status for Nigeria Indeed, automating government and related business processes remain the first port of call – ensuring that we recognize that there is a great difference between Computerisation and Automation.
- Creating the office of the ICT-General of the Federation as a strategic imperative for engaging the challenges of the 21st Century Information Society (IS).
- Software Intervention and constructive engagement in “Governance & Legislation”
- Software Intervention and constructive engagement in “Science, Technology and Innovation (STEM)”
- Software Intervention and constructive engagement in “ Broadband/Brainband Critical Information Infrastructure”
- Software Intervention and constructive engagement in “Agriculture & Food Security”
- Software constructive engagement in “Education & Health”
- Software Intervention and constructive engagement in “Industry & Commerce”
- Software Intervention and constructive engagement in “Research & Development”
- Software Intervention and constructive engagement in “Global Competitiveness’’
- Software Intervention and constructive engagement in “Rural Community Development’’
Lest we forget, there may be no smart city without smart rural Communities!
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