Tag: Technology

How to trigger innovation and growth

How to trigger innovation and growth

Standard elements of fostering innovation and growth

A few weeks ago, I took part in a workshop on Global Innovation curated by the Innovation Orbit. The insightful program offered a variety of practical and theoretical content. Lectures featured topics of open innovation, new business models, innovation management in large corporations and the public sector.
Among other things, I learned a great deal on how to trigger growth:

Keep It Simple Stupid – KISS:
Complexity is a silent killer of sustainable growth. You are better off sticking to simple processes and business models that allow rapid adaptation to change

Why be a loner?
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. So, there is a thin line to achieving significant scale.
All continents, nations, industries, businesses, and professionals require partners to establish a complementary system. The days of specialising alone in one field are over. However, carving out a niche remains to be the better strategy to position advantageously over others.

Public- and Private Partnership:
Despite the differences of approach and language, a collaboration between the public and private sector is essential to sustain a competitive edge in all social and economic aspects.

Knowledge Management
Managing people is tough. Managing knowledge is even more challenging but paramount for creating a foundation to adopt innovation and room for scale. In today’s competitive world, the successful conduct formal or informal processes of sharing, transferring, disseminating and storing knowledge for growth.

Thinking through the elements of achieving growth, I connected this with the intense discussions revolving around sustainable agriculture.
As you may know, significant demands for organic production has led to an increase in farming methods without compromising our health, the environment, economic profitability and fair trade.

Making Sense and Profit of Sustainable Agriculture
This year’s final Frontiers of Dialogue series will address aspects of agricultural business, technology and innovation in the context of sustainability, income generation and shifting mindsets. Learn more

The Summer of Love in Europe

The Summer of Love in Europe

Views on the political dynamics of pro-European parties.

Along with sustainability, business and technology news, I like to keep informed on current international affairs. So, this post serves as an insight into the political dynamics in Europe.

The year 2017 appears to mark Europe’s summer of love.
Last year, following the Brexit and election of US President Trump, there was an overwhelming assumption that other countries, particularly Europe would follow suit in the wave of right-wing populism and nationalism.

History has shown us time and time again, that austerity breeds discontent towards migrants and the foreign. Some countries feared globalisation more than others, depending on the levels by which citizens, companies and countries around the world have become more interconnected through trade, investment and advances in technology.

Evidently, the political status quo and fear of mass migration triggered a global right-wing movement in Europe.


It was interesting to witness how the Austrian political showdown tried to emulate the unsavoury American style of debates, rhetoric and dirt digging. The far-right oriented Austria’s Freedom Party leader, Norbert Hofer put up a tough fight and retreated following a narrow win of the Pro-European Alexander van der Bellen, following the presidential elections on 4 December 2017.


Every country’s nationalist party should have a fair share of seats in the House of Representatives to protect the interest of tradition and domestic affairs. The Dutch nationalist Party for Freedom took it a step too far with constant feeds of anti-Islam propaganda, spearheaded by its sole member and controversial leader Geert Wilders. The world was surprised to learn of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s conservative-liberal People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy to win the general election, and this despite the opinion polls prediction to put the right-wing populist Party for Freedom in the lead for the election held on 15 March 2017.


The populist and nationalist-oriented party, True Finns had false hopes in winning the municipal election to draw out of the European Union and drive away all migrants. The National Coalition, a conservative but liberal and strongly pro-European Party eventually won the election held on 9 April 2017.


Effects of globalisation and prevalent anti-immigration rhetoric brought the largest far-right movement in Europe.
Marine Le Pen’s Front National party failed to live up to supporters’ expectations in a closely-watch French general election. Similarly experienced to the US presidential election of Barack Obama in 2008, newly elected French President and pro-European Emmanuel Macron brought hope. France dodged a right-wing nationalist bullet at the general election held on 7 May 2017.


Despite the burden of handling a steady flow of desperate refugees, Italy’s neo-fascist party, the Lega Nord lost its recent local election and prepared to charge ahead for the general election in 2018. Italy’s pro-European Democratic Party emerged as winners of the local election held on 25 June 2017.

Great Britain

Along with the American, British politics is truly show business for ugly people. Current Prime Minister and Conservative Theresa May faced a humiliating defeat against Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn who won 10% growth voters confidence; an achievement last experienced in 1945. The recent election appeared to be more about inequality than the nationalistic movement that led to Brexit. According to multiple poll surveys, the average Labour voters represented high-income, and highly educated demographic and Conservative voters represented the working class with only secondary school education. Usually, it’s the other way round …
The UK general election held on 8 June 2017 was overwhelmingly voted by the British wishing to remain in union with Europe.


The nationalist-populist party Alternative für Deutschland along with all other alternative parties have a slim chance of moving German Chancellor Angela Merkel from the throne. Since 2005, the Christian Democratic Union has managed to bring the German economy to a leading position in the world, along with 6% drop in unemployment and a largely multicultural and family-oriented democracy.
Who in their right frame of mind wants to vote against a stable and predictable Merkel economy? We will find out in the German general election held on 24 September 2017.

Austerity breeds populism.

Across the world, people are fed up with the political status quo.  The effects of globalisation in Europe swing in favour of anti-immigration, anti-Islam and Euroscepticism. Also, emerging technology is to blame for the harsh transition of replacing labour with automation across all sectors.

Instilling fear, uncertainty and doubt through populist rhetorics achieve an abundance of votes in the short term. Evidently, love and sensibility trumps hate and ignorance in Europe. Many of us, including the most sensible right-wing conservative, can relate to the fact that immigration brings innovation and diversity.

The European Union brings security and international trade.

International trade which is associated with globalisation has been a practice for centuries. Countries need access to goods and service they don’t have or cannot produce. There are two ways to gain access; either through trade or conflict.
Which would way would you rather?

The Rise Of African Cybercities

The Rise Of African Cybercities

Disruptive Innovation and Technology in the Savannah

What does San Francisco Bay Area, Bangalore and Nairobi have in common? Each city is a leading tech hub in its continental region, where technology companies and savvy entrepreneurs groom within a startup ecosystem. Also known as cybercities, Silicon Valley (USA), Silicon Plateau (India) and Silicon Savannah (Kenya) have each significantly contributed to its nation’s economic growth. Also known as Cybercities, you will find a concentration of incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, hackerspaces and other innovation labs striving for making an impact.

Cybercities tend to host a concentration of incubators, accelerators, co-working spaces, hackerspaces and other innovation labs striving for making a sustainable and positive impact on the economy, environment and society. Click here to see the World Bank’s infographic on tech hubs and incubators in Africa.

Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors.” African Proverb

Just like in any other country, cybercities cultivate digital entrepreneurship, connectivity, technology development, and most importantly innovative solutions.

Contrary to large organisations and public sector, Startups have a stronger sense of finding adaptive solutions to global challenges but struggle with the lack of financial means and infrastructure to launch sustainable products and services. Against all odds, tech hubs have mushroomed from a few too many in Africa’s emerging cities over the last six years.

International collaboration, grants, funding and impact investments keep the African Cybercities development steadfast. According to GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator, technology startups based in Silicon Savannah received more than €38 million ($43 million, 2016) in funding. Meanwhile, Lagos, Johannesburg and Kigali are catching up with Nairobi as the leading African Cybercity.

Yabacon Valley or Silicon Lagoon – whichever name you prefer to call Lagos’ tech cluster – drives the leading knowledge-based economy in Africa, according to Demo Africa. Other scholars and institutions, bet on Johannesburg to lead the social enterprise movement in the near future. The fact is that it doesn’t matter where the largest tech cluster will be located on the continent. My interest lies in the ability of cybercities to create an enabling environment for Africa’s young population to channel their energy, idea and hopes.

I cannot emphasise this enough – the opportunities for firms and consultants to tap into the growing knowledge stock of Africa’s emerging markets are immense. All it takes is to find a local partner – an Aphropean Partner – to assimilate, adapt your offering to local needs and capture the largely untapped market.

Former US President, JFK once said: “Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction“. Expand on your internationalisation strategy, explore Africa’s consumer market and contact me and my partners for assistance before you take that leap.

Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders

Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders


Frontiers of Dialogue

CSR Across Borders: Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa

Thursday 21 September 2017, 18:00-21:30
Salon Razumovsky, Vienna

Today’s global marketplace increasingly explores opportunities to trade with emerging markets.

Salon-Razumovsky Frontiers of Dialogue location

Aphropean Partners in collaboration with IEEE TEMS (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Technology, and Engineering Management Society) invites you to be part of an inclusive conversation.

At this Frontiers of Dialogue, we’ll discuss the options of bridging the sustainable business divide between Austria and Africa.

We have invited a distinguished panel representing the academia, public and private sector who will be sharing their sustainability initiatives in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. These individuals are incredibly valuable sources of knowledge and even better, can help you and your enterprise avoid the same mistakes they made.

The #FOD17 Panellists

Nwabisa Mayema

Chuks Ojeme, MSc
Griller & Bauer

Arch DI Dr Doris Österreicher
Universität für Bodenkultur Wien

Mag. Hans Stoisser
ECOTEC – Institutionelle Infrastrukturaufbau GmbH

Frontiers of Dialogue pt 3 Panellists

What’s on the agenda?

An engaging dialogue between experts of sustainable business, technology, and Africa in a relaxed setting with an after-work canape.

In order to successfully, expand your market to Africa, you need to understand the business conduct and market demands fully. Those of you who have already attempted trading in Africa: what your business did to be successful in the past might not be ideal in the future. Africa is connected and enlightened today more than ever before.

Together, we’ll learn about the opportunities and challenges of ethics and sustainable business initiatives with focus on the underserved market demands of Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa – particularly in the field of agriculture, education, and training, renewable off-grid energy, finance, consumer goods, manufacturing, and transport.

Frontiers of Dialogue3 Promo

What’s the point?

At this #FOD17 evening, we’ll learn about the opportunities and challenges of ethics and sustainable business initiatives in the developing world.

If you are interested in strengthening your professional Africa-Austria relations, this is a brilliant opportunity to meet intellectual people, exchange views and learn. We may not solve the world’s problems by the end of the evening, but our conversations may be the most inspiring.

The evening will be casual and filled with those sharing a common interest in the sustainable development of Africa to stem migration, create a skilled workforce and reduce the reliance of foreign aid among other matters. We place emphasis on promoting leaders of thought and practice with Africa experience.

About Aphropean Partners2
Sponsors and Partners of Frontiers of Dialogue

Previous topics of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue:

Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology (March 2017)
Driving Environmental Performance with Technology (May 2017)

Upcoming topics of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue:

Making Profit and Sense of Sustainable Agriculture  (November 2017)
Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders (September 2017)

Making Sense & Profit of Sustainable Agriculture

Making Sense & Profit of Sustainable Agriculture


What does agriculture have to do with the sustainability business? Everything.
Agriculture is the common thread which holds the global goals together;  from protecting society, our health and animal welfare to preserving the environment.

This inclusive discussion is particularly relevant for:

> suppliers of agricultural products and services,

> representatives of health and environmental protection agencies,

> food distributors and processors,

> NGOs and organic farming groups,

> environmental scientists.

In sponsorship of Knowledge City, Aphropean Partners 4th Frontiers of Dialogue is produced to increase your understanding of sustainable agriculture and highlight the lucrative opportunities as well as challenges in trading between Austria and Africa.  

At this Frontiers of Dialogue, we’ll discuss the opportunities relevant to sustainable agriculture, along with the technological and market changes in Africa.

We have invited a panel from the private sector who will be sharing their sustainability initiatives in sustainable agribusiness. These practitioners are incredibly valuable sources of knowledge and even better, can help you and your enterprise avoid the same mistakes they made. Together, we’ll explore high growth potentials and various pathways to the green industrialisation of Africa. 

The #FOD17 Moderator

Rita Isiba
Aphropean Partners
Founder, Director of Partnership Development and Programmes

The #FOD17 Panellists

Festus O. Imarhiagbe
Fesima Agro Consultancy
Agribusiness Expert, Agricultural Consultant

Thomas Kukovec
Technik-Plus – Carbon Farming Austria

Business Development Regional Manager MENA & Sub-Saharan Africa

Gert Zechner

What’s on the agenda?

An engaging dialogue in a relaxed and intimate setting between practitioners of organic farming and sustainable agribusiness in Austria and Africa.

It is said that over 65% of the global population is employed within the agricultural sector. In most of the developing world and Africa, the highest growth potentials are in agribusiness. Technological advancement and market changes have made it possible to drive the green industrial revolution. This comes along with an abundance of opportunities as well as challenges.

We’ll explore the correlation of sustainable agriculture with industrialisation, health, food distribution and human migration.

What’s the point?

At this #FOD17 evening, we’ll learn about the opportunities and challenges of sustainable agriculture in the developing world.

Take into consideration the population rate in economically challenged countries. Now more than ever, the world needs more job creation, food, water and land availability. What drives the success of entrepreneurial companies that sustainably produce agricultural products and services? How can Green Technology and Innovations help build a healthy ecosystem? Which business models are proven successful in Africa’s emerging markets? Why is impact investing crucial to the sustainable agriculture sector?

We will look into practices and strategies to understand what drives success in agricultural innovations and greentech.

If you are interested in the business of sustainability for development, this is a brilliant opportunity to meet amazing people, exchange views and learn. We may not solve the world’s problems by the end of the evening, but our conversations may be the most inspiring.

The evening will be casual and filled with a variety of people sharing a common interest in the Africa-EU relation to stem migration, create a skilled workforce and reduce the reliance of foreign aid among other matters. We place emphasis on promoting leaders of thought and practice with Africa experience.

Previous topics of #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue:

Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology (March 2017) Click here to learn more
Driving Environmental Performance with Technology (May 2017) Click here to learn more
Corporate Social Responsibility Across Borders (September 2017) Click here to learn more

DI. Festus O. Imarhiagbe

DI. Festus O. Imarhiagbe

Festus Imarhiagbe is an Agricultural Consultant and Agribusiness expert. He studied Agricultural Economics, Farm Production and Management at the University of Agriculture, Vienna in Austria.

He is the founder of Fesima Agro Consultancy, an advisor on agronomy as well as farm management and guest lecturer at the College of Agriculture and Sustainable Development at Cuttington University, Suakoko in Liberia.

From 2015 to 2017, Festus went to support as a project team leader in farm management the Cuttington University in Liberia under the sponsorship of USAID,  and subsidy department of agricultural marketing board (AMA) of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture.

Key qualification in Agricultural economics, farm production and resource management; personal/team leadership management and counselling

He is specialised in plant biology, Aquaculture, Aquaponics, new agricultural-based products and commercialization of new crops (Agribusiness development); Entrepreneurship and Microenterprise, Value Chain Analysis in Commercial Agriculture and in agricultural marketing, quality production and sustainability.

Festus is also involved in animal feeds formulation, preservation and conservation; new applications of plants for food, flavour, fragrances, health and nutrition, dietary supplements, natural plant products and herbs.

He serves in educational institutions and as a co-worker in several farmers supports projects across West Africa¸and is currently involved in steering initiatives which seek to enhance economic opportunities including the establishment of the Agricultural Training Center (ATC) in Bong County, Liberia.

Jesse Ojobor, MSc, BSc

Jesse Ojobor, (M.Sc., B.Sc.) Jesse Ojobor is an International Expert on Industrial Resource Management, Cleaner Production, Optimization and Energy Efficiency. He is currently working within the Environment Branch at the United Nations Industrial Development organization (UNIDO) HQ, Vienna.

He has acquired over ten years professional working experiences in project conceptualization, development, implementation, management, monitoring and evaluation with a particular focus on industrial waste management, water management, pollution hotspot analysis, resource efficiency and cleaner production.

He obtained his Master of Science (M.Sc) Degree at the University of Natural Resources and Applied Life Sciences (BOKU) in Natural Resources Management and Ecological Engineering and a Bachelor of Social Science (B.Sc) Degree in Geography and Regional Planning at University of Benin, Nigeria.

He has a solid track record in the delivery of technical cooperation projects, with specific expertise in the Sub-Sahara Africa region while acquiring knowledge and competencies within the Middle East, Arab Africa (MENA) and Asia Pacific regions.

Jesse has also developed programmes on Agribusiness and Rural Entrepreneurship Development; Poverty Reduction Human Security and Post-Crisis Rehabilitation; Women and Youth in Productive Activities which have been implemented in seventeen countries across the globe.

Naomi Morishita, MSc, BSc

Naomi Morishita Naomi Morishita is a doctoral student at the TU Wien (Vienna University of Technology), Faculty of Civil Engineering, Institute of Construction & Technology, Research Center for Building Physics & Sound Protection.

Her dissertation topic develops vernacular Syrian adobe architecture as a basis for developing energy-efficient transitional post-war housing incorporating recycled rubble. She completed her Master’s of Science at the Faculty of Architecture, TU Wien in Building Science & Technology (2010), and her Bachelor of Architectural Science with a Building Science major at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada (2003).

Ms. Morishita has over seven years of research experience in the fields of sustainable construction and energy-efficient buildings. She has been involved in international and regional interdisciplinary research projects relating to total energy use in buildings, on-site renewable energy production, building greening, energy-efficient construction, and energy-related occupant behaviour. She studied the influence of energy-related occupant behaviour on residential thermal, visual, and acoustic comfort on total residential energy use in summer.

She has given lectures to international professionals and university students about architecture, building physics, and thermal comfort. Since 2014, she has been involved in the curriculum development and organisation of the Green.Building.Solutions international summer university program. She has published in international conferences and peer-reviewed journals and also assists academics at all levels with technical writing in English for publication.

Ms. Morishita’s practical experience includes on-site construction management and architectural design services. She has lived and worked in Canada, Germany, Ireland, Slovakia, and Austria. She speaks English and German fluently, as well as French, Japanese and Slovak. She currently lives in Vienna.

Waste Business is Serious Business

Waste Business is Serious Business

Waste management is not a new concept in Africa. In fact, recycling and disposing of waste for profit is rather a promising business opportunity for a continent of more 1.2 billion people. In Europe, where waste disposal and water treatment is centred on economic impact, Africa weighs its focus more on economic (profit) and social impact (health).

European entrepreneurs and businesses have made substantial progress in turning waste into a resource. Some initiatives are promoting sustainable ways of waste management, along with frameworks that drive environmental performance. Europe INNOVA estimated that resource efficiency improvements all along the value chains could represent an overall savings potential of €630 billion per year for European industry.

We do not have a clue what the saving potentials are for African industries. Nobody has figured it out. We can agree the abundant opportunities for job creation and poverty reduction by creating new markets for recycling products for as long as possible. In addition to an improved environmental performance of Africa’s biodiversity and water quality, people reap the health benefits from appropriate waste disposal and water treatment.

On 4 May, #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue panellists share insights on the role of technology driving environmental performance, key trends, the opportunities and challenges this presents in African countries. Get inspired and engage with Vienna’s international community by reserving your place.

Looking forward to your comments and a fruitful debate at the upcoming #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue.


Rita Isiba
Your Aphropean Partner

PS.: Don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn or Facebook for updates, news and views.

Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology

Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology

This event took place on 2 March 2017.

Aphropean Partners in collaboration with the Universität Wien, Global African Diaspora Research Platform, the IEEE Technology and Engineering Management Chapter Central Europe, Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, Kenyans in Diaspora Austria invites you to join #FOD17 FRONTIERS OF DIALOGUE.

WHEN? Thur, 2 March 2017 – 17:30 – 21:30

WHERE IS IT? Kleiner Hörsaal, Universität Wien, Universitätsring 1, A-1010 Vienna, Austria

WHY?  Understanding that emerging technologies disrupt the traditional way of doing business plays a huge role in driving efficiency and cost reduction combined with sustainability practices. Also, individuals benefit from the convenience and low-cost alternatives that disruptive innovations bring. It is important to create awareness of disruptive technology concepts in order to adequately plug into the opportunities, particularly in Africa’s emerging markets.

At this #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue, we facilitate an open debate about Mastering Disruptive Innovation and Technology with a panel of intercontinental thought leaders and practitioners from the civil society, public and private sector.

We will close this inclusive discussion with an opportunity to network over drinks and canapés.

Our panel involves an exciting line-up of leaders of thought and practice from academia, civil society, public and private sector:

What we will cover:

  • Key trends moving environmental technology forward in Africa’s emerging markets
  • Challenges faced in improving environmental performance: lessons learned
  • Opportunities for cooperation and transfer of environmental  technology


18:00 – 18:30 Registration and refreshments
18:30 – 20:00 Panel Discussion + Q&A
20:00 – 22:00 Connect over drinks and canapés

Places are limited so to avoid disappointment register now.

6 reasons why you should join Frontiers of Dialogue

  1. Discover from leading experts in academia, private and public sector with international exposure;
  2. Great opportunity to ask questions and share your opinion;
  3. Get up to speed on key trends and issues affecting the way of business and work;
  4. Develop your knowledge for new ideas and approaches in business or work;
  5. Connect offline and meet professionals with international in spirit based in Austria;
  6. Have a great time after working hours with an inspiring mix of great people, music, drinks + snacks 🙂


More and more companies in Europe are seeking collaborating African partners to help tap into opportunities in Africa, and its complex environmental and social value chain challenges.

Rita Isiba, founder of Aphropean Partners established #FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue out of a desire for a continuous, accessible event for Austria’s international community working towards profitable sustainability. Discover trends and current affairs impacting the future of business, technology and sustainability in Africa.

The concept is pretty straightforward:
After work drinks and 90-minutes inclusive panel discussion or keynotes on key themes centred around the business, technology and current affairs on the first Thursday of every other month.

The goal is to bring together bright minds to actively exchange views from an international perspective on a wide range of subjects to inspire and provoke conversations that matter for business, work and a sustainable world.

We place emphasis on promoting intercontinental leaders of thought and practice based within the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland).

Events are recorded and held in the English language.


Annabella Johnson, Technologist and ICT Expert specialising in Humanitarian Affairs


Jacobs Edo, Business Transformation Expert and Author

Prof. Dr. Michael Heiss, Open Innovation Expert at Siemens and TU-Wien

Dr. Alain Nkoyock, Author, Scholar, Technologist at UN. Founder & President of Think Tank CABAC

Rita Okechukwu, Network Infrastructure Engineer, Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO)

#FOD17 Frontiers of Dialogue aims to shed light on mastering the role of disruptive technology and innovation for sustainability strategies in Africa’s emerging markets.

1st Frontiers of Dialogue Panel


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