Profit & Innovation: A Balancing Act for the Tech Ecosystem.

 

The primary purpose of every business venture is to make a profit. Ideally, an entrepreneur is expected to put forward his best and most innovative product to be ahead of the competition.

It is this quest for perfection in face of competition that fuels innovation and this in turn fuels technological advancement within a tech entrepreneurship ecosystem.

However, there are exceptions to this rule that serve to stifle entrepreneurial innovation. This is where a profitable and well tested formula stifles innovation in the quest for profit.

I will use examples from the mobile gaming industry to highlight this phenomenon. The massive success of mobile games such as Candy Crush, Temple Run and Clash of Clans spawned the development of similar apps all hoping to cash in on the successes of these titles using their same formula.

 

Candy Crush Saga and clash of clans alone make an average of $1million dollars in revenue daily.  Although the app stores are littered with clones of these games, very few of these copies have attained the success of the original titles and this could be attributed to the lack of originality and innovation within these products.

This Filters down to Tech entrepreneurship ecosystem where start-ups instead of experimenting with innovative and groundbreaking ideas opt for already tested formulas to secure profit.

Perfection takes time and learning, therefore an entrepreneur who goes into his trade with the sole purpose of quick profits may not be patient enough to perfect his trade, thereby lessening the value of his product.

In our local ecosystem, you come upon across a lot of products with a lot of promise but a little value. This is because product development and innovation usually stops as soon as it the product is marketable.

Therefore the products are usually littered with half measures and plagiarised content and this has a resultant effect of reducing innovation within the ecosystem. An ecosystem that is not innovative will not be competitive and a lack of vibrant competition reduces the quality of output from the ecosystem.

An ecosystem that is not innovative will also not be globally competitive and will birth only local tech champions that cannot penetrate the global tech market.

Innovation from the ecosystem also propels the socio-economic advancement of a nation and this is vital if Nigeria needs to make any impact in the global tech race.

The recognition of need for innovative and globally competitive outputs from the tech ecosystem has spurned the development of tech innovation hubs. These hubs enable tech talents and entrepreneurs to gain the guidance, training and innovation needed to be globally competitive.

Rather than having a headlong rush into technology entrepreneurship, it is always vital in the long run to acquire the relevant skills and knowledge needed to have an edge in the industry and such skills can be acquired through tech innovation hubs and professional training.

It takes much more than learning the basics of software from Ogbunabali (Port-Harcourt’s unofficial Silicon valley) or taking a couple of tutorials on Youtube to become a globally competitive tech entrepreneur.

There are many viable Tech innovation hubs within the local ecosystem and 7 of these have gotten a boost through partnerships with Facebook through its NG_Hub initiative. Notable tech innovation hubs include Ken Saro-Wiwa Hub Port Harcourt, CC-Hub Lagos, Roar Innovation Hub Enugu among others.

Apple became the first trillion dollar company not through the quest for profit alone, but also through sticking to its vision of innovation and originality.

This should inspire entrepreneurs from within our ecosystem to likewise not just focus on profit, but to take time to perfect their craft and bring added value to the ecosystem.

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