Simon Shimboyo from University of Namibia shows incentive

DSC_1001 (1)As part of the SAIS Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning tool, we continuously send out surveys to our network to get feedback on the activities of the programme. This is of utmost importance as it helps inform our future decisions on what activities, events and workshops the programme needs to undertake, based on the needs that participants have in the ecosystem.

To encourage participation in these surveys, the programme offers an incentive to a lucky respondent.

Mr. Simon Shimboyo was the winner of the second stakeholder survey.  The SAIS team would liketo thank him for his excellent inputs into the activities of the programme.  We caught up with Simon recently and asked him to tell us a bit about himself.

Who are you to the World?

I am a lecturer in the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Science at the University of Namibia,  in Windhoek. My field of specialisation in the department is in Nuclear/ Radiation Physics and together with my colleague, Professor James Oyedele, I am involved in research activities and working in collaboration with various governmental ministry’s and industry. I am also involved in many committees and task forces both at a departmental and faculty level.

How did you come to know about SAIS?

I was nominated by my Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Namibia, Prof. F Gideon, to attend the Innovation Systems Leadership course that was offered by the programme.The course was presented by Ramboll Management Consulting from 24-25th March 2014 in Windhoek, Namibia.

After attending this training offered by SAIS I was involved in the organisation  of the first -ever Faculty of Science Retreat: “Areas of Innovation” held on 13th June 2014 in Windhoek. This saw the gathering of representatives from industry and government. At this event the different innovators from the Faculty of Science show cased their different research areas and how these could be developed further with the assistance of government and industry and vice versa.

What is your impression of SAIS?

I believe it has made great strides in not only assisting innovators to establish themselves but in also giving those countries that wish to establish innovation hubs the necessary support through the different training programmes that they offer. The fact that there exists this type of network where different countries can learn from one another, especially those that have been able to establish sustainable innovation and technological programmes, is an excellent result of the programme.

I am a strong supporter of the triple helix formula that consists of academia, civil society, government and industry, thus I believe that once there is a commitment from government to establish an innovation policy in which academia would play a major part, then government and industry could benefit from the programmes, devices, etc. This would enable not only academia but also innovators in the society to come up with things that would be responsive to the needs of both industry and government including the society and this could greatly contribute to the economy of any country.

Which areas of innovation in Namibia and southern Africa as a whole do you think SAIS could make a significant difference?

From those innovations that I know of I would say the technological ones that involve the use of cellular phones, like e-wallet or the different types of applications  from what is going on on the social scene to how pregnant women can monitor their pregnancies, for example.  Since we are living in the technological age that is fast growing and changing everyday, I would say the telecommunications arena would see a lot of innovations in the foreseeable future.  SAIS should think about supporting more of those types of innovations. In Namibia, housing is a big problem, so how about an app that can give you timely information about what flat or house is available for rent or being sold by the owner?

That I being said, I do not think of innovation simply as a product to sell.  I believe that it could be as simple as an innovative way to do household budgeting or assisting customers more efficiently on a busy day at a shop to not let them stand in the queue for such a long time.  It could also be how to make everyday tasks simpler, safer and more efficient if you are working in a high stress environment (normally dealing with a high frequencies of people).