By Samson Echenim
Information technology experts have charged the Nigerian government and its agencies to invest in exponential technology research, on which the private infotech sector can derive background to create enhanced innovative products.
Several experts who spoke at Nigeria Innovation Summit 2019, themed “Accelerating Nigeria’s economic growth through innovation,” said the government has a very critical role to play for technological innovations to thrive in the country.
Lawrence Emeagwali, an associate professor and director, Centre for Management Research, Gime American University, Cyprus, chronicled the history of revolutionary infotech systems, such as Google and i-Phone, saying that American government agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), NASA and CIA did the exponential researches on which the founders leveraged to come up with innovative technologies which have changed the way people communicate across the world.
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He noted that the long time that exponential researches take meant that companies and individuals would not have the patience to carry out such researches, adding that if the government take up such researches and deliver on them, individuals and companies could leverage on the outcome to create new enhanced technology
He said, ‘”The iPhone is a revolutionary product that have changed the way we communicate today. It is so important that everywhere you go today you find people using it. How is it that individuals who have very little experience in engineering built the phone? How is it that a try led by people with little experience in engineering drive innovation that changed how we live today? Research funded by government agencies lead to critical discoveries. The image sensor for instance is an innovation that resulted from exponential research funded by the American National Science Foundation, NSF, NASA, and the CIA. The bar code scanners and radar for weather were outcome of exponential research funded by NSF, CIA, and the NAOAA. Google is an innovation that came out from exponential research initiated by NSFs digital library which Larry Page and Sergey Brin worked on as students.
“Basic research is the core of innovation. Typically, it takes about 30 years to mature. Governments are not constrained by the need for profit. the private sector will usually leverage on the existing exponential researches which can only be funded by government agencies because they take long time to mature.’
Gridcode founder, Adefolajuwon Amoo, however, charged indigenous infotech companies to take advantage of the executive order 5 with which the Nigerian government seeks to develop local technology and innovations, saying that the government meant well with the policy which he has used to get his Gridcode project successful.