Co-designing a European Future Tech Lab in Africa as a Place for Open Innovation

Marko Lahti, Romanus Shivoro, Tuula Kaisto, Kauna Mufeti, Suvi Nenonen, Erkki Sutinen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


Universities are expected to reform into platforms and channels that attract and inspire even hidden talents to realize their potential to the fullest. The task is of a particular urgency in the Global South where especially the poor have to access an accelerated road to make a difference in their countries. University of Namibia (UNAM) and University of Turku agreed to set up a physical place for open innovation at UNAM's campus in Windhoek. The 200 sqm space, with its first activities, was co-designed by a team consisting of experts in higher education pedagogy, technology, context, and architecture. The Future Tech Lab is there to invite open minds and hands to invent technologies that do not yet exist. For this purpose, the Lab organizes a range of activities from children's design workshops to coding schools, seminars and degree programs to individual or peer mentoring. The founding partners of the lab are companies. Technology-wise, the Lab will afford cross-context collaborative innovation by multisensory remote presence. The case study of the co-design process of the Future Tech Lab, based on the diverse data gathered throughout the first half year of the Lab's life cycle, shows how the open lab has started to inspire the imagination of its users who recognize the space as their home where novel innovations grow in.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IST-Africa Conference, IST-Africa 2020
ISBN (Electronic)9781905824656
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings
EventIST-Africa Conference - Virtual, Online, Uganda
Duration: 18 May 202022 May 2020

Publication series

Name2020 IST-Africa Conference, IST-Africa 2020
ISSN (Electronic)2576-8581


ConferenceIST-Africa Conference
CityVirtual, Online


  • co-design
  • future technology
  • open innovation
  • overseas campus
  • remote presence

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 0

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Education
  • Artificial Intelligence


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