An open space for the technologists, investors, tech companies and hackers in Nairobi.
The iHub is an Innovation hub and hacker space for the technology community in Nairobi that was started in March 2010 by Erik Hersman a renowned blogger, TED fellow and entrepreneur. This coworking space is a nexus for technologists, investors, young entrepreneurs, designers, researchers and programmers.
Situated on the fourth floor of the Bishop Magua Centre on Ngong Road, the iHub provides a space where young entrepreneurial members can receive mentorship, Internet connectivity and the possibility of venture funding through connections with the international venture capital community. The iHub has been called the "unofficial headquarters of Kenya's tech movement"
The iHub has a number of initiatives designed to build an ecosystem around the Kenyan tech entrepreneur: iHub Research, iHub Consulting, iHub Supercomputing Cluster, and the iHub User Experience (UX) Lab. The iHub prides itself with creating a place where seeds are planted and are easily found by the people with money to help them grow, describing it as a paradigm shift towards the areas where technology approaches a barrier, and new technologies emerge to cross it. This is achieved through the idea of Open Innovation, which is the process of combining internal and external ideas as well as internal and external paths to market to advance the development of new technologies.
The space is a tech community facility with a focus on young entrepreneurs, web and mobile phone programmers, designers and researchers. It is part open community workspace (co-working), part vector for investors and VCs and part incubator.
The space was made possible by funding from Omidyar Network and Hivos. The lease is covered by Ushahidi and the 20mb internet connectivity is covered by Zuku. Wazi WIFI has also installed free WIFI. Current partners include Intel and Microsoft.
The iHub is also tinkering with various sustainability models some of which double up as community initiatives. Currently, sources of revenue (outside of funding are:
The iHub charges for some of the events that are held in the facility.
The iHub started a research arm in March 2011.
This is an initiative, though it is not revenue generating for the iHub.
Consulting is an arm built to both improve the skillset within the community and generate revenue for the iHub.
iHub UX Lab
The iHub UX lab is the first open user experience lab in Sub saharan Africa. The UX lab has a mission to Develop a User Centered Design culture in Africa by helping the local community learn Human Centered Design methods that pit the user at the centre of their product development. As it stands, most solutions are still built with a tech-centric approach and therefore do not fully understand and design for the users' needs and context. Inevitably, most of these solutions therefore fail to meet needs of the user and therefore have minimal or no adoption.
Some of the services offered at the iHub UX lab include;-
1. Training on Human Centered Design Methods 2. A fully equipped Usability testing lab with a sound proofed testing space and observation environment to test products with users 3. User experience research 4. Design thinking and Ideation (this is especially for groups trying for use creative thinking to develop new ideas/products)
The organisation believes that Africans have the intelligence and drive to solve their own problems, our job is to help startup, corporates, social entrepreneurs and development organisation design smarter, contextualised solutions that have relevance and ownership with their users.
It developed and executed Tajriba, the first user Experience Month in Africa. During the month, it involved world class User Centered Design experts who hold hands on workshops for the local community (university students, start ups, designers, developers, etc.) for more on this, visit www.ihub.co.ke/tajriba
Building Africa's 2nd HPC Cluster
Events held at the iHub
- Kinyanjui, Kui (21 July 2011). "Ihub Techies Roll the Dice As Venture Capitalists Place Bets on Inventions". Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- "iHub website". iHub website. Retrieved 23 October 2011.
- Angela Crandall (1 July 2011). "*iHub Blog Post". iHub Blog. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- Mutwiri Mutota (30 September 2011). "Vint Cerf at ihub: Internet Oldies meeting young techies". CIO Magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2011.