What happens if we do not innovate?

Article   Lusungu Munthali   October 3, 2017
PIC: Joshua Ngalande, inventor of Nsima Cooker giving a talk on innovation and entrepreneurship at the Telecommunications lab.
“Students are soldiers against the war of poverty and that is there; role they need to think about the problems society is facing because if they don’t help Malawi to solve the problems that it has, then who will?”

Joshua Ngalande, an inventor of the Nsima cooker and an Electrical Engineering Alumni at the Polytechnic presented a motivational talk to the students of the Society of Electrical Engineers. The talk, which was held in the Telecommunications lab on Friday 18 August 2017, was under the theme “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” attracted a number of engineering students.

Ngalande did not come to showcase his innovative skills neither did he bring the Nsima cooker with him but he came with a profound aim of inspiring students with the need to be innovate by being practical in their learning.  

“I came to basically share some of my practical experiences,” he said. He pointed out that Malawi has a lot of innovators however there is need to diversify the aspects of innovation in order to reduce the number of imports in the country.

“If we follow the path of China it is possible, China started with, say something which was not novel, which is inventing instead we start with making of what we can and that’s making sure we exploit that space first, so let’s agree not to import tomatoes but letting farmers to grow tomatoes or let’s not import chairs but let us make our own chairs”

He further stressed that engineers need to accountable and responsible for the challenges that are affecting the society so that they will be on the forefront to effect change.

Ngalande gave reference to the Greek Philosopher Plato who once said “you go to school to learn what you already know” which means that everybody has the ability to innovate regardless of the educational qualifications as he gave examples of other college drop outs like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates who became successful people in the world. However, students have the responsibility to solve the challenges that their society is facing hence there is need to work hard in all areas of study and innovation.

He advised that having an idea is not enough to guarantee a change in society but the execution of the idea creates an innovation. There is need for one to be practical in their ideas so that people will be helped. 

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