As I get ready to do my research on NUNNOVATION, naturally I go on to their website to get a feel for what they do and I got to the site only to find that it has crashed “our systems crashed cause of all the traffic, so we are switching servers. We never expected such a great reception in such a short period of time. We fulfilled our 5 yearr plan in less than six months, so we are going back to the drawing board.”
Nunnovationn began in 2013 December when Innovation Masters graduate Khathu Mashau and Graphic Designer Ngwako Ramohlale felt that there wasn’t enough content on African Innovation and that the international market only knew about the disadvantageous situations in Africa. They wanted to create a platform to share what else is happening in their continent.
“When the news are flooded with stories about Nkandla in the same village there could be a young boy inventing something amazing, but we wouldn’t know.”
You can’t help but feel inspired by these two, when two people that didn’t know the first thing about running an online publication, decided to go in blind and build such an inspiring brand. They created a platform where they, along with fellow Africans can work towards “re-branding African media and the negative perception people might have of Africa.” With assistance from organizations such as IDC, Innovation Hub, SABS and SAB Innovation Center they were able to move from a start up publication struggling to find innovative, relevant and exciting news on Africa to being one of the leading publications on innovation in Africa. I was interested to know how big a role social media played in the success of Nunnovation, and in was so impressed to learn that they were able to partner up with 2 international events management companies and as a result were invited to Falling Walls a science event in Berlin were they will be the only African media partner as well as SIGEF (Social Innovation and Global Ethics Forum) held in Geneva, Switzerland from the 22nd -24th October 2014. This all though Social Media.
Nunnovation is a publication were its founders grow with their audience, not only are they taking you though a journey, they are going through the journey with you. “We upload new content every Monday, and every day I am learning something new about content creation and how to get the word out there about Nunnovation. And though all our research we get to learn something new about Africa as well.” I could see the excitement in her eyes as she tells me about a kid in Nairobi who is building a car “I thought that was stuff only done by Germans,” clearly she’s a VW fan, I only picked VW because she drives one.
“I believe that it is all responsibility as Africans to step up and play a part in portraying Africa in a positive light. We should not let international media dictate to us what people know about our own continent.”
What I most admire about these two is that they are more than willing to ask for assistance and receive it when it comes to the progression of Nunnovation. “We realized we couldn’t do it all on our own so we reached out to our friends and people we knew and said would you like to contribute to Nunnovation (in case you were wondering, they didn’t ask me)? We were able to get Selae Thobakgale, Max Moyo and Makhukhu Mampuru and created corners for them to express themselves on relevant issues as well as inspire our readers, and Nunnovation was able to grow and speak about Innovation in such a broad way, it went on to include pieces on fashion, business, politics and lifestyle.”
With slight embarrassment in her voice Ngwako tells me how she isn’t a avid reader “which is ironic because I have to read and write articles, even in primary school I was the kid constantly drawing and never listening in math class”. She specialized in Art at the National School of the Arts and she knew from the moment they decided to start Nunnovation that the visual aspect of the site will be her baby.
I needed to ask her what was next for Nunnovation before I jumped out my seat, quit Digify and offered myself on a platter for Nunnovation free of charge.”Maybe our own TV station? (laughs) well 2 weeks into our launch the SABC was in touch, we had our 1st television interview, they called us back and during our 2nd interview they said Nunnovation will be joining us live in studio every month, we where live so I had to contain my shock and excitement, and now we are on Phalaphala FM at 15:45 every Monday giving weekly updates on innovation in Africa. Oh and I can’t give all the details yet but in February we will have our own show, on a certain TV station, 13 episodes, 30 minutes long where we will be pushing innovative news in Africa.” So by then you all know I had handed in my resignation right,well in my head I did.
“There is a lot of support for youth in South Africa, they just need to know that research is key, because you always have to put in the ground work to get fruitful results, work hard and fail fast, if you see that something isn’t working out, move on to the next one.”
She left me with the words “Our brand is important to us, but the people are more important.”
Okay I quit! I am going to Nunnovation! Oh and by the way, it is…
Noun = Anything new or innovative that is worth writing about will be found on nunnovation
Verb+ An individual or company using innovation to do good is an nunnovator