Building Capacity Within The Tech Community

By Mercy Deche
iHub Consulting
  Published 24th August 2012
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iHub Consulting held its first info session to explain what the ideas and processes are for the initiative. The community was engaging, asking interesting questions which will greatly influence the direction which the initiative will take. All iHub initiatives (Research, Cluster, UX Lab and Consulting) are rooted in the need to meet the needs of the tech community first. If they aren't serving the tech community, then they aren't relevant as iHub initiatives.

iHub is about 2 years old now, and has built a large community around technology innovation. From observing current needs in the tech space and matching them to skills within the community, several things are clear:

  1. Freelancers need to collaborate more to build their capacity and gain access to bigger projects
  2. Small agencies/ startups need a pathway to get their products out there and build their businesses; it is difficult to do this without a 'big' brand (as someone put it, some techies have worked really hard to build a bad name for small Kenyan agencies)
  3. Organizations have tech needs which the iHub community could meet (this is already happening organically at a small scale, but the iHub could do more to be a catalyst)
A starting point has been to define the process which will lead to meeting these needs. So far, it has been defined as follows:
  • People apply and are vetted by a panel comprised of the board, managers and community. Selection is based on skill level and track record
  • Whenever a new project arises, individuals show interest and are selected based on their skills and availability
  • During each project there will be a peer review and client review. The results of these reflect on member profiles
This experiment is dynamic and requires constant calibration to make it work. There is still need to figure out how to work with the startups/ agencies and how to build out the platform (website) for managing all these processes. Also how to select projects which leverage the local tech community.

We'll have regular discussions around this topic, and I'm always glad to have a chat individually about it as well (mel@ihub.co.ke / @melmbugua)

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