MTN Nigeria Media Innovation Programme (MTN MIP 2022) Fellows on Thursday August 25, 2022, visited Eko Innovation Center, an enterprise development Centre for startup and MSMEs, who deploy technology and innovation in the area of Agriculture, Health Care, Market access, Renewable energy and Fintech.
The Twenty media professionals were selected across the country for the maiden Media Innovation Programme by MTN Nigeria in partnership with the School of Media and Communications (SMC), Pan-Atlantic University (PAU).
The six-month fully funded fellowship is for innovative storytellers and media leaders that will equip them with new skills needed to function in the rapidly changing media world.
The MTN Media Innovation Programme (MTN MIP) began on May 23, 2022 and will run until October 28, 2022.
As part of activities for week-four, we set out on a visit, to learn from innovative minds at Eko Innovation Centre.
Opening the doors to us, Destiny Agbanimu, the Head, Funding, and Partnerships at Eko Innovation Centre, said the EIC draws its strength from ‘supporting enterprises leveraging innovation and technology at the core of their businesses’.
He said EIC is ‘passionate about the growth and development of Startups and entrepreneurship in Nigeria, grooming them to become global challengers, and help boost the economic revival of Africa’.
“We see all possible ways to provide solutions to most pressing problems in Africa. We are focused on the African Union Agenda 2063, which is very important to us; and also the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We focused on Goals 1,4,8 &13, which talked about fighting poverty through quality education and combating climate change; and how we can reduce the emission of carbon into the atmosphere. And they say that innovation is the next disruption. Innovation is the big thing. Everybody now is thinking about how to infuse innovations to do things differently, in a drastic, interesting and creative manner. And I will say again, welcome to Eko Innovation Centre; we are so happy to have you.
Why we are here:
Leading the MTN MIP Fellows to EIC, Mr. Isaac – Ogugua Ezechukwu, the Director, Professional Programmes, School of Media and Communications (SMC), Pan-Atlantic University (PAU), explained, thus:
“We are from the School of Media and Communications (SMC) at Pan-Atlantic University, and are glad to be here. The team comprises of MTN MIP Fellows; these are vibrant Nigerian journalists from both mainstream and new media.
“Why are we interested in coming here? The primary reason for our coming to Eko Innovation Centre is to put theories to practices when are discussing innovation. The word innovation, sometimes, looks abstract. Sometimes, you want to see what have been achieved as a concept. So, how do we fuse innovation into media practices; from thinking to reality?
“We are here to see how Eko Innovation Centre (EIC) has been doing it within the period of its existence so that the whole aims of the training can be achieved. Therefore, we are here with open minds to learn.
The Future of Media: The Role of Innovation and Technology
Mr. Victor ‘Gbenga Afolabi, the Founder of Eko Innovation Centre, was happy receiving the team.
His presentation focused on ‘The Future of Media: The Role of Innovation and Technology’. He was the right man to handle that topic and I will tell you why:
Victor Gbenga Afolabi is a passionate and visionary leader who has in the last 20 years not only displayed and demonstrated an exceptional knack for turning businesses around, but has also sustainably birthed several business ventures with an unbroken chain of top and bottom line growth across multi-disciplinary industries.
A consummate venture capitalist , Tech Enthusiast and business curator , Victor has the innate ability to create energised and consumer centric culture of continuous improvement, innovation and creative but tailored strategies to ultimately position companies to hit the competitive landscape running, ultimately growing market share consistently whilst sustainably improving bottom line profits.
With people management and talent development at the forefront of his core strategy.
Victor Gbenga Afolabi doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of Hazon Holdings, a diversified business Holding Company.
V’GA holds a bachelor of Pharmacy degree from ABU, Zaria, Master’s degree in Managerial Psychology from the University of Ibadan, an MBA from Alliance Business School, Manchester University, UK, and an alumina of the Lagos Business School.
He is an Acumen Partner and also a member of several Professional bodies and recipient of many awards.
He spearheaded the team that organized first Marketing and Media Hackathon in Nigeria codenamed MarkHack.
With over 500 individuals registered participants in the hackathon and heavy artillery of industry leaders as speakers, mentors and judges, MarkHack 1.0 gathered innovators, entrepreneurs, policymakers, Marketing, and Media Professionals, for an intense period of time leveraging creativity, technology, and mentoring to create prototypes, fresh new concepts, and innovative usage of tech in Marketing and Media.
With that experience and as a consummate media and marketing personality, V’GA delved into the presentation:
He reminded the MTN MIP Fellows that digital disruption is changing the way media is funded, produced, and consumed. There is no gainsaying the three keywords (highlighted) define the existence of any media platform.
Therefore, media practitioners must lean into the digital transformation and be willing to experiment if they want to stay relevant.
The big elephant in the room – viewership or reach. He emphasized that media houses must think out of the box and innovate around retaining readership.
He cited this example: “Traditional television is seeing a decrease in viewership while 38% of online users can imagine ‘not watching television at all in 5-year time’.
“The rise of TikTok and other social media platforms to create and share content has led to the development of specialist agencies who understand how to engage a targeted audience on those platforms”
“In 2020, 275 million U.S. dollars were spent on traditional television advertising in Nigeria, a decrease of around 26 million dollars compared to 2019. The majority money was spent on digital terrestrial advertisement at around $191 million”
V’GA quoted Phillip Moross of The Cutting Edge Group who recently said, “Last year, YouTube had $27 billion in advertising revenue. There’s no question where the movement is, it’s towards the online.”
There is no better time to innovate:
My take home from V’GA’s presentation is to be flexible to unlearn and relearn. He pointed at this by saying, “Idea is a commodity, and to survive these turbulence times, ideation is a must. This process starts from creating an Idea dump where you deposit all kind of ideas.
“Know what triggers your ideation process, determine the environment your ideation thrives, embrace systems and people that think about the future.
“Build into your structure a system that gives you feedback; and that feedback loop must be very strong.
“And you can leverage available tools. The two critical tools for ideation are Future Casting and Scenario Planning”.
The future of Media
Obviously, the future of media revolves around an interconnected media experience that combines data, AI and human-centered design to create a fully immersive and personalized media offering
At this stage, the media must work as ‘Live Commerce’; “Media increasingly incorporates shopping experiences because consumers Want. It. Now.
“The digital world is merging with the physical world. The best of both is now being combined into a merged reality. This blended world will stimulate all of our senses.
“We’ll experience a shift from the information age toward an immersive, experimental age
“Not only are individual creators leveraging increasingly professional tools and easy uploads to pour passion into platforms they’ve never had access to before, but established content also lives on. Creators can watch their contents evolve as other producers put their own spin on it for the world to consume
The Founder of Eko Innovation Centre, challenges the media and entertainment industry to create real human value out of technological progress – to use technology to attract people through emotion and enhance and experience real life.
“Let us, with all curiosity create and discover the future of media and entertainment and rebuild the outdated media industry”, he said.
Well, my diary is still open, I will tell you about the firechat session with Nengi Akinola, Head, Marketing and Branding – FairMoney.