Finally the campanile is up! It is possible to see the satisfaction in every face of the Kenyatta University student as they tread along the pavements. Towering above every structure in its environs, the monument of prestige and symbol of superiority has created a new landmark in the institution. For many, it is just another structure in the university that, after the long tedious years of study, we will leave behind. For others, Campanile serves as a good titbit to add into discussions when arguments arise concerning the epitome of institutional success. On the other hand, the periodic noisy cathedral bell that gongs from time to time irritates the heavy sleepers in the hostels that were unfortunate enough to be in the vicinity of the new structure. For some, it is an alarm clock providing pro bono services. Being a university of diversity in terms of creativity and intellectual creativity, it is almost certain you will come across a million thoughts on the issues surrounding the elegant structure. My group of concern, at this juncture, includes the one-in-a-millions of this university. The individual who, while passing the campanile, will stop for a moment and feel curious about this piece of construction. That individual who sits at the window of the Postmodern Library, and at that moment of shear meditation or “blackout,” looks out of the window and visualizes the KU CAMPANILE in the fullest of views. At this moment, a tinge of curiosity freezes their mind and as if having an epiphany, performs a mental demolition and reconstruction. One concept comes out of every step of the hot afternoon reverie: innovation.
All of us are born curious. Well, I welcome any objection to this statement but before submitting any form of argument, help me understand why young children ask questions about life and the environment around them. They see a leaf fall from its twig and they ask, why did it choose to fall downwards? Why not upwards or sideways? They feel anger, pain and love and they wonder why they have to possess such contradictory emotions. Sometimes, they will ask bold, yet important questions on the origin of life, death, wealth, crime, and virtually everything they observe. That is how we come into this world. Curious and eager to learn and understand as much as we can. Growing up and grasping concepts in the education system, paths begin to diverge into various disciplines, careers, and professions. In KU, this diversity is evident in the number of courses that the students take. The school of Pure and Applied sciences, in particular, stands out for me. In many of the competitive institutions of higher learning, this school or faculty comprises of those who keep the faith of curiosity. The individuals who keep asking questions, go deeper than the naked eye can see, and come up with solutions or improvements to contemporary issues affecting the society, find themselves in this school. I would literally call it the “School of Thought.” The school that, ideally, is full of innovation.
From the foregoing, it is prudent to pose a question. What Limits the Prospects of Innovation in Biotechnology? That Biosciences-KU is part of the biotechnology fraternity notwithstanding, I will not claim that it has all the answers to this question. Moreover, many tenets of innovation are so detailed that it would take volumes of encyclopedias to exhaust. However, there is something we can do. As individuals we could approach innovation more objectively. Creativity applies everywhere; choosing to use a shorter route to your destination, arranging your room or office differently to create space and aesthetics, exploring a new way of studying that helps in keeping time and effective learning, and many other day to day actions are forms of innovations. So long as the process solves an existing problem, creates an improvement or change in the way people live or do things, innovation is involved. The most important form of innovation one can strive to achieve revolves around asking the right questions. For example if two people were to open a cube of length 2cm: as compared to the counterpart who asks “how did Goliath get inside this box?” the individual who probes on the probabilities of Goliath getting inside the box will be asking the right questions.
As clubs and societies in the dynamic field of biosciences, BSS-KU are obligated to facilitate the processes promoting innovation among students, professionals and enthusiasts of the life sciences. In a bid to promote this mandate, the BSS-KU fraternity have engaged with the students in interactions and events that foster the frugality and fortitude necessary from Biotechnological innovation to move a notch higher in the institution, as well as the country in entirety. Organized events such as BSS-KU Career Day, Project Proposal sessions and Debating sessions have equipped the members with information on historical, current and future perspectives in scientific innovation. One would, therefore, ask what the next step is after identifying an innovative idea. How do you develop your idea into a real tangible project? How do you protect the product of your mind? In the bid to participate in resolving these and more issues, BSS-KU organized an Intellectual Property Awareness Day. Students and members gained insights from professional and expert facilitators, who provided both practical and material help. Experts from Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI), Chandaria Innovation and Incubation Centre, and Kenyatta University Intellectual Property Unit provided helpful resolutions to the questions lingering whenever innovation is mentioned. In general, the point to carry home is that concerning innovation, creativity and productivity, the answers are within and around us.