Defining success in a developing country's innovation ecosystem: The case of Rwanda

Eric Obeysekare, Khanjan Mehta, Carleen Maitland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


Development, adoption and use of humanitarian technologies are influenced by a country's innovation ecosystem. In the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) domain, tech or innovation hubs are critical to promoting entrepreneurship and fostering startups. In analyses of these hubs, success is often measured by the number of high growth startups created. However, while useful in the context of Silicon Valley, we argue that for developing countries such measures are misguided and lack nuance. We provide an alternative set of eight categories of success measures, developed through a case study of ICT entrepreneurship in Rwanda. The eight success categories reflect alternative definitions of success, capturing the value hubs create beyond launching high-growth startups and were gathered from groups of stakeholders including entrepreneurs, mentors, tech hub staff, and government officials. Understanding differences between these groups' views will enable better service delivery by tech hubs and more realistic expectations of their role in promoting innovation. Exploring these different dimensions of success and value also provides insights into how innovation ecosystems and tech hubs in developing countries can be better supported. This research is relevant to development professionals, researchers, and government officials with an interest in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGHTC 2017 - IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9781509060467
StatePublished - Dec 22 2017
Event7th IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2017 - San Jose, United States
Duration: Oct 19 2017Oct 22 2017


Other7th IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Jose

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Informatics
  • Development
  • Health(social science)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Education


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