Implications of Innovation Information Availability and Innovation Seeking Behavior in Nigeria

by MMC
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Whether for personal growth or societal advancement, performing certain tasks without prior information can be difficult for the individuals or groups responsible for those tasks. This analogy highlights the importance of having the right information on how to innovate and drive greater innovation. It constitutes the cornerstone to guarantee an innovative and sustainable society. In our experience, access to information, whether through media or non-media sources, plays a vital role in helping individuals meet the challenges of innovation and avoid what we call “information-deficient innovation trap” in almost every sector and industry around the world. Nigeria. However, our analysis reveals that over the years, Internet innovation-focused information aimed at the Nigerian market has been very diverse and, in many cases, follows both retrospective and prospective trends.

Information available on innovation

Using Google search engine, the most used search platform in Nigeria and the world, we discovered that there were 7.5 billion pieces of innovation-related information available for Nigeria between 2013 and 2022. Our analysis reveals that almost half (31.4%) of these stories were about innovation in law and government. A close second, with 25.3% of the total, is arts and entertainment. Property accounted for 14.8% and health 10.5% of the available information. Employment and education accounted for 7.9%, while science accounted for 4.8%, both totaling less than 10% of the overall information.

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Our year-by-year analysis indicates that the volume of information available to the Nigerian public has varied significantly over this period. The availability of information exceeded one billion between 2015 and 2017 (2015 (1.1 billion), 2016 (1.9 billion), 2017 (1.3 billion)), falling to 222 million in 2018. This decrease was followed by a return to previous levels, with results recorded in 2013 (194.4 million) and 2014 (199.8 million). Subsequently, there was a significant increase in 2019, exceeding 1 billion, before returning to previous levels in 2020 (632.7 million), 2021 (648.9 million) and 2022 (179.8 million).

As shown in the figure below, the legal and government sector held a higher percentage of the total information available between 2019 and 2021. Arts and entertainment also showed relatively consistent performance between 2015 and 2019. Surprisingly, the Percentage of information available for business and industry, health, science, employment and education showed irregular trends, indicating lower contributions from stakeholders in these sectors and industries related to information categories .

Source: Google Trends, 2023; Opolo Global Innovation, 2023

Innovation Information Seeking Behavior

The Nigerian public consistently expresses keen interest in the annual Global Innovation Index, prompting us to conduct an analysis of the country’s innovation scores from 2013 to 2022 as well as their information-seeking behavior on innovation. When it comes to seeking information on innovation, particularly with the aim of understanding innovation and potentially fostering innovative practices, the majority of requests were directed towards the commercial and industrial category throughout the period analysis with a different volume of searches (2013 (n=2679), 2014 (n=2416), 2015 (n=2621), 2016 (n=2494), 2017 (n=2366), 2018 (n=2119 ), 2019 (n=2645), 2020 (n=1833), 2021 (n=2280) and 2022 (n=2729)). A close second is the Jobs and Education category, which initially had a lower percentage of available information. Although a significant amount of information was available about arts and entertainment throughout the period, it appeared that people were searching for information in this category less frequently.

Nigerians are increasingly curious about the meaning of innovation in arts and entertainment. They look forward to exploring how innovation manifests in the arts and entertainment industry, including product innovation and the role of institutes like the Prime Innovation Institute of Technology. In the world of business and industry, innovation has become a buzzword. Nigerians have shown keen interest in understanding what innovation means in a business context. Entrepreneurship, as a driver of innovation, has also received attention. People were searching for information about sources of innovation with the intention of grasping the concept of disruptive innovation. The dynamic nature of innovation and its relationship with change are the topics that have aroused curiosity in this field. In the field of health, emphasis has been placed on the meaning of innovation. People were eager to understand how innovation can lead to advancements in healthcare, whether in medical treatments, technology, or healthcare delivery systems. In the rapidly evolving field of science and technology, innovation remains a central theme. Nigerians were interested in how innovation drives technological progress. This interest was in emerging technologies, scientific discoveries and their practical applications in various sectors.

In the context of law and government, innovation was a topic that garnered attention. Citizens wanted to understand how innovation can be harnessed to improve governance, public services and legal systems. Curriculum innovation was also a topic of interest, potentially indicating a desire for educational reform in this sector. When it comes to employment and education, innovation was a recurring theme. People were keen to explore the meaning of innovation in the context of curriculum development and implementation. Institutions like the Akure Institute of Technological Innovation could contribute to this increased interest. Additionally, curriculum planning and innovation agencies are sought after, suggesting a desire for educational reforms and advancements.

Throughout this decade, the search for the meaning of innovation has been constant, reflecting a nation’s quest for progress and development. Whether in arts and entertainment, business and industry, health, science and technology, law and government, or employment and education, Nigerians have showed a clear appetite for innovation and its transformative potential. The steady increase in information-seeking behaviors indicates a society willing to embrace change and stay at the forefront of innovation in the global landscape.

Source: Google Trends, 2023; Opolo Global Innovation, 2023

To better understand how the Nigerian public searched for information between 2013 and 2022 in the context of the previously listed categories, we further analyzed the link between availability of innovation information and information search behavior on innovation. Our analysis reveals a link of -28%. In this case, as the availability of innovation information increases, the level of innovation information seeking behavior decreases. At the individual level, this idea echoes available information on innovation and search behaviors from 2015 to 2021.

The information available may not always match what individuals are looking for. Even if there is a large amount of information, its relevance and quality may not meet the needs of those seeking it, leading to a mismatch between availability and behavior. For those involved in the dissemination of innovation-related information, this finding suggests the importance of understanding the ebb and flow of public interest. It is essential to adapt communication strategies to the changing dynamics of information-seeking behavior. It also highlights the importance of adapting communication and information dissemination strategies to respond to changing public interests and needs.

Source: Google Trends, 2023; Opolo Global Innovation, 2023

Speaking of this data, it is important to draw the attention of the government to the need for proper dissemination of information on the innovation to quench the thirst of Nigerians seeking to know more about the concept. In recent times, especially between 2015 and 2019, the debate on innovation has intensified due to the attention it receives from the government in terms of policies and activities. However, as the new government places emphasis on how the digital economy could be harnessed for skills development and job creation, we advise that information on innovation be more contextualised. There should be a deliberate plan to communicate the innovation in local languages. It is established that information written in indigenous languages ​​not only arouses the interest of the receiving audience, but also improves their understanding.

This does not exclude the private sector either, as making people understand innovation in their local languages ​​can potentially give rise to more innovative solutions to local problems. The media should also play a greater role in democratizing and decolonizing the language used to discuss innovation. The Nigerian media landscape is rich and robust enough to take on this burden if the players are ready.

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