• RAN’s First Innovation Garage

    The first garage focused on Innovation as a cornerstone and key transformational element for development and was guided by the Theme; “Catalyzing Engineering Solutions”.

    All my life, I have only heard and known about the motor vehicle garages both for parking and mechanical repairs. Did you know that there are Innovation Garages too? Well, Friday June 26, 2015 saw the first Innovation Garage happen in partnership with the Innovation Consortium in Kampala, Uganda. It was held at the Makerere University Innovation Lab in Kololo, Kampala. Uganda.​The Innovation Garage which will be hosted monthly (every last Friday of the Month) is a great platform for Innovators to build and access quick fixes of their projects collaboratively with very creative and brave individuals. The first garage focused on Innovation as a cornerstone and key transformational element for development and was guided by the Theme; “Catalyzing Engineering Solutions”.​

    The first Innovation Garage hosted two innovative projects under the RAN incubation program including;

    1. KUNGULA! Thresh It: A low cost technology for mechanized threshing of maize. The technology will improve post-harvest handling of produce in rural low income settings through substantial increase in output efficiency and substantial reduction in losses, contamination and excessive physical exertion that rural farmers (mostly women) experience with manual threshing and winnowing (Details at http://www.ranlab.org/innovations/ric4ace-grantees)
    2. Low cost irrigation pumps: Optimizing a very-low-cost environmentally friendly solar powered irrigation pump that can transform agriculture in semi-arid sun-rich areas (Details accessed at http://www.ranlab.org/innovations/riap-grantees).

    The Innovators took participants through their project portfolios, highlighting any components that require redesigning or reinventing which were guiding topics for the brainstorming sessions held immediately after the presentations and discussions to suggest possible solutions. Important to note is that each session during the Innovation Garage is helpful to give deeper insights to the Innovators on potential solutions for any engineering hurdles they are experiencing while designing and developing their Innovations.

    The Garage which was open to all interested Engineering Innovators attracted a mix of young and practicing Engineers as well as students who are potential inventors of local solutions.

    The participants ​​were generally equipped with knowledge and skills and given advanced technology insights on how to push the reset button that reinvents and re-calibrates an existing product.

    At RAN we hope to utilize the Innovation Garage to support local innovators with Local solutions to be propelled to the next level through continuous Brainstorming sessions, rapid prototyping and providing useful connections to partners that can potentially scale these projects. We hope to raise the next generation of Local innovators with solutions for our local problems in a bid to promote home grown solutions.

    It was a great learning, networking and innovating opportunity being part of a group of radical Innovators in the Makerere University Innovation space to build and or fix something. It is during this Innovation Garage that rough prototypes also experienced their first sparks towards innovation. The Innovation Consortium group pledged to open up their mechanical workshop space in Kireka – Kampala and mentorship to RAN Innovators who wish to quickly prototype Engineering projects.

    Action portrayed in the photos, do not miss the next Innovation Garage, same venue, same time but different discussion ideas,