Okune, Angela, Philip Ochola Mak'Anyengo, Sylvester Wachira Ndaiga, Sidney Ochieng, Rhoda Omenya, Chris Orwa, Nanjira Sambuli, and Varyanne Sika. 2018. "iHub Research (2011 - 2017): A Critical Technology Action Research Group Within Nairobi's Flagship Tech Innovation Hub." In STS Across Borders Digital Exhibit, curated by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.
People and Projects
iHub Research was officially launched in 2011 at the one-year anniversary of the iHub, one of the first co-working spaces in sub-Saharan Africa. As an example of a non-traditional research organization, iHub Research bridged a gap between the academy, private sector, public sector, and technology entrepreneurs, producing work that while not explicitly identified as “STS,” in practice, was in line with the values and areas of interest of the field. As a non-academic research center striving to produce knowledge relevant for its community which could also be read by the academy and other stakeholders, we believe iHub Research should be considered a fundamental example of a key site of knowledge production offering critical perspectives on technology in Africa by and for the technology community in Kenya and beyond.
STS Across Borders digital collections are focused through ten questions that can be asked across all STS Formations so as to provoke comparative insight.
BEGINNINGS: What stories have been told about the beginnings of this STS formation?
CONDITIONS: What external conditions have influenced this STS formation?
INFRASTRUCTURES: What scholarly infrastructure has supported this STS formation?
EVENTS: What events have marked the development of this STS formation?
FRAMEWORKS: What (methodological/ theoretical/ political/ ethical) frameworks have had strong influences on this STS formation?
PROJECTS: What people, projects, and products exemplify how this STS formation has developed over time?
EDUCATION: What educational programs have been built within and through this STS formation?
ENGAGEMENTS: How has the work of this STS formation moved beyond the university?
TOPICS: What topics have been prominent in this STS formation in different periods?
FUTURES: How is the future of this STS formation envisioned?
AO: This blog post by Erik Hersman (co-founder of iHub) helps to outline why iHub was thinking of getting involved in supporting local research. It cites an...Read more
AO: I made this powerpoint for a two-hour workshop outlining qualitative research at the iHub on May 13, 2011. This was the first of a series of several workshops that iHub hosted on a weekly basis touching on a wide range of topics related to research. Other workshops included one on grant...Read more
AO: Part of iHub Research’s growth and popularity can be explained by its various modes of distributing research findings outside of traditional academic papers. iHubR used different ways of sharing information, whether by holding public events around research findings (e.g. #NRBuzz), guest lecturing to local university students, a quarterly newsletter, or preparing blog posts in easily understandable writing. Through these mechanisms, iHub Research engaged with varied public audiences.
AO: This blog post by Faith Morara and Nanjira Sambuli raised awareness about a draft convention, dubbed the "African Union Convention on Confidence and Security in Cyberspace,” that was put forth by the AU in 2014. The post highlights the role that iHub Research played in helping to raise...Read more
AO: This media interview with Voice of America is one of the better examples of nuanced reporting on our Base of the Pyramid research in 2013. I am including it in the exhibit because it illustrates one important part of the work we did at iHub Research - public outreach and sharing - and also a...Read more
RO: The iHub Research newsletter is something I am particularly proud of. Creating this quarterly newsletter was agonizing because I think it was a concept that was not owned by the team. But growing it from a simple layout to putting it on a newsletter template to improve its outlook and...Read more
AO: This post, published via Medium to attract a broader audience, was part of the iQuarterly 2016 publication by iHub Research and reflected on lessons learned from almost 5 years of working for/on/with iHub Research.Read more
AO: This was an important post that we as a research team revisited several times. It highlights some of the ethical issues about doing tech research with groups whose issues may not have any type of tech solution. It also raises the question of your responsibility as a researcher to intervene....Read more
AO: This project is an example of the type of market research work we conducted with technology companies such as Google, Philips, and IBM. Given our position "on the ground" in Nairobi, we had a strategic advantage over any Silicon Valley-based research companies who had their own learning...Read more