Aha Mak

Endless “Aha”-moments: Exploring innovation culture in Uganda

Students from Aalto and Makerere Universities worked together and explored coworking and innovation culture in Uganda. During the Aalto group’s field trip to Uganda, they teamed up with an innovation and entrepreneurship center at Makerere campus to have one place for multidisciplinary collaboration, creativity, and students taking ownership.

The need and the seed. Aha-MAK is a journey through coworking and innovation in different cultural contexts. It’s all based on the collaboration of two student teams, from Makerere and Aalto University. The collaboration formed around several questions: How do students meet and work together? Where can students show their projects? How does it feel to share ideas freely? By exploring these questions we discovered that there seemed to be a lack of spaces at Makerere campus where people from different backgrounds can interact and share knowledge with each other.

The culture of coworking in Uganda has its own characteristics. During the Aalto team’s field trip to Uganda, they wanted to learn about them. Active listening, observing and participating were their best companions when interpreting and adapting into the new context. The Aalto team explored it by interviewing local students, community leaders and experts, and visiting coworking initiatives. They tested their findings at the innovation and entrepreneurship center (MakEIC) at Makerere campus. The team combined their knowledge, planned and hosted workshops together with students from Makerere, collected feedback and engaged students in the design of the center. This resulted in students taking ownership of the center and many of them starting to develop their existing business ideas further.