Skip to main content
December 14, 2018

How to look at art: There is no innovation culture in Kenya

World Economic Forum
World Economic Forum

For more than 30 years, the World Economic Forum has studied and benchmarked competitiveness, widely accepted as the key driver for sustaining prosperity of citizens. 

By competitiveness, the WEF understands the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of a country’s productivity. Productivity is what determines growth, living standards and prosperity. 


Idea ecosystem

The business models of growth link productivity to creativity/innovation, our ability to generate new ideas and value. Some call it ‘disruptive innovation’ because it displaces the status quo. 

Creativity differs from innovation in that creativity is concerned with idea-generation and innovation with idea-implementation, but all innovation demands creativity. The WEF explains: providing a creativity-conducive environment (idea ecosystem) can increase the likelihood that new ideas are generated.



According to the WEF, the idea ecosystem is determined by education. For example, Dr W Dyer proposed that creativity of human capital is the ultimate driver of innovation. 

Education affects a country’s productivity in three ways. First, by increasing the ability of the workforce to carry out tasks more quickly. 

Second, by facilitating the transfer of new knowledge created by others. 

And third, by increasing a country’s own capacity to create new knowledge.

Ideas implementation

Although new ideas are the engine of growth, they do not create economic benefits until they are incorporated into the marketplace. National productivity depends on company-level innovation. By bringing new products and services to market, companies foster a country’s productivity through providing efficiency gains associated with their use.


MASK School for Creativity and Innovation in Kenya

Against this backdrop, the Mobile Art School in Kenya (MASK) School for Creativity and Innovation, a pioneering non-for-profit organisation, has been, against all odds, strengthening the creativity of young Kenyans since 2007. 

Addressing the national creativity/innovation skills gap, the organisation has developed the curriculum that ensures the new workforce is ready for employment, creates jobs and contributes to Kenya’s growth.

MASK set up a national creativity competition, the MASK Prize, which is in its 5th year. Partnering with the leading Kenyan newspaper The Star, it promotes, fosters and celebrates the creativity of thousands young Kenyans. 

MASK’s school programmes teach practical step-by-step approaches to idea-generation and implementation. Students learn how to leverage creativity to solve real-life problems and improve their entrepreneurship and leadership skills. 

“Before MASK came, I did not know I was creative. Now, my village elders ask me, the 20 year old, to give them good ideas that can improve our community!” says Joel, one of the dozens of MASK’s students. 

To expand the programmes’ reach, MASK seeks to partner with Kenyan business leaders and welcomes them contacting the organisation. 


Contact Alla Tkachuk  for more information on [email protected]

Poll of the day