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Philips to Establish Innovation Hub in Africa

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Apr 2014
Royal Philips Electronics (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) has announced the establishment of its Africa Innovation Hub, underlining the company’s commitment to invest in Africa.

The Innovation Hub will be located at the Philips East African Headquarters in Nairobi (Kenya), where African talents and international researchers will operate on the concept of “open innovation” and will work in close collaboration with the R&D ecosystem of Kenya and Africa. The hub will do application-focused scientific and user studies to address key challenges, such as improving access to lighting and affordable healthcare, as well as developing innovations to meet the needs of the rising middle class in Africa.

The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will work both on the creation of new inventions, bringing these inventions to the market, and forming collaborations to co-create meaningful solutions for Africa. Several projects that that are under development, as well others as in the pilot phase, will become part of the Innovation Hub. Examples include a robust and affordable automated respiratory rate monitor that aims to support the diagnosis of pneumonia among infants and children using smart sensing technology on the body, which is intended to be more accurate and reliable compared to manual processes being currently observed.

Another example is a smokeless cook stove, which Philips has designed and is manufacturing to improve the lives of those who rely on wood or biomass for their daily cooking. The specially designed stoves are extremely efficient and significantly reduce the use of wood as fuel. The cook stove can reduce smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by more than 90% compared to an open fire, thus reducing the health risks of indoor cooking. The contribution of the innovation hub is to create new go-to-market models for these stoves.

“We welcome the establishment of Philips’ Innovation Hub in Kenya; Philips is a globally recognized innovation powerhouse and their selection of Nairobi as the site to establish their African Innovation hub is a testament to the Kenyan government’s commitment to nurture the drive for research and innovation in the region,” said Mr. Adan Mohammed, cabinet secretary for industrialization. “We lend our full support to the investment being made by Philips and look forward to the outcomes of their Africa-specific research and projects that can contribute to transforming society, business and government across the continent.”

“Our ambition is to create impactful innovations that matter to people and address the key challenges that confront society,” said JJ van Dongen, senior vice president and CEO of Philips Africa. “With Kenya as a leader in the continent in science and entrepreneurship as well as a hub of collaboration on technology and innovation, Nairobi, is the ideal location to establish Philips’ African research presence. We want to tap into the city’s vibrant R&D eco-system and contribute to the process of co-creating new solutions, new business models and meaningful partnerships to provide innovations that make an impact.”

The hub will be headed by Dr. Maarten van Herpen, and will work in close collaboration with the Philips research labs in Bangalore, Shanghai, and Eindhoven.

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