The next big idea.

Nigeria Summer 2012 Blog

Written by: Olateju Abimbola

June 28, 2012

I'm back in class, seems like i've been here all my life, but last i checked i was sitting in the midst of 40+ students listening to one of the esteemed MIT Professors. Well, this time, courtesy of Google backed MIT AITI, i'm standing by myself, trying to make eye contact with a class of almost 60 students at Unilag trying to spur them to come up with the next big idea.

Weird thing is, its alot more fun than i could have hoped for. I'm going on about some of the challenges we face in Africa, Nigeria, Lagos and even University of Lagos and how this creates an opportunity for new business ideas. So we turn this into a class exercise, thinking of these problems and brainstorming ideas for how to solve them. One student raised his hand and confidently asked to present his ideas to the class.

He's got ideas that will serve as solutions to the problems around finding housing in Lagos. His idea will help you find a "shanti". (A minimal cost apartment) or a high cost serviced apartment. He also had ideas for review and rating service providers (similar to Yelp) that could help solve the poor customer service challenge. I heard so many ideas, to solve issues around traffic, security, access to information etc., I could've been back at MIT.

We are off to a great start, we've only been together a week, but i can tell, It's going to be great.

I've learnt some programming, met some great people, even got to hang out at CCHub (reminds me of dogpatch in Cambridge). But most importantly, i've mastered the amount of time it takes to get to Unilag from Lekki Phase 1 between 2 and 3pm on a weekday. FYI its 1hour, +/- 5minutes. It took me a week to figure out, someone i know, is figuring out a way to keep track and charge people for such information. I'd pay for that.

TGIF, i finally get to read a detailed description of each teams idea.