Nyangani Tshabalala | 01 November 2017

Appropriate technology is the technology that is designed to be “appropriate” to the context of its use, it therefore becomes the epitome of hope to its beneficiaries. The technology concerned becomes befitting because of its sustainability, user friendliness and its relevance to the context.

As African young scientists in 2017 we should always use the above as the canvas for the betterment of our beloved continent.

The hallmark of my FameLab talk was centred around appropriate technology as one of the solutions to our current societal ills. This was clearly portrayed through the Sonder-water Electrification Project using the Solar Photovoltaic technology, the success of my presentation came as a result of its attachment to the people of Sonder-Water, and the output of the project as a whole which is the Sonder Panel Modulelwa, an African made solar panel with 40% reduction in the cost when compared with panels that are currently in the market.

Scientific innovation in the current era requires competent leaders to make radical decisions, leaders that can facilitate the realization of the market opportunity. Successful scientists are therefore the ones that can leverage their skills to gather information, critically evaluate problems and coordinate the efforts of other individuals. Leadership skills in general are essential because they enable the value creation process to take place.

The foundation of every successful scientist is a great idea, therefore young scientist must be able to recognise opportunities.

As young scientists we cannot expect to succeed without nurturing our abilities to make rational decisions, unfortunately most of us underestimate the importance of decision making, as a result we make impulsive decisions on the basis of intuition or conjecture. We must consult with experts and evaluate market research before making decisions that could have significant consequences.

All scientific research activities are founded on the productive basis of adding value to other individuals. Young scientists with strong oral communication skills often find it easier to communicate with partners, acquire funding and develop relationships with prospective project stakeholders.

Persuasion is often needed to encourage a buy in to an innovative idea that entail risks. Most individuals are naturally averse to risks or new ideas. Young scientists must therefore be able to ethically convince close associates to accept that a questionable idea that might be beneficial in a long run. Negotiation skills are essential component of persuasion because calculated concessions are often the most effective way of inducing other individuals to accept a particular issue.

We must always understand that knowing is not enough we must apply, willing is not enough we must do. We must not follow where the path may lead, instead we must go where there is no path at all and leave a trail.