Royal Philips to establish research and innovation hub in Africa
Royal Philips, a global health and wellbeing company, has announced the establishment of its Africa Innovation Hub in Nairobi, Kenya, which underlines the company’s commitment to invest in Africa.
will work both on the creation of new inventions, as well as bringing these inventions to the market.
The company which is headquartered in the Netherlands, posted 2013 sales of 23.3 billion Euros and employs 115,000 people across 100 countries.
The hub will do application-focused scientific and user studies to address key challenges like improving access to lighting and affordable healthcare as well as developing innovations to meet the aspirational needs of the rising middle class in Africa.
The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will be located at the Philips East African Headquarters in Nairobi, 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.
Philips is in discussions with local organisations and Universities on R&D collaborations to co-create meaningful solutions for Africa.
Adan Mohammed, Cabinet Secretary for Industrialisation and Enterprise Development, said: “We welcome the establishment of Philips’ Innovation Hub in Kenya; Philips is a globally recognised 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.
“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.”
JJ van Dongen, Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of Philips Africa, said: “Philips is passionate to invent, apply technology and partner to help people succeed.
“Our ambition is to create impactful innovations that matter to people and address the key challenges that confront society. 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 Philips Africa Innovation Hub while headquartered in Kenya, will be responsible for pan-African research and projects and will have operations across Africa, linked to the Philips regional offices across the continent; 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.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.