Kenyan scholar Evans Baiya launches book on innovation

Saturday December 16 2017

Dr Evans Baiya

Dr Evans Baiya (centre) and Ron Price (right) presents their book, The Innovator's Advantage to Bidco CEO Vimal Shah during its book launch at Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi. The book seeks to demystify the notion of innovation and technology. PHOTO | ANTHONY NJAGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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All of the leading global tech companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Ali Baba, Facebook and others are the result of innovations.

Innovation translates an idea into a good or a service that creates value for which customers are willing to pay.

What was the “in-thing” 20 years ago is now considered old school with consumers now looking for new and advanced products.

That is the message two leading international scholars, Dr Evans Baiya and Ron Rice, the authors of a newly launched book, The Innovator’s Advantage, have delved into as they seek to help demystify technology and innovation.


Speaking during the book’s launch at a Nairobi hotel, the two authors, who are professors in a US university, made unique presentations on their work.

Innovation, the writers pointed out, has become a popular buzzword over the past few decades, but companies often lack a clear starting point. 

The Innovator’s Advantage provides clarity and practical actions for an innovation system, and demonstrates people’s unique roles in the process.

While there are many books written on the topic of innovation, few (if any) have addressed the most elusive part of innovation — how to successfully engage people throughout the process.

Despite investment in understanding the frameworks and stages of innovation, many innovations still fail. This is because the most critical element of innovation success is understanding people.


The two authors wrote the book as they sought to share some of their insights gained from working with innovators and leaders of various companies.

Most innovations fail for one reason: people.

Understanding people is the most critical element of successful innovation. The Innovator’s Advantage gives leaders a tool to match their people with the appropriate steps in the process.

The book has already been launched in the US and a Chinese version is in the works, to be launched soon, according to Dr Baiya.

The authors give tips on how to stop creative prohibition and discuss the beginnings of The Innovator’s Advantage.

It brings together two essential components — an outlined framework and the science of skills and talent assessments — and shows you how to apply them.


To be called an innovation, an idea must be applicable at an economical cost and must satisfy a specific need.

Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful products.

In business, innovation often results when ideas are applied by a company in order to further satisfy the needs and expectations of the customers.

Whether you are an aspiring innovator, an early-stage entrepreneur, an executive, an investor, a leader of an incubator, or an innovation consultant, this book offers you some tips for starting, developing, and achieving sustainable innovation outcomes.

Dr Baiya, who credits his passion for innovation to his upbringing in Kenya, is an innovation leader, a scholar, and a polished technology strategy developer.


He has more than 18 years of experience in leading science, engineering, and technology innovations, technology transfer and policy advisory.

He holds a doctoral degree in engineering and technology development and an executive certification in business strategy and intellectual property from Harvard University, Massachusetts besides other academic accolades.

Dr Baiya is the Technology Transfer and Commercialisation Advisor to the State of Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM), which is responsible for commercialisation of research from all national and state government-funded research universities and specialty laboratories in the State of Idaho.

On the other hand, Ron Price is a respected business and strategy leader who have written five books including The Complete Leader, a book that companies are around the world are using to develop leaders.


He is the founder of a growing international consulting firm, Price Associates, based out of Boise, Idaho USA.

In the past, he has taught organic chemistry, nanotechnology manufacturing, statistics, strategic management, international business, business model innovation and intellectual property management.

The writers combined their backgrounds in engineering, innovation, talent development and leadership to identify the role of people in the process of innovation.

If you are adventurous and have ideas which you have not had an opportunity to try, this book will do you well.

On the other hand, if you just want an easy read for entertainment, well, the book is also for you.