Political Entrepreneurialism: Reflections of a Civil Servant on the Role of Political Institutions in Technology Innovation and Diffusion in Kenya


Elijah Bitange Ndemo


This paper narrates how an innovative political institution in Kenya gained support from private sector players in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector. The paper is centered on the reflections of a top civil servant who leveraged Lewin’s theoretical foundations and leadership to propel Kenya from obscurity to global renown in the ICT arena. The paper details the leadership of key players in the political system explaining on how their tolerance for risk encouraged ICT diffusion and innovation in Kenya. The paper delves into the details of executive decision making and how those decisions influence different stakeholders. The analysis reveals why Kenya succeeded where its neighbours did not. It shows that Kenya’s continued success in ICTs depends upon its stability – endemic corruption and previous political decisions could threaten this. The paper will also highlight the emergence of a new crop of innovators developing new applications across all sectors including education, health, agriculture and financial services.