Criteria for Selection
The winning innovations are determined based on the products’ uniqueness and their potential contribution to socio-economic development in Africa through increased efficiency and cost savings. Five criteria to be considered:

  1. Originality: The uniqueness of the product and its superiority in comparison with similar or alternative products in the market;
  2. Marketability: The extent to which the innovation sufficiently addresses the problem it seeks to solve at a price or model that is accessible to the target market;
  3. Scalability: The extent to which the solution can be easily applied to other similar markets beyond the applicant’s immediate or local environment;
  4. Social impact: The ability of the innovation to create or effect positive or desirable changes within the target community and beyond;
  5. Scientific/Technical aspects: For tangible technical/scientific innovations; this refers to extent to which the technical specifications of the innovation are grounded on established science and sufficiently address any anticipated product risks.
Below is a summary of the IPA 2016 process timeline:
  1. Pre-screening (August - Nov 2015): Pre-screening commences immediately applications are received and continues on an ongoing basis until the competition is closed. The IPA secretariat assesses that the received applications meet the minimum requirements: that the applicant is a person of African citizenship or origin; that all the mandatory fields are completed and the innovation is developed beyond being just an idea.
  2. Screening (October – December 2015): PhD students from reputable institutions evaluate the applications to assess and assign scores based on the following considerations; has the applicant identified a clear problem they are solving; does the solution they are proposing to address the problem sound plausible; can the solution be deemed innovative when assessed against similar solutions existing in the market globally. Based on the scores received, a shortlist is prepared and submitted to the judges.
  3. Preliminary Assessment by Judges (Dec 2015 – Jan 2016): Each application is independently reviewed by at least two judges who are members of the Selection Panel. The key issues being assessed are: whether the problem being addressed is a major challenge on the continent; is the solution better than globally existing solutions; is the solution commercially viable or self-sustaining.
  4. Selection Panel meeting (Early Feb 2016): The Selection Panel members meet to deliberate on the innovations reviewed during the preliminary assessment. They reconcile the scores and create a shortlist of top 25 applications.
  5. Technical Validation (Feb- March 2016): Technical experts from reputable institutions will carry out validation on selected applications. They seek to determine whether the technical claims made are valid and whether the idea is new.
  6. Phone Interviews (March - April 2016): The Selection Panel will conduct phone interviews with the applicant and which shall include the validator. The phone interviews will allow the Panel to resolve any questions raised by the validator. The Selection Panel will select 10 nominees after the phone interviews.
  7. Face-to-Face interviews (June 2016 and exact dates and place TBA): The selection panel will conduct face-to-face interviews with the nominees. The interviews will be conducted just before the awards ceremony. The winners would be chosen after the interviews and announced during the awards ceremony.
  8. Awards Ceremony (June 2016 and exact date and place TBA): IPA 2016 winners will be announced and awarded at a special ceremony. Venue and exact date will be announced by mid-March 2015 and will be posted on IPA website and other social media channels.