Co-Designing a Community Innovation Space with Senator Tokunbo Abiru


Senator Tokunbo Abiru of the Lagos East Constituency, as part of his initiative to drive youth empowerment, has partnered with Co-creation Hub to develop a Community Innovation Space for young people in Ikorodu.

Ikorodu is a large city with a population of over 1 million and a high percentage of young people between the ages of 15 – 35 years old. The area is plagued with challenges of unemployment and a lack of an enabling growth environment to foster their socio-economic development. There is a rising number of high school drop-outs, a high rate of teenage pregnancy, and an outcry of fraudulent & insecure activities which threaten the livelihood of business owners and traders.

Co-creation Hub Nigeria in its quest to drive relevant innovation across communities worked with Senator Tokunbo Abiruโ€™s Constituency Team (TACT) and adopted human-centered design to engage multiple stakeholders in and around Ikorodu alongside designers to conceptualise a Community Innovation Space. A first of its kind, to look into reinventing how innovation spaces are used to spur creativity and economic development across Africa.

The aim of the Community Innovation Space is to create employment opportunities, inspire grass-roots innovations and build partnerships & networks that will drive economic prosperity and collaboratively solve significant social and business problems in Ikorodu, Lagos State. 

In applying human-centered design, we identified this challenge statement: 

โ€œHow Might we create a growth-driven environment in Ikorodu that will foster the reorientation of young people and empower them with the platform & opportunities which allow them to productively compete on a global scale?โ€

Designing the Community Innovation Space in line with the challenge statement was divided into three phases:

Community Innovation Space at Ikorodu

We applied human-centered design to research the work across the different levels. The goal was to properly discover the challenges faced by the young people in Ikorodu.


The uniqueness of this project was properly captured by our application of human-centered design. Human-centered design facilitates the development of unique solutions that are created to meet the needs of people. The process does not assume that it knows what the people need, in fact, the process emphasizes solutions instead of focusing on the assumed problems.

Amongst the key mindsets leveraged by this methodology is empathy; empathy allows the design of solutions by stepping in the shoes of the end-users, seeing from their perspective, and generating a clear understanding of their unique needs. The process of this approach starts and ends with the people we are creating for. 

We applied the methods of design research to allow us to do the following:

  • Discover and define the problems faced by the young people in Ikorodu
  • Understand the insights discovered by relating with the people and identify the unique opportunities that can be turned into solutions.
  • Co-create solutions that are purely inspired by a clear understanding of the insights drawn from the people of Ikorodu. The solutions are ideated, prototyped then tested or validated before implementation.
  • Implement the solutions that have been iterated.

For the Community Innovation Space project in Ikorodu, we applied the human-centered design methodology to carry out the following:

Community Innovation Space at Ikorodu

The table below highlights the various research methods applied and the participants engaged in order for us to discover & define the problems, understand the insights as well as gather suggestions that can be utilized to co-design the Community Innovation Space in Ikorodu.

Community Innovation Space at Ikorodu

A total of 309 participants from Ikorodu were engaged using human-centered design. The participants were representative of those who would directly or indirectly benefit from the co-design of the Community Innovation Space.

Our Findings

1. Problems/ Challenges faced by Youths in Ikorodu

The table below thematically summarizes the common themes, outliers, and the red flags around the problems plaguing the young people in Ikorodu.

2. Suggested Solutions to the challenges faced by young people

The chart below summarizes the solutions that the different participants suggested to resolve the challenges faced by young people in Ikorodu.

Community Innovation Space at Ikorodu

3. Co-Designing a Community Innovation Space: Suggested Programmes 

The participants gave their suggestions for co-designing the Community Innovation Space. The following table shows the summary of the themes that the Community Innovation Space should focus on:

Community Innovation Space at Ikorodu

From the results of our findings shown above, we see that the problem of unemployment can be solved. This highlights that the two key needs for young people can be summarized as โ€œthe need for training & skillsโ€ and โ€œaccess to world-class opportunitiesโ€. This is the kind of environment that the Community Innovation Space seeks to promote.

Your Feedback

The engagement with the various stakeholders of Ikorodu so far has produced the above focus areas, in terms of what the Community Innovation Space should cover. The essence of this blog is to further crowdsource from you, the public, and the inhabitants of Ikorodu, based on the information we have gathered. 

Do you have other ideas that could help improve employability and economic opportunity for young people in Ikorodu? If so, click the form below to tell us!