As a leading institution of higher learning in Africa, The University of Nairobi is credited for producing top notch students in respective fields. The institution has assumed a lead role in innovation on areas which improve service delivery to the students. This is a case study which explores on how the university aspires maintain the top accolades by employing global standards in the running of its affairs. True to this aspiration is the innovative nature that the university has attempted in revolutionize the running of its programs. The institution has heavily diversified its courses and aligned its programs to accommodate the requirements of its stakeholders who are diverse. Many colleges have been opened in various strategic locations of the country to tap into the ever growing demand for knowledge. It is evident from the leading scholars that the university has very little challenge locally. Looking at the key players in most industries in Kenya, one will often realize that in most institutions in Kenya, top management are alumni of the university of Nairobi. This is an attestation of the place the university holds in the corporate space in Kenya. Despite these achievements, the university still finds itself lagging behind in various areas some of which require corporate experience to expel in. This study looks at the student’s online
application process and interrogates how the university through partnerships has innovated the process of on-boarding students into the institution. The study espouses the need to partner with specialized firms to achieve success in a chosen area. The study demonstrates that innovation can propel an institution above its competitors by enabling the institution achieve sustainable competitive advantage. The university of Nairobi has been struggling with manual enrollment process of new students. Since competition for students has been very stiff in Kenya following the remarkable spread of universities across the region, the university of Nairobi has experienced diminishing enrollment numbers. To counter this challenge, the university sought to improve its enrollment process so as to tap into the unreached population. The objective of this study was to establish how partnerships can lead to innovation. The study is grounded in both innovation and partnership theories. The study finds that innovation is not invention and that partnerships are catalysts for innovation as they enable the partners to nurture their competencies, talents and perspectives to create a sustainable competitive advantage over competition.
Key words: Innovation, partnerships.