Ade A. Olufeko

Ade Olufeko
Olufeko in Lagos, signing Remember to Rise collective, 2018
Born 1980 (1980)
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Nationality Nigerian (jus sanguinis)
Education St. Gregory's College, Lagos
Known for Humanities and innovation
Works Visual Collaborative
Philosophers Legacy
Home town Surulere, Lagos

Ade Olufeko (/aʊ:loʊ'feh.cuh/; born 1980)[lower-alpha 1] is a technologist, cognitive designer, entrepreneur and futurist.[1]

His international work in the field of humanities focuses on creatives, who bring awareness to regional and global issues. He is the creator of Visual Collaborative, a festival platform that collaborates with artists, scientists and innovators on socio-economics. Olufeko's career which spans across several industries, was featured by the New Telegraph in view of the 2020 decade. He is known for applying disciplines such as data science into exhibited art and motion work.[2]

In 2017, Vanguard News highlighted Olufeko's business advisory activities in the creative ecosystem, citing his advocacy of women entrepreneurs, in connection with IWD.[1] His keynote lecture at the 2018 WordPress conference in Lagos, covered digital cohesion and Big data in Africa.[3][4][5]


Early life

Ade Abayomi Olufeko born in Minneapolis is of Ijebu descent.[6] His father, Abayomi Sr. was an accountant, His mother, Olubola, a businesswoman and educator in fashion and textiles.[7][4] He returned to Lagos with his parents in his early childhood, growing up on the mainland city of Surulere, receiving his primary education at Unilag staff school and later St. Gregory's College in Obalende for his secondary education.[8] In the mid 1990s he returned to Minneapolis for further studies, and for a period was a resident of the historic Stevens Square.[6] He studied computer science and multimedia at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul.[9] He was named Ifihàn ìrawọ in Yoruba by his father, which translates to Epiphany.[10]


Technology consulting, new media and IBM

Olufeko began his career during the dot-com era as a technologist, working in motion graphics, internet infrastructure and hardware for companies such as Ameritech and 3M's Imation.[lower-alpha 2] His focus developed into digital strategy, information architecture and interactive software support, consulting for companies in the mass communications, music, health and finance industries such as Atlantic Records, PayPal, Adobe Systems, Bank of America and Target; to American celebrities such as Amel Larrieux, Ladybug Mecca and other high-profile personalities.[lower-alpha 3] [6] During the convergence of his work, whilst developing professional connections in the east coast, he relocated to New York City, working for media conglomerate Warner Music Group. Over the next several years between 2008 and 2014, assisting with the expansion of digital teams, he continued on to offer strategy and agency consulting to; WebMD in West Village, Sony BMG (Bertelsmann) in Garden City, and Constellation Energy located near Baltimore's Inner Harbor.[2]

Following a hiatus from corporate environment, in 2016 he returned for a few years to work as a management consultant for IBM's Interactive Experience service line.[11] Earlier in 2003, while consulting for IBM, his technology support team became recipients of the Gerstner award, for exceptional service to American Express Financial Advisors.[1]

Interdisciplinary impact and Visual Collaborative

In 2007, Olufeko founded Visual Collaborative, a seasonal traveling exhibition.[6][4] The American initiated platform draws on the tenets of Free enterprise and intersects Olufeko’s vocational interests in diverse media, creativity and technology.[6] Since the launch of the platform, he has collaborated in 20 cities with over 150 artists.[2] In 2015, He returned to serve as the curator of the platform, further showcasing the work of diverse artists and multidisciplinary creatives.[9][12]

In the British spring season of 2018, London Business School held its annual business summit, centered around scaling enterprises on the African continent, the institution collaborated with Olufeko, taking place at the Landmark he moderated the socio-cultural panel, It featured renowned fashion designer Ozwald Boateng OBE, celebrated media personality Banky W., the manager of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti; Rikki Stein, also joined by the serving general manager of Sony Music Entertainment West Africa, Michael Ugwu.[13][14][15][16][17]

International lectures

Olufeko’s lectures engage technology with contemporary issues such as governance, situational ethics, security and culture.[12] In 2018, he accepted an invitation from Georgetown University and gave a series of talks on the relationship of the African value chain and cognitive design.[18]

From 2011-2017, Olufeko gave lectures speaking at; Oxford University, Harvard Business School, Carnegie Mellon and Lagos Business School.[19][20][11][21] In 2017, Olufeko spoke at TEDxIkeja on Visual Metaphors and its collaborations.[22] He has also appeared on shows like TVC news and Voice Of America, the latter described Olufeko as an expert who advances the cause of humanities in the creative economy.[23][24] According to Business Day, his presentations have been on innovation, multidisciplinary design and collaborations.[4] In 2016, he was invited to join other thought leaders at Covenant University discussing technology and governance in Nigeria.[25] In 2011, Olufeko spoke alongside Voza Rivers in Harlem, on a panel about the cultural exchange between the United States and the African continent, a forum put together by the New York African Chorus Ensemble and the Harlem Arts Alliance.[26]

Reception in Nigeria

"his expertise in technology engages with Africa and the world. Furthermore, he is the quintessential son of the soil who, even after spending a good part of his life abroad, keeps on finding ways to share his knowledge in Nigeria and with the West African region for its own benefit."

— Soni Irabor, speaking about Olufeko, on LTV television interview. The Punch [27]

In 2008, Olufeko started on many visits to and around Nigeria reacquainting with the region. Embracing economics of the sub-Sahara's emerging market, he engaged as an independent consultant advising with the branding effort of various indigenous businesses, getting them on the World Wide Web.[6]

For his fieldwork and as founder of Visual Collaborative, he was invited as a keynote to speak at World Economic Forum initiative; Global Shapers, discussing disruptive Innovation: Succeeding With The Unconventional.[28] In March 2018, as a keynote speaker he opened the inaugural Wordpress WordCamp technology conference at the Civic Center in Lagos, imparting on the societal value of interoperable systems.[5]

In 2017, his observations of the Nigerian technology ecosystem were described by Incubate Africa as an "eye-opener".[29] The same year, Olufeko’s interview on prominent Victoria Island radio station Smooth 98.1 FM, "demystified unaddressed African complexes in social interactions".[30] Olufeko's public appearances on societal topics like innovation or culture has occasionally been classified with a Zen-like approach.[5][2]


Cognitive style

Self-taught as a digital painter, Olufeko's creative process as a vocation evolved over a decade. Inspired by the convergence of design and technology, 3D geometry, fractals and econometrics are consistent elements in his exhibited work. It explores Afrofuturism, experimental Chaos theory and Counterculture.[8]

In 2012, Olufeko teaming up with anti-oppression activist artist Ben Jones, collaborated with first amendment lawyer Marvin Ammori, classic pianist Berenika, Internet freedom activist Sascha Meinrath and D.C poet Jonathan B. Tucker, in a popup exhibition showcasing new art work and music in Washington D.C.[32]

Influences and philanthropy

In various interviews Olufeko credited the social cohesion of Surulere, and places like the National Arts Theatre as leaving lasting impressions during his childhood. According to The Punch his influences have ranged diversely from Luis Barragan for architecture, Hillman Curtis for new media design and Yugo Nakamura for pioneering interactive and motion graphic work.[27]

Olufeko credits his mother an educator and illustrator in fashion and textiles, for her collaborative and business influence, she ran a fashion institute in Surulere during the 1980s and 1990s.[1] Feminine or yin related subjects have appeared in his abstract art pieces, aligning to his advocacy of women and his respect to many matriarchy figures.[33] This subsequently led to several internationally recognized NGOs on FGM and human trafficking to leverage his art work.[27]

Selected exhibitions


  • In 2003, Olufeko received the IBM Gerstner award in Global Business Services.[1][lower-alpha 5]
  • NABF (Nigerian American Business Forum) Young entrepreneur achievement Award 2018.[18]

Selected bibliography

  • Ade Olufeko and the Resurrection of Cheikh Anta Diop. Pan African Voices for Freedom and Justice – Pambazuka Chika Ezeanya. (Nov, 2016) [3]
  • The Visual Collabo VisionaryDiaspora Quarterly 107,108,109. Lamide Akintobi. (May, 2017) [37]


  1. Simply known as Adé, Pronounced /ɑːˈd/; ah-DAY Yoruba: Adé Olúfẹ́kọ́ pronounced [Adé Olúfẹ́kọ́].
  2. In the early aughts, his interactive design work was showcased by adjuncts in selected courses by British training organization Learndirect.[9]
  3. Following the Bravebird album and its subsequent release Morning, Olufeko contributed digital design and advisory work to Larrieux's record label.
  4. On January 17th 2013, several digital paintings by Olufeko were showcased and leveraged at a fundraiser which Somaly Mam was guest of honor, this took place at the Hudson Terrace in New York City. The evening brought together influencers and celebrities featuring composers such as Chloe Flower supporting the Somaly Mam Foundation.[36]
  5. For customer excellence and countermeasure teamwork during the Blaster Worm epidemic.[4]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Ibiwoye Dotun (March 28, 2017). "The future is considerably female— Ade Olufeko". Vanguard Nigeria. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Ade Abayomi Olufeko: A Mid-career Retrospective of a Multidisciplinary Technologist with Africa's 2020s in view". New Telegraph. Retrieved 1 June 2017.
  3. 1 2 Ezeanya-Esiobu, Chika. "Ade Olufeko and the resurrection of Cheik Anta Diop". Pambazuka News. Retrieved 15 Oct 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Techpreneur One on One with Ade Olufeko". Business Day. August 22, 2016. Retrieved Nov 18, 2017. (Subscription required.)
  5. 1 2 3 "Ade Olufeko to give Keynote Address at Wordcamp Lagos 2018". P.M Express. March 5, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 T, Y (March 2012). "Behind the Technology: Super Cool Nerd!". Made Magazine. Vol. 20. Lagos.
  7. "AML 113: (Exclusive) Technologist Ade Olufeko on the Future of Music Technology in Nigeria & Africa's Music Industry". Podcast by Africa Music Law. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  8. 1 2 "Abayomi Olufeko" (PDF). No. 37. Newwebpick ‘Design for Designers’. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  9. 1 2 3 "Ade Olufeko 2013 Speaker Profile". Social Media Week. Retrieved 14 Oct 2017.
  10. Sam Anokam. "Ade Olufeko Speaks On Irabor's Show". Samurahh. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  11. 1 2 "LBS Africa Business Conference ABC Rolls Out Africa We See Campaign". YNaija. January 27, 2016. Retrieved Oct 15, 2017.
  12. 1 2 "Accomplished visual artist Ade Olufeko weighs in on his work and The Africas -". The Africas. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  13. "Ade Olufeko moderates socio-cultural panel at London Business School African Summit". The Punch. May 17, 2018. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  14. "Exciting times for business in Africa". London Business School. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  15. Adesoji Solanke, (April 18, 2018). "Big, Bold & Impact". London Business School. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  16., (May 1, 2018). "Countdown to LBS Africa Business Summit! Meet Banky W, Michael Ugwu on the Socio-Cultural Panel May 12th". BellaNaija. Retrieved June 1, 2018.
  17., (July 13, 2018). "Banky W, Tara & Fela Durotoye attend the LBS Africa Business Summit". BellaNaija. Retrieved July 15, 2018.
  18. 1 2 AsuquoE (Feb 5, 2018). "Polymath Ade Olufeko receives Young entrepreneur achievement Award at NABF in Florida, and speaks at Georgetown University in D.C." Talk Media Africa. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018.
  19. "Ade Olufeko – Oxford Africa Conference 2017". Retrieved 2018-05-25.
  20. "Digital Media and Entertainment". HBS African Business Conference. March 1, 2014. Archived from the original on May 4, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  21. "Ade Olufeko to impart on the digital ecosystem at Oxford University". YNaija. May 19, 2017. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  22. Onwuaso, Ugo (13 October 2017). "TEDxIkeja: Adeti, Inlaks CEO Shows How to Achieve Financial Inclusion in Nigeria". Communication Week. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  23. tvcnews (March 22, 2017). "Victims of Ransomware attack should pay required ransom - Olufeko". TVC news. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  24. Makori, Vincent (host) (18 December 2015). "Information Technology Entrepreneur, Ade Abayomi Olufeko". Africa 54. 11:40 minutes in. Voice Of America (VOA).
  25. "Experts to Discuss E-government at Covenant University's Conference". Covenant University. June 2, 2017. Retrieved 14 Oct 2017.
  26. "Dialogue: Africa Meets North America In Harlem". November 3, 2011. Archived from the original on Feb 2018. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018.
  27. 1 2 3 "Soni Irabor, technologist Ade Olufeko discuss 'Between Generations'". The Punch. April 25, 2018. Retrieved May 8, 2018.
  28. "Meet The Leader Series". September 2017. Archived from the original on Sep 2017. Retrieved Jan 3, 2018.
  29. "The Buzzwords Startups and the Brain-Drain Game by the Millenial Techies". Incubate Africa. Sep 17, 2017. Retrieved Oct 15, 2017.
  30. "Technologist Ade Abayomi Olufeko: "There is no (tech) ecosystem in Nigeria, there are just societies and clubs"". Africa Music Law. Sep 12, 2017. Retrieved Oct 15, 2017.
  31. 1 2 "Local artist finds alternative way to break into the art scene". Knot Move. September 13, 2011. Archived from the original on November 8, 2017. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  32. Kristy Samone (September 28, 2012). "Pop Up Art Exhibition". Archived from the original on Feb 2018. Retrieved Feb 15, 2018.
  33. Ebonylife TV (April 27, 2018). "The Superwoman Burden". Archived from the original on May 2018. Retrieved July 10, 2018.
  34. "Visual Collaborative Art Exhibition, Miami 2008!". Ladybrille. April 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 4, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
  35. "United for Kids Foundation (UKF) Ambassadors Ball". MP Master Plan events. December 18, 2011. Archived from the original on March 3, 2012. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
  36. 1 2 "Brave is Beautiful at the Hudson Terrace in NYC". January 17, 2013. Archived from the original on December 20, 2017. Retrieved December 20, 2017.
  37. -. "Ade Olufeko/Visual Colabo Q&A". Diaspora Quarterly. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
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