Keep looking for the rhythm of the magic, don’t let it go

When I forget why I’m here and what I’m looking for, I forget to keep looking for it.

I was drawn back to the keyboard to write this post today, after giving up for the umpteenth time to craft a coherent blogpost in the analytical style. I’ve got at least 4 different drafts saved with anywhere from 700 to a thousand words in each, plus references. None of them felt right. I couldn’t bring myself to publish any of them. Yet I could see why I had to write them out, and so, I did.

After I walked away from my efforts, I began worrying that maybe I was slipping back into the old habits of silence and not blogging at all. That brought me running back here. Even if I wrote nothing but this brief reminder to keep looking for the rhythm of the music of the word song, and not let it go.

I’ve come far too far in this journey since I began in the middle of March to forget to remember the magic of Kalevala.

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Writing for pleasure

6 weeks into full-fledged blogging, I find myself approaching the keyboard for the sheer pleasure of writing again. Have I found the music of my word song that I was looking for?

I don’t know.

I haven’t actually thought about it recently, I’ve just been writing.

The barrier to sitting down to write – for work or pleasure – has diminished in intensity. I do not feel the reluctance I used to at the thought of having to work on writing. While I’m still facing challenges with mental composition during idle moments, a facet of my writing style where thoughts and ideas would coalesce in my resting brain; the sense of writing as an onerous task or burden has been lifted. Aspects of behavioural change in my computer and internet usage make me want to unpack this further.

One of the biggest reasons I used to shy away from sitting down to write at length in recent years was the sense that it would grab much of my attention in a deeply focused and concentrated manner for an extended length of time. And for some reason I was reluctant to begin a task that would eat up my attention in this way, even though I had no trouble back then with spending an equivalent length of time in social media activity such as browsing news and adding links on Twitter.

The latter felt like something that would not be affected by breaking off and returning, while the same could not be said about writing. I do not have the concepts or words for this but the idea of continuous partial attention is somehow related. That is, it seems to me I had become accustomed to tasks or activities only requiring partial attention and reluctant to begin those which required my full and focused attention.

How much of this has to do with the evolution of habit due to browsing behaviour, I cannot say. But the recent experiments in changing my computing and media consumption habits and the simultaneous change in rediscovering the pleasure of writing – losing myself in the act of thinking and writing, as I once used to do – hint at a possible connection.

This in turn makes me reluctant to revert back to old patterns and habits. I’d rather continue my experimentation and the changes in my internet ‘dietary habits’ than risk losing the pleasure I have found again in thinking deeply and writing with focused concentration, rather than interrupted with urges to break off and check the mail or Twitter.

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Can Africa’s Informal Trade Ecosystems Provide Lessons for Navigating Uncertainty and Volatility in the post Pandemic World?

It is virtually impossible today to consider emerging markets without taking into consideration the vastly different operating environment of the majority of the countries in the global South. As the map, based on GSMA data, above shows clearly in bright red and blue, the clearest indication of this difference is in the way mobile telephony services are purchased and used. Decades of emerging markets focus – strategy, market entry, new product introductions and market launches, complete with events and promotions conceptualized and executed, and primary qualitative research for concept design and innovation – taken all together, has led to my firm conviction that this map also reflects the consumer mindset and worldview in addition to purchasing patterns and economic capacity.

Simply put, the darker the blue that denotes the higher the percentage of total mobile subscribers on prepaid plans (prepaid SIM penetration % in the legend above), the greater the proportion of the population of that jurisdiction is dependent on the informal sectors of their economy for revenue generation, income streams, and cash flows.

In sub Saharan Africa, whose consumer markets I have observed and studied (Bhan, 2014a) since the founding of my professional practice in late 2007, the vast proportion of mobile operators’ customer base – greater than 90% – are on prepaid or ‘pay as you go’ plans where they purchase airtime for data, voice, and SMS in fractionalized amounts in advance of use. It is clear that this preference (Bhan, 2014b) cuts across lines of relative wealth, white collar employment, education status, and other factors that traditionally distinguish the customer segmentation matrices of consumer brands. And, this aspect, imo, is what not only distinguishes the African market but also what makes market entry both an immense untapped opportunity as well as an immense challenge (Bhan 2014a, 2014b) in particular for scaling into rural markets or urban mass markets.

Today, the need to understand and address this market as a commercial operating environment in its own right is critical for lowering the barriers to African enterprise, industry, and in particular SMEs and microSMEs to bridge the chasm between them and the global economic ecosystem. In addition, as the current global operating environment faces its own moment of flux and uncertainty increasing the volatility of the economic ecosystem and thus the complexity; planning becomes more of a challenge, as do considerations of strategy and decision making.

The informal economic ecosystems, such as those of the East African Community’s (EAC), have long been operating under such challenging conditions, and the unpredictable nature of the pandemic have only increased the complexity of their operating conditions. Years of research, beginning with questioning the nature of the preference for prepaid subscriptions, provide insight on the informal sector’s navigation of uncertainty and volatility in their operating conditions. These lessons can now provide useful insights.

Early literature on the global pandemic’s impacts on international business (eg. Sharma, Leung,  Kingshott, Davcik & Cardinali, 2020) frames the challenge for this direction of research by distinguishing risk from uncertainty, which, according to the authors (Sharma et al, 2020) whilst extensively covered in the literature of international business has not until now made any explicit distinction between the two issues.

Going forward, we would need to look at how these businesses [“small businesses around the world”] can better prepare themselves so that they can become not only more resilient to overcome the uncertainty imposed by unexpected events but also be more agile to cope with these challenges by being flexible and innovative.

There are lessons for formal businesses, particularly micro, small, and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) who must operate without the abundance of resources available to large corporations and multinationals, from further research into the business management practices of informal traders and micro-entrepreneurs, particularly from the viewpoint of resilience attributes, adaptive capacity building, and the navigation of fluctuating changes in their supply and demand ecosystems. Ongoing conditions of volatility and uncertainty require novel ways of thinking about management of resources and operations.

References:

Bhan, N. (2014a). How Africa is Challenging Marketing. Harvard Business Review.

Bhan, N. (2014b). Mobile money is driving Africa’s cashless future. Harvard Business Review.

Sharma, P., Leung, T. Y., Kingshott, R. P., Davcik, N. S., & Cardinali, S. (2020). Managing uncertainty during a global pandemic: An international business perspective. Journal of business research, 116, 188-192.

Posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Airtime, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Informal & Flexible, Mobile platform, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Strategy, Work in Progress | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Working Progress

I have come to deeply appreciate the role of the bystander, who stands there and smokes while watching the artist’s working progress.

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Sensemaking in extreme conditions for enhancing resilience: Literature Review

Here, I want to explore themes of resilience and sensemaking together in extreme conditions. For now, I have considered the systemic shock of the global pandemic as an increase in volatility, complexity, and uncertainty of operating conditions, from the perspective of the informal urban food system in Nairobi, Kenya. Therefore I have deliberately excluded literature that considers resilience of engineering systems exclusively or that which requires complex technology for sensemaking (eg. Lundberg, Törnqvist, & Nadjm–Tehrani, 2012; van der Merwe, Biggs, & Preiser, 2020).

As reviewed earlier, I found Weick et al’s (2005) framing for organizational sensemaking conceptually relevant and a continued source of inspiration (Weick, 2011; Wadford, 2011) although constrained by their emphasis on words and language i.e. textual, rather than visual approaches to collaborative or organizational sensemaking as I consider my domain of exploration.

One could say I am forced by the nature of my chosen operating environment and participant profiles – as described more fully in my previous review – to take a human factors approach to the theme of sensemaking for resilience in extreme conditions. Here, I have taken the definition of human factors (also known as ergonomics, which is how I’d been introduced to it in my engineering degree and my product design studies, more than 30 years ago) from the International Ergonomics Association website (IEA, 2021):

Ergonomics (or human factors) is the scientific discipline concerned with the understanding of interactions among humans and other elements of a system, and the profession that applies theory, principles, data and methods to design to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

As an industrial and production engineer (1989, Bangalore University) with a full year of the National Institute of Design’s Advanced Entry programme in Product Design (March 1990), ergonomics was the foundation on which we thought about toolmaking for human needs. Therefore it makes sense right now to keep this frame of reference in mind as I proceed to select and review the literature today. This lens allows me to focus on social and human aspects such as communities, collaboration, relationships, and participatory approaches among other things.

The system mentioned in the definition of ergonomics is the informal industrial ecosystem within which the suppliers and sellers of fresh vegetables to Nairobi’s informal settlements (aka slums) operate, and taking a systemic approach implies the need to consider the group as a whole (Bhan & Gajera, 2018) rather than the individual micro-enterprise or sole trader. Over the years, I have most certainly been applying theory, principles, data and methods to design to optimize human well-being and overall system performance.

In the closely interdependent value webs of the informal trade ecosystems (forthcoming) of eastern Africa, enhancing resilience must be seen as a systemic exercise, rather than than one focused on individuals. My reflections on pivoting methodology to the Scandinavian tradition of participatory design approaches explicate this in greater detail. However, more review and analysis still remains to be done in this area.

Kilskar, Danielsen, & Johnsen (2020) present the results of a comprehensive qualitative literature review conducted to establish more knowledge on sensemaking in the context of safety-critical situations and on the relation between the concepts of sensemaking and resilience. While their latter topic is directly relevant to my review, I need to explore whether the acute intensity of the systemic shock on Nairobi’s informal fresh produce ecosystem brought about by the pandemic can be compared to safety-critical situations.

Introducing the central publication, Weick & Sutcliffe (2007), Kilskar et al (2020) highlight their statement that literature on sensemaking and resilience are closely related as both focus on how managers deal with ambiguity and extreme shocks in the environment. This synthesis is critical and important for my attempts to contextualize the vegetable vendors’ situation within the literature of resilience and sensemaking in extreme conditions, since the methodology selected to address their issues already considers them as ‘experts of their own experience’ (Gregory, 2013) and thus one can extend that to imply they are essentially the managers of their own enterprise and its supply networks, regardless of its size.

“…none of these processes can be understood in isolation from the more general human, technological, and organizational context of which they are part.” ~ Kilskar, Danielsen, & Johnsen (2020)

Emergencies and accidents, such as the maritime related domain motivation of Kilskar et al’s qualitative review (2020) are time bound situational contexts, although the issues of stress and fear borne upon sensemaking still apply during the first shock of the pandemic’s arrival and its impacts on operating conditions.

Read More »

Posted in Africa, Analysis, Biashara Economics, Business, Flexibility, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Literature review, Perspective, Research, Retail in Africa, Risk, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, urban, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

IMD Case Study – how Mpesa’s adoption transformed Safaricom

There is a case study on Safaricom that supports my viewpoint – that first one must consider the operating environment pragmatically prior to design and delivery of services for low income markets for a successful outcome that then drives the transformation of both the customer base and the corporation, giving rise to new ecosystems and platforms, as the case may be, based on the product/service offering’s characteristics.

This case study investigates the phenomenal development of M-PESA in Kenya, the world’s most successful mobile phone-based financial service, and the way it transformed its parent company, Safaricom from being an incumbent telecommunications operator to also becoming a digital platform working across different industries and sectors through an extensive business ecosystem.

Safaricom’s path to becoming a more inclusive business refining its focus on social impact was a consequence of its initial business activities rather than the reverse. I do not believe it could have been as successful it it had begun from the viewpoint of attempting social impact from inception of the service design. In the past I have written about the ecosystem within which Mpesa operates (Bhan, 2013)

Some systems thinking

That is, for any solution designed to enable the flow of wealth – mobile money transfer for example – or improve wealth creation at the BoP – it was not enough to simply target the poor alone. It would not work as a “Solution for the BoP” primarily because the BoP do not have any liquidity,  even if they do indeed have assets especially in rural areas, or they do not have the cash for it to flow through the system in the first place. Thus solutions aimed at improving economic activity for the poor needed ‘non poor’ actors in the ecosystem in order to inject cash into the system and thus make it flow (and one hopes, grow).

Taking this thought one step further, MPesa – assessed as a holistic ecosystem for financial transactions – has been so very obviously successful in the Kenyan context primarily because it is used by everyone, regardless of their economic standing or bankedness (if I may coin a non word).  In fact I believe that the number of banked actually surpasses the number of the unbanked – there is a link there that right now is not in the scope of this post but we can look at it later.

And thus, when ‘Solutions on the mobile to help the BoP or poor’ are considered, they should be looked at in terms of the complete ecosystem including the critical question of Where will the money come from into the system in the first place?  Without which, they will limp along as a cash poor system with little wealth to circulate, achieving nothing for the BoP in question. Look at this article on MPesa repositioning itself in South Africa towards higher income brackets and away from the original target audience of poor rural women. QED.

That is, had Safaricom taken the social impact for the poor approach at the outset, it would have focused on the poor in Kenya, particularly the rural poor, the way Mpesa in South Africa did. And, as a mobile money transfer platform, if there were no targeted users having the money to add into the system, there wouldn’t be any cash flowing in that system, which is what keeps MPesa alive in Kenya (some estimates put the value of money circulating in MPesa as high as 50% of Kenya’s GDP).

It was because Mpesa was originally designed as a general purpose payment mechanism – regardless of the relative wealth or poverty of the target audience – that it was adopted by users across Kenya’s demographic spectrum, thus ensuring its eventual success.

The South African version targeted only poor rural women, who have no money in the first place to plug into the system thus it limped along unable to achieve a critical mass of user adoption and value circulating in the system for scale or sustainability.

This post serves as a footnote for the previous one introducing my perspective.

Posted in Africa, Airtime, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Cashless transactions, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Kenya, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, South Africa, Technology | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mobile telephony and low income customers: Market conditions drove product development and pricing

Mbarika, V., & Mbarika, I. (2006). Africa calling. IEEE Spectrum, 43(5), 56-60. Illustration Bryan Christie.

Many who were around and as obsessed by the entry of mobile telephony in the global South during the early years of this century will recall this eyecatching graphic used to illustrate the announcement by Cameroonian researchers Victor and Irene Mbarika that can now be pointed to as the moment Africa’s mobile revolution was born:

Mobile Subscriptions Skyrocket: Africa far outpaces the rest of the world in average annual growth of mobile phone subscriptions. According to the International Telecommunication Union, from 1999 through 2004 Africans signed up for cellphones at a far greater rate than Asians and nearly three times as fast as Americans. Most of that growth was in the sub-Saharan region. (text source)

Professor Mbarika‘s highly cited works (eg. Meso, Musa & Mbarika, 2005) from this era provide evidence that the market and consumer for mobile telephony – services and devices – was considered from the business perspective; framed thus and studied accordingly, with an eye towards issues of consumer behaviour, customer acquisition, affordability, ease of use, pricing, etc. This point of view also informed the product development trajectories of the market makers of the industry – Nokia, for example.

Similarly, my abiding interest in the prepaid business model for airtime – data and conventional services of voice calls and SMS – since 2008, provide me with ample evidence in the form of logged newspaper articles and research papers on the drivers of product development that underpin the service design of advance purchase of fractionalized services whose consumption was being measured in real time and deducted via a combination of hardware and software at the network operator level. I was already looking at mobile phones for low income consumers in 2006.

One of the recurring patterns I’ve been seeing of late is how mobile phones – not just the handset, but the system as a whole, have become drivers of innovation in emerging economies. (April 2006, Bhan)

The shift in public awareness of mobile telephony and mobile money in particular as a tool for social and economic innovation for the bottom of the pyramid and emerging markets can be traced to my closing keynote (CHI 2007) in May 2007 and the writing I was doing in the lead up to the visual presentation I made.

I can speak for this shift and it moves me to speak up on the matter now. The global mobile industry – GSM services in particular – saw low income customers whether rural or urban in low income countries as new markets to be served by affordable handsets and payment plans that met their constraints of lack of paperwork to prove creditworthiness required for a monthly subscription.

Even the mobile money service Mpesa was never designed as a tool for poverty alleviation or development, no matter how much retrospective research has framed it so. It was conceived as a service design innovation to capture and sustain value for the service provider first, and explicit value creation from the inclusive business perspective (Schoneveld, 2020) only emerged many years after its adoption became mainstream across income ranges in Kenya. Wooder & Baker, 2011 offer a retrospective framework for analysis based on the service they designed “for emerging markets” as shown by the figure and table below:

Upfront value creation occurs when the infrastructure investment for service delivery is deemed both feasible and viable. Safaricom had assets in the form of existing service delivery infrastructure that reached into the rural regions that they could leverage, and thus drive service innovation.

I can easily relate the just completed work on rural economic assessment and estimation to this framework from the perspective of the client company looking to evaluate various villages for their potential capacity to sustain the revenue stream deemed necessary to maintain operations. This does not mean that less capable villages will do without the service, it just means that a different business might succeed based on a different value proposition and price point, just not this one. This is a pragmatic assessment of corporate strategy and operations planning.

This line of thinking also serves to provide support for my long held conjecture that informal economic ecosystems necessitate further and detailed study that should be situated within the theoretical literature of the relevant disciplines,  building upon mainstream work, as concluded by Pels & Sheth (2017) rather than dismissed entirely or conflated with illicit and shadowy activities. Telcos like Safaricom in Kenya show the way in their seamless linkage of rural and urban markets, as well as the bridge across the formal-informal economies.

It opens pathways for research in theory building as well as doors for higher order knowledge based services such as tools for strategy and sensemaking customized for informal operating conditions. Recent conversations with a colleague in Cotonou, Benin lead us to believe that such custom designed tools leveraging deep insights on informal operating conditions can benefit SMEs and others whose supply chains cover the continuum of informality, as is prevalent in the fast growth economies of Francophone Africa.

From the rural perspective, such tools – grounded in the conditions of the informal sector – can help with organizational sensemaking, for instance, and benefit agribusinesses who work with smallholder farmers. Such an approach can help build bridges for those who must straddle the structures of the formal economy and large organizations with the peculiarities of suppliers and vendors from the informal sector. The prepaid business model did just this for the world’s mobile service providers reaping the profits from the vast markets of the global South. Why stop there?

Footnote on Mpesa in Kenya vs South Africa that supports this line of argument.

Notes

Burke, G. T., & Wolf, C. (2020). The process affordances of strategy toolmaking when addressing wicked problems. Journal of Management Studies.

Meso, P., Musa, P., & Mbarika, V. (2005). Towards a model of consumer use of mobile information and communication technology in LDCs: the case of sub‐Saharan Africa. Information Systems Journal, 15(2), 119-146

Paroutis, S., Franco, L. A., & Papadopoulos, T. (2015). Visual interactions with strategy tools: Producing strategic knowledge in workshops. British Journal of Management, 26, S48-S66.

Vuorinen, T., Hakala, H., Kohtamäki, M., & Uusitalo, K. (2018). Mapping the landscape of strategy tools: A review on strategy tools published in leading journals within the past 25 years. Long Range Planning, 51(4), 586-605.

Wooder, S., & Baker, S. (2012). Extracting key lessons in service innovation. Journal of Product Innovation Management, 29(1), 13-20.

Posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Airtime, Assumption filter, Biashara Economics, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Literature review, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Situating one’s rant within business model typology for rural and low income markets

After yesterday’s post on stripping out social considerations to allow for a pragmatic economic assessment of viability prior to investing in infrastructure for service delivery to rural customers, I looked up literature on the general theme. Site selection as a keyword brought a slew of articles focusing on GIS technology, primarily from the lens of feasibility, while inclusive business brought up a lot of agribusiness related material as the drive to include smallholder farmers in global value chains and food systems has created a lot of interest.

Two papers, both from the perspective of renewable energy which is extremely popular right now, touched upon the broad theme of rural economic capacity – one, from Indonesia (Sitompul & Sinaga, 2020) brought up the concept of ‘willingness to pay’ but categorized this under community and social concerns rather than economic concerns where they instead only considered the top down costs and feasibility issues of infrastructure building.

The other (Hubble & Ustun, 2018) looked at a number of countries together but used a generic approach based on rural GDP – an amalgamation of a country’s GDP, their population, and the amount of wealth owned by the poorest 10% of the population using World Bank data – to draw conclusions on target customer ability to pay for electricity as a criterion for selection of energy source and grid size.

Neither paper went deeper into revenue stream assessment based on the population’s economic capacity, remaining within their engineering oriented comfort zone of feasibility assessments as opposed to viability assessments. And, seasonality, the cornerstone of rural life that matters for viability assessments, remains rather unpopular as a research topic (Devereux, Sabates-Wheeler, & Longhurst, 2013).

Turning to business models and rural markets, I finally found a paper that helps me contextualize my thinking within a theoretical framework – albeit a high level one – from which to start exploration, discussion, and debate.

Pels, J., & Sheth, J. N. (2017). Business models to serve low-income consumers in emerging markets. Marketing Theory, 17(3), 373-391.

Pels & Sheth (2017), working from literature, propose this matrix above as a typology for business models targeting low income consumers in emerging markets, and I found it directly relevant in contextualizing the issues I brought up in yesterday’s post. Read More »

Posted in Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Frameworks, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Literature review, Marketing, Perspective, Retail in Africa, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is a business inclusive if its doing business in rural Africa? Why modeling economic capacity matters

Whether a business thinks of itself as inclusive or not, it must consider the sustainability of revenue streams and their expected duration, prior to committing themselves to infrastructural investments in rural locations of the global South.

Those that position themselves as inclusive businesses – regardless of size, must consider the value being created for their target customer audience, in addition to the sustainability of their own revenue streams (Schoneveld, 2020).

But for those who simply see the business opportunity in infrastructure deprived parts of the developing world, in particular, sub Saharan Africa, the concept of value creation is seen as a commercial transaction, first and foremost. We will bring our services to you and you will pay us for it.

The challenge of executing such a simplistic notion is exacerbated by the need to ensure customer retention after acquisition, and often, customer acquisition in the first place. Such businesses resist the notion that they are there to uplift the population or enable the socio-economic development of their target audience preferring instead to focus on the bottomline of returns on their investments in infrastructure for service delivery.

“Inclusive business” therefore could be considered a mindset or worldview of the business choosing to target under-developed regions or less privileged population segments, rather than a default stance adopted due to the target market’s relative development status. Since the focus of this writing is not to dive into the legacy development of the concept of inclusive business and related themes of ‘bottom of the pyramid’ (Prahalad, 2009); ‘doing business profitably with the poor’ (various INGOs); I will pick up the untouched issues regarding this statement of mine in a subsequent post.

For now, I want to explore more deeply the market entry strategy for businesses (Bhan, 2014) that think of themselves as simply doing business albeit in challenging and adverse operating environments. I bring this up because the history of mobile telephony’s development and evolution in the harshest and most challenging environments, such as lower income countries, fragile and conflict ridden contexts, et al, did not begin with the idea that they could impact the ‘poor’ socially, even if they later discovered they did and could do more. Mobile telephony’s enrollment into development and poverty alleviation was an outcome of their growth rates and profitability rather than the reverse.

“Simply doing business”

When the lenses of social impact, development, or various forms of value creation expected of an inclusive business model (Schoneveld, 2020) are removed from the equation, the primary concern for such an entrepreneurial firm is site selection for investments in infrastructure for service delivery. Stripping away the fuzzier concerns that cloud strategic decision making in the boardroom means getting to the heart of the matter:

Can this rural market support the minimum required revenue flows, over the time it would take to pay back the cost of investing in extending infrastructure and services to that village?

I will cover two factors here today – the personal experience of being faced with this situation where the question was posed as a research & innovation consulting project, and some thoughts on the recent experience of economic analysis for site selection in conditions of volatile income streams and inadequate data. I have just recognized that I will not be able to continue working on refining the latter  into a viable tool and/or framework, if I do not first address the former, hence the blog format for this writing.

“Isn’t trying to calculate sustainable revenue flows another word for exploiting the poor?”

To be honest, even though I’ve spent years reframing the informal trade ecosystem in east Africa as a commercial operating environment in its own right and ranting on the need to recognize the professions and occupations of the informal sectors in manufacturing and trade, I was disconcerted when approached to do this project in rural east Africa.

Read More »

Posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Distribution, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Income, Informal & Flexible, Literature review, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, rural, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology, User research, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let me…

Let me be the month of April,
the poetry month they say.
Let me sing the song of spring,
the sun shines every day.

Let me look around with wonder,
gaze upon the streams;
walk within the forest,
and muse upon the trees.

Let me find the joy of life,
and learn to love the dark.
Let me feel the nature’s rhythm,
when I go walking in the park.

Let me yell and should out loud,
in the silence of the grove.
Let me be the month of April,
May I hold it close?

~niti

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