Category Archives: Business

Are you letting data from the past drive your future strategy?

By | August 29, 2022

Yesterday, I was deep inside Google looking for datapoints to connect that would add up to give me a sense of what was going on in these turbulent times, and I came across this insightful article on strategy. It was clear the author felt as obsolete as I did about the way strategic planning for… Read More »

Sensemaking in extreme conditions for enhancing resilience: Literature Review

By | April 27, 2021

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… Read More »

The Research – Practice Gap for African Startups

By | November 9, 2019

There is very little literature on business operations management, and product development methodology  that actually helps African SMEs and startups to navigate their own operating environment with its local characteristics. Analysts struggle with frameworks and processes developed in highly industrialized contexts as a means to evaluate the strategies of businesses and solutions with local or… Read More »

Is Design Prepared to be Responsible?

By | November 7, 2019

Last week, I was invited to join a 60 strong group of pan African thinkers in law, human rights, gender, debt and related issues to convene in Nairobi to explore the concept of predatory lending now being delivered direct to your handheld device. As a human centered designer, I was rocked back on my heels… Read More »

Emergence of a decentralized digital economy? Snippets from Nigeria and Kenya

By | December 22, 2018

Continuing the conversation from the recent posts on app enabled demand redistribution as well as digital platforms being used by informal sector economic actors to boost their own productivity and efficiency, I thought to share snippets from these two recent articles I just came across, as cases in point. From Nigeria, West Africa: How WhatsApp… Read More »

Lessons from the Informal Economy: Managing on Irregular Payments in the Gig Economy

By | November 3, 2018

Last week, an unusual report was released in Great Britain. Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), together with the Resolution Foundation, addressed the question of earnings volatility in the UK, a first for a developed country with a formal economy. Their research and analysis made use of anonymised transaction data from over seven million LBG accounts. That… Read More »

Chinese investments in African tech will transform the fintech landscape

By | October 20, 2018

A recent article brought to my attention this report on the pattern of funding experienced by fintech startups in East Africa and India with rather damning results. 90 percent of the capital invested by “Silicon Valley-style” investors went to startups, technically in East Africa, with one or more North American or European founders. These results… Read More »

Competitive Advantage & Customer Relationships: Lessons from Market Mummies of Ghana

By | August 29, 2018

How would you differentiate yourself in this informal retail market? Ghanaian market research guru Gerry van Dyke took a closer look at the market ‘mummies’ – Mama Biashara, as we call her – and their consumer marketing techniques in the “non-label environment”. His findings form an excellent foundation for understanding marketing and customer relationships in… Read More »

How do we make a business case for an innovative concept given the data scarcity for the African mass market?

By | March 12, 2018

Anzetse Were writes some thoughtful points on the challenges facing private sector innovation in Kenya, and Africa. Two of her points caught my attention, in particular: With regards to the private sector, an interesting point raised is that innovation targeting it must have a business case for adoption otherwise the innovation won’t be absorbed. Innovation… Read More »

Connectivity, Communication, and Commerce: The 3 Cs of Africa’s Smartphone Led Future

By | February 25, 2018

Recent headlines touted the decline in marketshare being seen by smartphones on the African continent, and the concurrent increase in sales of basic devices. Yet a closer look shows that this shift might only be numerical due to the opening of new markets in heavily populated DR Congo and Ethiopia – first time buyers are… Read More »