Category Archives: Design

Revisiting Design Thinking: Pondering the process and principles

I have not written on design thinking in more than a decade. The era when I’d be cited in Fast Company or Rita Sue Siegel’s handbook on Industrial Design careers is long gone. Which one of these definitions should I use going forward? “Design thinking in business takes this problem solving aspect one step further […]

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A change of perspective and a whole new set of metaphors (Czarniawska, 2008)

“…each excursion into another field of knowledge brings with it things that were embedded in a different type of soil, and it is inevitable that particles of that soil are still clinging to the roots, practically invisible to the new owner. Additionally, a re-embedding into the new soil could produce deviations and hybrids that are […]

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Infrastructures of inclusion and informality: who drives the design of sociotechnical systems?

A recent Debate (Development and Change, Vol 52, No. 4) on the infrastructures of inclusion, informality and the social contract expands the notion of infrastructure beyond the tangible and the technological, to the systemic and economic, as well as societal structures and processes that are intended to facilitate inclusion. As Kate Meagher says in her […]

Also posted in Innovation Planning, Literature review, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology, Value | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

Is it still design that we’re doing or is it simply using the designer’s toolkit?

It was sometime in the Spring of 2002 that I was looking for a metaphorical space that would accommodate me – an engineer, an MBA, with graduate product design education and the sensibilities and eye of a designer. I’d spent the year on a Heinz Foundation Fellowship after my MBA to train with Dr Chris […]

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Understanding Delegation

Less than 10 days ago, I was faced with an unusual problem, one of those which they say are good problems to have.  I found I’d reached the point in my process of development where I had to choose between the perspective held over from a past life along with the skills honed therein, where […]

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One year anniversary of experimenting with design and innovation tools for vegetable vendors in Nairobi’s slums

Felix Omondi, our lead innovation facilitator, reminds me today that its the one year anniversary of the first participatory design workshop held with mama mbogas in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s informal settlements. Categorized by us as the “tomato group” of B2C (business to consumer) vegetable vendors (mama mboga in colloquial swahili), these 8 ladies were […]

Also posted in Africa, Assumption filter, Design Methodology, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Mama Biashara, Perspective, Research, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

Time to update the 5D’s framework for inclusive business design after 12 years

Two things have happened since I first published The 5D’s of BoP Marketing: Touchpoints for a holistic, human-centered strategy in Core77 back in January 2009. One, Core77 overhauled their site design and broke my article rather badly. Its layout and formatting makes it virtually incomprehensible. On the other hand, the 5Ds framework has apparently held […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Base of the Pyramid, Consumer Behaviour, Emerging Markets, Frameworks, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Marketing, Perspective, Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Contextualizing design of remote interventions for local food systems resilience strategies in literature

I began my academic explorations on this blog a couple of months ago with a post on the power of sensemaking to transform the context and frame of reference, and thus provide a means for empowering one to make decisions for a decidedly unknown near future, where increased uncertainty and volatility have become the norm. […]

Also posted in East African Community, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Literature review, Mama Biashara, Perspective, Process, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, waymarkers, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Situating sensemaking in the process of innovation

“the bottom-line goal of Sense-Making from its inception has been to find out what users – audiences, customers, patrons, employees – ‘really’ think, feel, want, dream” (Dervin, 1998) Morente & Ferràs (2018) paper, based on the practical and theoretical contributions of Brenda Dervin’s Sense-Making Theory (2015), provided me with this quoted reference that set me […]

Also posted in Design Methodology, Innovation Planning, Literature review, Perspective, Research, User research, waymarkers, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Response

Exploratory User Research to Inform and Inspire Innovation Frontiers: Nokia’s legacy

Swedberg (2020) offers a glimpse of the legacy of an exploratory approach to research. The reasons for using such an approach, based on his analysis, are: The empirical situation makes it necessary to use an exploratory approach. Swedberg (2020) gives the example of a study conducted in 1937 by Lazarsfeld & Stouffer on the effects […]

Also posted in Design Methodology, Emerging Futures, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Literature review, Mobile platform, Perspective, User research, waymarkers, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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