Category Archives: Income

Time to acknowledge the social cost of mobile and apps driven disruption

From Lagos, Nigeria comes this moving human interest story that looks at the downside of modern technology and it’s impact on livelihoods. For those who must hustle to make a living, send the kids to school, or put food on the table, smartphone driven digitization of the services they used to provide are disrupting their […]

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Fundamental Elements of Informal Sector Commercial Activity

There are two key elements which underpin the dynamics of any business or commercial enterprise in the informal sector. These are Time and Money. A generalized framework can be diagrammed, as shown above, where the dotted line denotes the degree of uncertainty and volatility of an individual’s cash flow patterns – whether from a variety […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Analysis, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, global, Informal & Flexible, Migrant worker, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Projects and Reports, Research, Risk, Rural Economy, South Asia, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Financial Behaviour Patterns Observed Among Households in Rural Informal Economy in Asia

This is the original working paper of the research conducted on rural household financial management, in developing country conditions, pioneering the use of methods from human centered design for discovery, during Nov 2008 to March 2009, aka the Prepaid Economy Project. It was peer reviewed by Brett Hudson Matthews, and I have incorporated his comments into […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Airtime, Alternative currency, Analysis, ASEAN, Assumption filter, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Cattle, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, global, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Livestock, Marchés africains, Marketing, Migrant worker, Mobile platform, Philipines, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Projects and Reports, Research, Retail in Africa, Risk, rural, Rural Economy, Savings, Scarcity, South Asia, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Frame Insights: Going back to first principles in the Innovation Planning Process

After conducting research, we need to bring structure to what has been found and learned. We sort, cluster, and organize the data gathered and begin to find important patterns. We analyze contextual data and view patterns that point to untapped market opportunities or niches. Finding insights and patterns that repeatedly emerge from multiple analyses of […]

Also posted in Analysis, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Prepaid Mobile: The Business Model that Empowers

It feels like a long time since I last pondered the nuances of the prepaid business model, until I came across some words written by Indian social media researcher Swati Janu. She documented her observations on the infrastructure of insecurity from the tenements of New Delhi.  There’s value in reflecting on how our understanding only […]

Also posted in Airtime, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Economy, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, India, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How the African movable assets bill can unleash innovation opportunities for the rural economy

As Kenya joins Zambia and Zimbabwe in ratifying a Movable Property Security Rights Act, there’s a sense that the floodgates to innovation in access to finance might be taking place in rural Africa, south of the Sahara and north of South Africa. Kenya’s law also goes beyond the cows and goats and allows a borrower […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Alternative currency, Biashara Economics, Business, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Cattle, Consumer Behaviour, Design, East African Community, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Livestock, Loans, Mama Biashara, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Research, Risk, Rural Economy, Scarcity, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Tanzania, Technology, UCSD, Uganda, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Signs of Interdependency between the Formal and the Informal Economy

There is a lot to be unpacked here – I made a mindmap of the urban African entrepreneur who is the backbone of the visible emergence of a consumer class. I’m drawing from my experience of the Kenyan context. I started this in response to Michael Kimani’s Storify recently on the mythical “middle class” and […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Assumption filter, Biashara Economics, Consumer Behaviour, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Marchés africains, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, urban, User research | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Unforeseen outcomes of India’s demonetization shine light on the value of our design philosophy

Latest news on India’s demonetization informs us how the rural economy is bearing the brunt of this initiative. The action was intended to target wealthy tax evaders and end India’s “shadow economy”, but it has also exposed the dependency of poor farmers and small businesses on informal credit systems in a country where half the […]

Also posted in Analysis, Assumption filter, Banking, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Frameworks, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Research, Rural Economy, South Asia, Strategy, Systems, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

Insights on the psychology of cash money – Demonetization vs Financial Inclusion

The flurry of commentary on the Great Indian Demonetization of November 2016 has thrown up some nuggets of insight worth considering more deeply. Santosh Desai explores the psychology of cash money in the Times of India blog, linking the need for tangible evidence of income to physical labour, as opposed to those of us with […]

Also posted in Alternative currency, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Cashless transactions, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Mobile platform, Perspective, Risk, Savings, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Detailed breakdown of Uber’s business model in Kenya puts spotlight on weaknesses

Latiff Cherono has just published an indepth analysis of what exactly it takes for an Uber driver in Nairobi to cover the cost of doing business. Here’s a snippet, In this post, I try to understand the root cause of the disconnect between how the customer (who defines the value), Uber (the service that controls […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Design, East African Community, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, Uganda, urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment