Category Archives: Mama Biashara

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, Design Methodology, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Perspective, Research, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , | 1 Response

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

Looking back at 2020 from Mama Mboga’s eyes: The Pandemic as Natural Disaster

I am moved today by my work to look back at this agonizingly long year of separations and losses and delays for peoples around the world. Uncertainty and complexity have both increased, and economic volatility has become the order of the day, regardless of the development status of the region or location. More people in […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Consumer Behaviour, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Frugality, Kenya, Marchés africains, Marketing, Perspective, Retail in Africa, Risk, Scarcity, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, urban, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Half a year, 2020 : The Remote Resilience and Recovery Project

I have umpteen drafts saved, of posts I began writing since the last published one on 29th February this year, and never finished. 2020 has outdone itself in its impact on all of human society, across our entire planet. I have been active on Twitter, where my literature reviews, in service of the pivot I […]

Also posted in Africa, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Design, Ecosystem, Flexibility, Frameworks, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Retail in Africa, rural, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, urban, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kenya’s informal economy clambering on to the information highway through their smartphones

Sometimes cliches are the only way to communicate the sheer breadth and depth of the transformation now undergoing in the informal sectors, such as trade and light manufacturing, thanks to affordable smartphones and data bundles. I began calling it digital and not online yesterday when we discovered many people didn’t recognize the word “online” in […]

Also posted in Africa, Airtime, Biashara Economics, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consumer Behaviour, Emerging Futures, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, jua kali, Kenya, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Africa’s Delivery On Demand Apps are Transforming the Informal Economy

When women in rural Rwanda can buy sanitary napkins and contraceptives, on demand, simply by pushing a few buttons on their phones, you know the digital informal economy is here to stay. And, its not just imported apps and social enterprises pushing this digital commercial activity. The “uberization” of the African informal economy is well […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consommateurs, Consumer Behaviour, Distribution, Ecosystem, Emerging Futures, Flexibility, FMCG, Frameworks, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, Value | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rural Household Financial Management on Irregular Incomes

While all farms are not alike, and scale and variety and geography differs, the pattern of household financial management holds its fundamental logic across continents. As we saw previously, an experienced farmer tends to fall somewhere in between a salaried employee and an odd job labourer in their ability to predict with any reasonable degree […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, ASEAN, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Cattle, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Frameworks, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Livestock, Perspective, Philipines, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Savings, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

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 […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Biashara Economics, Business, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Ghana, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, urban, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How informal financial services can lower the barriers to formal financial inclusion

Around 2 and a half years ago, I was on a short visit to Abidjan, the capital of Cote D’Ivoire as a guest of the African Development Bank. They were holding an innovation weekend for young women and men in the Francophone West African region who were interested in becoming entrepreneurs. David O. Capo Chichi, […]

Also posted in Africa, Afrique francophone, Analysis, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Flexibility, Income, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Retail in Africa, Savings, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, UEMOA | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zambia’s inclusive approach to various sectors in the informal economy is worth noting

The Zambian government most recently announced that they would provide certificates to illegal (artisanal) miners in order to recognize and formalize their activities. In addition, they were being encouraged to form cooperatives – a legally recognized organizational structure – that would permit further benefits to this informal sector. Compared to the challenges Ghana is facing […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Biashara Economics, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Marchés africains, Marketing, Migrant worker, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, urban | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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