Category Archives: Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector

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

By | August 25, 2021

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… Read More »

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

By | May 1, 2021

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… Read More »

IMD Case Study – how Mpesa’s adoption transformed Safaricom

By | April 26, 2021

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… Read More »

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

By | April 25, 2021

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:… Read More »

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

By | April 23, 2021

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… Read More »

Closing the Circle: Can integration of the flows in the post consumption ecosystem of Global North & South aid resilient recovery for all?

By | November 30, 2020

It was in July 2009 that I first attempted to visualize the significantly large subsector of informal recycling that fed the informal industrial ecosystem with re-processed ‘raw’ materials for their manufacturing output. The first draft was based on what I’d seen and documented in The Philippines, and in India, during the fieldwork for the ‘prepaid… Read More »

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

By | August 8, 2020

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… Read More »

From Flat to Fragmented: Observing the Impact of Sudden Jump in Complexity on Startup’s Development Journey

By | February 24, 2020

With increasing diversity of factors that impact the product development journey comes increasing complexity in managing the product development process. For startups in particular, there is little difference between the startup’s development journey and the product development journey. Consider the phases of the startup development journey as illustrated by StartupCommons below: Validation and Growth phases… Read More »

Less Technologically Advanced Societies are not necessarily backward or primitive: Assume at your own risk

By | December 26, 2019

This illustration by Jeroen Meijer of Jam Visueldenken of Amsterdam, The Netherlands, was created for our team during a workshop to capture the insights from a feasibility study on agritech we had completed for the Dutch government’s sustainable agricultural value chain development at Wageningen University’s Economic Research unit back in mid 2013. I’m pulling it… 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 »