Category Archives: Projects and Reports

Part 4: The visual documentation of the original research on rural economic behaviour

I have uploaded a PDF synopsis of the fieldwork conducted during the original Prepaid Economy research including approach and methodology.  Also documented are the different ways those in the rural economy manage their ‘investments’. These images support the observations documented in Part 2 and my thoughts on rural Indian cow ownership have been fleshed out […]

Also posted in About, Africa, Airtime, Alternative currency, Assumption filter, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Economy, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Livestock, Philipines, Research, Rural Economy, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Part 3: Synthesis and Insights from original research on rural economic behaviour

One can conclude from synthesizing the data collected across the geographies and the range of “BoP” income levels that rural households demonstrated similar patterns of behaviour in their management of household expenses on irregular income streams. These are: the rapid conversion of cash into tangible assets such as goods or livestock, the  subsequent storage of […]

Also posted in Africa, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Livestock, Research, Rural Economy, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Part 2: The Observations made during original research on rural economic behaviour

One can roughly consider the relative income (or wealth) across three regions where observations were conducted on a continuum where the Indian village was the ‘wealthiest’ while the Malawians were living closest to the edge. However, on synthesizing the combined data collected across geographies, patterns of financial behaviour emerged that showed similarities of intention and […]

Also posted in Africa, Alternative currency, Assumption filter, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Economy, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Livestock, Research, Rural Economy, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

Part 1: Why are we publishing our original research on rural economic behaviour in 5 parts online?

A recent article in The Economist on the economic value of owning cattle in rural India made me to realize just how little is understood about the rural economy.  Here’s a snippet: That is because most people find spending easier than saving. Immediate pleasures are easier to grasp than future joys—and so people make spending […]

Also posted in Alternative currency, Assumption filter, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Cashless transactions, Cattle, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Economy, Expenses, Flexibility, Income, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Livestock, Research, rural, Rural Economy, South Asia, Strategy, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflecting on this blog’s genesis after 5 years

I started this blog in late December 2008, in earnest and every day during the first prototype fieldwork for The Prepaid Economy project, one of the iBoP Asia Project’s first batch of Small Grant winners from the ASEAN region. For the first 5 months of 2009, this blog was on the mainpage of my website […]

Also posted in About, Africa, Airtime, ASEAN, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Collection, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Flexibility, global, Income, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Migrant worker, Mobile platform, Philipines, Research, South Asia, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, urban, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Photosets from Kenya feasibility trip

Small clusters of photographs from our recent travels in rural Kenya are up on the The Prepaid Economy: African edition tumblog. Here’s a quick look at: rural Market Days – from Migwani in the east and Kagio in centre;  a collation of formal and informal mass communication styles from wall paintings to billboards; David the […]

Also posted in Africa, Culture, Design, Kenya, Perspective, Photography, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Leave a comment

Impact of mainstreaming and commodification of cyber cafe services

Around 2007, the urban cyber cafe industry began to display signs of maturing as the market saturated and the services specific to internet access underwent a process of commodification.  As it came to be perceived as no different a business than setting up a corner kiosk or hot dog stand, there was a shift in […]

Also posted in Africa, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Cyber cafe series, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Mobile platform, Perspective, Research, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The role of the cyber cafe: Assisted entry ramp onto the information superhighway to use a cliche

Monica’s cyber in the small town of Maai Mahiu, a market for a primarily rural area, is now the only such facility available. There was another cyber on the other side of the main highway, she said, but it closed within its first year of operation.  Internet access in this locale is available only through […]

Also posted in Africa, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Cyber cafe series, Kenya, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Estimating price in unexplored and untapped markets

In addition to estimating the size and value of the Kenyan cyber cafe industry for our client, Village Telco of Cape Town, South Africa, we were tasked with finding out what would people pay for their product, the Mesh Potato. This challenge was the equivalent of walking up to someone and asking: How much would […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Analysis, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Cyber cafe series, Ecosystem, Frameworks, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why prepaid business models work so well for the rural and informal economy

We broke down the basic concept of the ‘pay as you go’ or prepaid mobile plan – in general, discounting the details of the various different strategies and pricing/time plans of different countries as a way to begin understanding what is it about this model that makes it work at the BoP. Could we somehow […]

Also posted in Analysis, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Expenses, Flexibility, Frameworks, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Mobile platform, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment