Category Archives: Technology

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 »

Will Africans lead innovation in resilience tech for sustainable lifestyles on a shoestring?

By | May 14, 2021

A Tanzanian startup offering a smart hydroponics kit for urban farming in limited spaces that costs around $500. Reading about the system yesterday – invented by founders Praygod Japhet and Dickson Mallya – I was moved to create a hashtag #resiliencetech on Twitter. Something about the topic made me feel that I should be keeping… 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 »

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 »

Theoretical background for contextualizing User Agency in Participatory Processes

By | April 12, 2021

Scandinavian participatory design practices are not distinguished by particular methods but rather by political commitments to societal concerns and relationships with participating users and communities. Pelle Ehn writes:`In the interest of emancipation, we deliberately made the choice of siding with workers and their organisations, supporting the development of their resources for a change towards democracy… 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 »

Coronavirus side-effect: Transformation of China’s business models, logistics, and service delivery

By | February 29, 2020

Just the way the SARs epidemic kicked off China’s e-commerce revolution back in 2003, the ongoing COVID-19 containment strategies maybe triggering an even larger transformation of the Chinese economic ecosystem. I went looking today for the earliest signals of what might be underway. Rural China is facing the biggest challenge right now as the spring… 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 »

The Research – Practice Gap for African Startups

By | November 9, 2019

There is very little literature on business operations management, and product development methodology  that actually helps African SMEs and startups to navigate their own operating environment with its local characteristics. Analysts struggle with frameworks and processes developed in highly industrialized contexts as a means to evaluate the strategies of businesses and solutions with local or… Read More »