In 2007, I was the Closing Plenary speaker for the CHI2007 25th Anniversary conference in San Jose, CA. Today, I look back at the last 15 years of the “mobile as a post industrial platform for bottom of pyramid and emerging markets” conceptual working space, and find myself ready to move on to a new one. The story of Africa’s emergence as a mobile digital player in its own right can be seen from its world domination in prepaid airtime market size and earnings to its pioneering global leadership in mobile money and payments. One does not need a smartphone in Africa to connect to the rest of the world. And, so, ends an era of early stage discovery and understanding of a complex adaptive system that incorporates digital devices but is not dependent on them for business development.
I know what I am doing next. But you’ll have to wait to read the dissertation.