Niti Bhan
Founder, Owner, Emerging Futures Lab
Business strategy for informal economy.

Niti brings a multidisciplinary and multicultural perspective to innovation for the informal economies of the emerging markets of the developing world. Growing up as a third culture kid in the ASEAN exposed her to the British and American systems of primary and secondary education whilst her university education in Engineering (Bangalore University), Design (National Institute of Design, India & the Institute of Design, IIT Chicago), and Business (majoring in Strategy at the Katz Graduate School of Business, University of Pittsburgh) gave her the experience of living and working on many continents . Emerging Futures Lab came to life in San Francisco in 2005, operated out of Singapore from 2007 through 2013, and has now put down roots in Finland since 2014. She credits this to discovering the world wide web through Lynx and Pine in 1995 in New Delhi. Read more...

Yacine Bio-Tchane
Project Management
Policy, Governance, Finance, Monitoring & Evaluation

Yacine’s roots are in Francophone West Africa. Her Masters in Development Economics from the London School of Economics, and her undergraduate degree in Economics and Political Science from Rutgers University, together with her schooling in Senegal, demonstrate her facility with languages and cultural systems. She has unique insights on the business needs and professional rigour required for women’s leadership in economic development, particularly in more modest and patriarchal societies. She has an established consulting practice in Cotonou, Benin in policy analysis and development finance.

Rinku Gajera
Human Centered Design and Ethnography
Innovation Planning, Interaction Design, Design Methods

Rinku brings over a decade of experience in practicing human-centred design, planning, ethnographic research, analyzing problems from a systemic perspective, as well as prototyping, iterating and providing context appropriate solutions. Her undergraduate degree from the Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT) University was followed by a stint at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, as Design Associate in the Bamboo and Cane Development Institute to train local artisans on design and new product development. She was awarded a fellowship for her Master's in Human Centred Design, specializing in Innovation Planning, from the Institute of Design, IIT, Chicago. Her work experience began as a User Experience intern in the CEO’s Office at SAP, Palo Alto, when design thinking was being introduced to the entire organization. Most recently she was Research Scientist – Ethnography & Design at Xerox Research Centre, Bangalore, and Interaction Designer at Carefusion (formerly Cardinal Health), San Diego.

Michael Kimani
Fintech R&D
User research and Mobile Innovation

Michael holds a honours degree in Electronic, Electrical & Computer Engineering from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), and is an associate member, CPA (K) specializing in Audit, Accounting & Finance. His personal and professional interests are in fintech, blockchain, digital currency such as bitcoin, as well as alternate currencies in the cash intensive markets of the informal sector. His curiosity and sensitivity make him the ideal user researcher for exploring and discovering opportunities for innovation in new products, services, and business models. His opinion on the future of digital currency and mobile banking in Kenya and East Africa has been requested by the BBC, The Guardian, and at various fintech conferences. He tweets as @pesa_africa

Folake Shoga
Fine Art in Context, Digital Media
Participatory User Research and Communication Design

Folake is a Nigerian artist based in Bristol UK who has won grants and awards for art projects and exhibited nationally and internationally. She has taught practical workshops and run arts projects in installation, film video and animation, and in once-emerging digital technology and so-called New Media. These projects were developed using practices of inclusion such as collaborative research and dialogic process (documentation, diaries and discussion) based on Action Research and Reflective Practitioner principles.

She has a Graphics degree from Northumberland and an MA from UWE in Fine Art in Context, a practice that charges the artist with explicitly negotiating the elements of site, history, audience, memory and communication. Collaborative process and facilitating understanding and engagement are two of her key skills. For family reasons she has divided her time between UK and Nigeria since 2010.