Category Archives: Assumption filter

One year anniversary of experimenting with design and innovation tools for vegetable vendors in Nairobi’s slums

By | July 7, 2021

Felix Omondi, our lead innovation facilitator, reminds me today that its the one year anniversary of the first participatory design workshop held with mama mbogas in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s informal settlements. Categorized by us as the “tomato group” of B2C (business to consumer) vegetable vendors (mama mboga in colloquial swahili), these 8 ladies were… Read More »

Strategy Tools for Value Creation by Including Informal Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

By | May 8, 2021

There is a lot to unpack in the title of this post and not all of it might happen here today. Consider this the amuse bouche of my current thinking and writing, with the unexpected side effect of releasing the first faint sounds of music that’s been long hidden in my keyboard. The phrasing of… 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 »

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 »

Disrupting the Default: Must it fall under “development” if the geography is Africa?

By | April 11, 2021

Where does it say that if the geography of the study or innovation or project is in Africa then it must be ‘development’? Is it Tuesday, that it must be Belgium? Will the ‘tyranny of dominant logic’ continue to hold us in thrall regardless of all the massive changes overtaking our world today; including the… Read More »

Effective Toolmaking: Shifting the Mindset Away from that of “Expert”

By | April 7, 2021

The beauty of struggling with words and concepts in order to best articulate them in a manner that reflects one’s lived experience in practice is that one remains true to one’s search for songs of magic regardless of the themes of introspection. This realization has freed me from various self imposed constraints on my use… 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 African Continental Free Trade Agreement and the Age of Interoperability

By | July 15, 2019

I have been writing on cross border mobile financial flows across the African continent since early 2015, when the partnerships and agreements made between African telcos to provide interoperability between their mobile money services first began to hit the headlines. In my last post back in August 2016, I asked if Cross Border Mobile Money… Read More »

Mobile Money and the Informal Economy: A Paradigm Change

By | July 9, 2019

One of the most powerful pieces of data analysis I have come across recently has been the Banque de France’s working paper on the role of financial innovation in the informal economy. In my opinion, the importance of their conclusions are no less than the famous “price of fish” paper of a decade ago –… Read More »