Category Archives: Projects and Reports

Introduction to rural household energy consumption behaviour in East Africa (1 of 3 parts)

The following is extracted from a six month study during 2012 on household energy consumption behaviour in rural Kenya and Rwanda among the lower income demographic, that led to an understanding of some of barriers hampering the sales of client’s solar products in this market. This first part is an overview of household financial management […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Design, East African Community, Frugality, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, jua kali, Kenya, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Retail in Africa, rural, Rural Economy, Scarcity, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology, UCSD, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Response

TEDTalk video: Recognizing the value creation and economic contribution of the informal economy

My talk given at the TEDGlobal conference in Arusha, this August, went live on Ted.com at some point during the night a couple of days ago. At that very moment, I was on a Finnair flight from SIN to HEL, so with a wee bit of delay, here’s the link to the video of the […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Frameworks, global, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Mama Biashara, Marchés africains, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, UCSD, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fundamental Elements of Informal Sector Commercial Activity

There are two key elements which underpin the dynamics of any business or commercial enterprise in the informal sector. These are Time and Money. A generalized framework can be diagrammed, as shown above, where the dotted line denotes the degree of uncertainty and volatility of an individual’s cash flow patterns – whether from a variety […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Analysis, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, global, Income, Informal & Flexible, Migrant worker, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Risk, Rural Economy, South Asia, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Work in Progress: An Introduction to the Informal Economy’s Commercial Environment

This topic is being shared in the form of a collection of essays on the following themes, each becoming hyperlinked on completion. Do bookmark this page for regular updates. Introduction to Background and Context, some caveats apply Fundamental Elements of Informal Sector Commercial Activity Rural household financial management as a foundation Linkages and Networks span […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Collection, Consumer Behaviour, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Frameworks, global, Informal & Flexible, Mama Biashara, Marchés africains, Mobile platform, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Savings, South Asia, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, UCSD, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Financial Behaviour Patterns Observed Among Households in Rural Informal Economy in Asia

This is the original working paper of the research conducted on rural household financial management, in developing country conditions, pioneering the use of methods from human centered design for discovery, during Nov 2008 to March 2009, aka the Prepaid Economy Project. It was peer reviewed by Brett Hudson Matthews, and I have incorporated his comments into […]

Also posted in African Consumer Market, Airtime, Alternative currency, Analysis, ASEAN, Assumption filter, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Cattle, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Frameworks, global, Income, India, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Livestock, Marchés africains, Marketing, Migrant worker, Mobile platform, Philipines, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Produits de grande consommation (FMCG), Research, Retail in Africa, Risk, rural, Rural Economy, Savings, Scarcity, South Asia, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Comprehensive Analysis of the Literature on Informal Cross Border Trade in East Africa

Download the comprehensive literature review (PDF) on informal cross border trade, in the context of the informal economy of the East African Community, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. This paper was supported by TradeMark East Africa during the period November 2015 to January 2016. A short extract from the preamble is given […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Design, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Literature review, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, Sub Saharan Africa, Tanzania, Uganda | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Launching Our Digital Documentation Project: Ibadan’s Tailors, Traders, and Textiles by Nigerian/British artist Folake Shoga

After months of hard work, I am very honoured and proud to announced our new digital documentation project by my friend Folake Shoga, a Nigerian/British multidisciplinary artist with more than three decades of experience. She went on a journey of discovery through the twists and turns of the informal value web that holds together West […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Biashara Economics, Business, Consommateurs, Consumer Behaviour, Culture, Design, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Fashionomics, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Mama Biashara, Marchés africains, Marketing, Nigeria, Perspective, Photography, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Retail in Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Innovation, Ingenuity and Opportunity under Conditions of Scarcity (Download PDF)

In July 2009, I was inspired by working in the Research wing of the Aalto University’s Design Factory in Espoo, Finland, to launch a group blog called REculture: Exploring the post-consumption economy of repair, reuse, repurpose and recycle by informal businesses at the Base of the Pyramid*. Within a year, this research interest evolved into […]

Also posted in Africa, Design, Innovation Planning, jua kali, Kenya, Perspective, Photography, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Scarcity, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology, UCSD, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Borderland Biashara: Mapping the Cross Border, National and Regional Trade in the East African Informal Economy

And, we’re back! With apologies for the long delay in posting on the blog, we’d been busy wrapping up our groundbreaking design research for development programming project for Trade Mark East Africa this past month or so. As you can imagine, the last few weeks of any project suck all the bandwidth out and leave […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, Base of the Pyramid, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Frameworks, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Literature review, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Process, Research, Retail in Africa, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Introduction to Human Centered Design for Policy Makers in International Development

I’m making available the article based on our work with the Dutch government a couple of years ago. Download PDF

Also posted in About, Africa, Assumption filter, China, Design, Frameworks, Innovation Planning, Literature review, Perspective, Research, Rural Economy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, UCSD, User research | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment