Category Archives: Work in Progress

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

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 […]

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Resilience of informal urban food systems: Does a systems thinking approach make a difference?

Sterk, van de Leemput, and Peeters (2017) help me start off this sensemaking exercise by clearly distinguishing the difference between engineering resilience and ecological resilience with respect to a system. This was useful to establish the direction of exploration for informal urban food systems. Specifically, Sterk et al (2017) state that ‘engineering’ resilience  focuses on […]

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Contextualizing design of remote interventions for local food systems resilience strategies in literature

I began my academic explorations on this blog a couple of months ago with a post on the power of sensemaking to transform the context and frame of reference, and thus provide a means for empowering one to make decisions for a decidedly unknown near future, where increased uncertainty and volatility have become the norm. […]

Also posted in Design, East African Community, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Literature review, Mama Biashara, Perspective, Process, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, waymarkers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Situating sensemaking in the process of innovation

“the bottom-line goal of Sense-Making from its inception has been to find out what users – audiences, customers, patrons, employees – ‘really’ think, feel, want, dream” (Dervin, 1998) Morente & Ferràs (2018) paper, based on the practical and theoretical contributions of Brenda Dervin’s Sense-Making Theory (2015), provided me with this quoted reference that set me […]

Also posted in Design, Design Methodology, Innovation Planning, Literature review, Perspective, Research, User research, waymarkers | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Response

Exploratory User Research to Inform and Inspire Innovation Frontiers: Nokia’s legacy

Swedberg (2020) offers a glimpse of the legacy of an exploratory approach to research. The reasons for using such an approach, based on his analysis, are: The empirical situation makes it necessary to use an exploratory approach. Swedberg (2020) gives the example of a study conducted in 1937 by Lazarsfeld & Stouffer on the effects […]

Also posted in Design, Design Methodology, Emerging Futures, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Literature review, Mobile platform, Perspective, User research, waymarkers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflecting on Béné’s review of important concepts for local food systems resilience in context of systemic shocks

Béné’s (May, 2020) review last year of the most important concepts for thinking about resilience of local food systems, in context of the pandemic and other shocks provides frameworks for situating empirical data on the resilience strategies employed by informal economic actors in the last mile of Nairobi’s urban food system specializing in fresh produce […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, Biashara Economics, East African Community, Economy, Frameworks, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Literature review, Perspective, waymarkers | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reflections on Kate Meagher’s work

Meagher’s work (1990) clearly demonstrates that what I would go on to see 25 years later at the borderland of Uganda and Kenya, she had already seen at the borderland of Uganda and then Zaire (now DRC). Possibly the only difference in our interpretation and narratives is due to our own positional frame of reference […]

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Literature as Waymarkers: A New Series of Shorter Posts

Yesterday’s post was almost 2000 words long, I might as well just send it off to a journal. To find a compromise between the facilitation of thinking and writing that blogging offers me, and an optimal length of writing and extracting content references, I’m exploring a new approach. It fits where I’m at now in […]

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Strategy Tools for Value Creation by Including Informal Entrepreneurial Ecosystems

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 […]

Also posted in Africa, Assumption filter, Base of the Pyramid, Design, East African Community, Economy, global, Literature review, Perspective, Research, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Can Africa’s Informal Trade Ecosystems Provide Lessons for Navigating Uncertainty and Volatility in the post Pandemic World?

It is virtually impossible today to consider emerging markets without taking into consideration the vastly different operating environment of the majority of the countries in the global South. As the map, based on GSMA data, above shows clearly in bright red and blue, the clearest indication of this difference is in the way mobile telephony […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Airtime, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, Informal & Flexible, Mobile platform, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Strategy | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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