Category Archives: Systems

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 […]

Also posted in Literature review, Perspective, Research, waymarkers, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Will Africans lead innovation in resilience tech for sustainable lifestyles on a shoestring?

A Tanzanian startup offering a smart hydroponics kit for urban farming in limited spaces that costs around $500. Reading about the system yesterday – invented by founders Praygod Japhet and Dickson Mallya – I was moved to create a hashtag #resiliencetech on Twitter. Something about the topic made me feel that I should be keeping […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, East African Community, Emerging Futures, Emerging Markets, Innovation Planning, Mobile platform, Perspective, Sub Saharan Africa, Tanzania, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sensemaking in extreme conditions for enhancing resilience: Literature Review

Here, I want to explore themes of resilience and sensemaking together in extreme conditions. For now, I have considered the systemic shock of the global pandemic as an increase in volatility, complexity, and uncertainty of operating conditions, from the perspective of the informal urban food system in Nairobi, Kenya. Therefore I have deliberately excluded literature […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, Biashara Economics, Business, Flexibility, Indigenous & Traditional, Informal & Flexible, Kenya, Literature review, Perspective, Research, Retail in Africa, Risk, Sub Saharan Africa, urban, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is a business inclusive if its doing business in rural Africa? Why modeling economic capacity matters

Whether a business thinks of itself as inclusive or not, it must consider the sustainability of revenue streams and their expected duration, prior to committing themselves to infrastructural investments in rural locations of the global South. Those that position themselves as inclusive businesses – regardless of size, must consider the value being created for their […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Consumer Behaviour, Distribution, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Markets, Income, Informal & Flexible, Literature review, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, rural, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research, Work in Progress | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Theoretical background for contextualizing User Agency in Participatory Processes

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 […]

Also posted in Africa, Analysis, Assumption filter, Design, Design Methodology, Frameworks, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Literature review, Mobile platform, Perspective, Research, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Closing the Circle: Can integration of the flows in the post consumption ecosystem of Global North & South aid resilient recovery for all?

It was in July 2009 that I first attempted to visualize the significantly large subsector of informal recycling that fed the informal industrial ecosystem with re-processed ‘raw’ materials for their manufacturing output. The first draft was based on what I’d seen and documented in The Philippines, and in India, during the fieldwork for the ‘prepaid […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, China, Consumer Behaviour, East African Community, Economy, Ecosystem, Frugality, Ghana, global, India, Informal & Flexible, jua kali, Kenya, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Retail in Africa, Senegal, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Tanzania, Technology, Uganda, User research | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Half a year, 2020 : The Remote Resilience and Recovery Project

I have umpteen drafts saved, of posts I began writing since the last published one on 29th February this year, and never finished. 2020 has outdone itself in its impact on all of human society, across our entire planet. I have been active on Twitter, where my literature reviews, in service of the pivot I […]

Also posted in Africa, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Design, Ecosystem, Flexibility, Frameworks, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Mama Biashara, Marketing, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Retail in Africa, rural, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, urban, User research, Value | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

From Flat to Fragmented: Observing the Impact of Sudden Jump in Complexity on Startup’s Development Journey

With increasing diversity of factors that impact the product development journey comes increasing complexity in managing the product development process. For startups in particular, there is little difference between the startup’s development journey and the product development journey. Consider the phases of the startup development journey as illustrated by StartupCommons below: Validation and Growth phases […]

Also posted in Articles on Design and Innovation, Design, Ecosystem, Education, Emerging Markets, Frameworks, global, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Projects and Reports, Research, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Is Design Prepared to be Responsible?

Last week, I was invited to join a 60 strong group of pan African thinkers in law, human rights, gender, debt and related issues to convene in Nairobi to explore the concept of predatory lending now being delivered direct to your handheld device. As a human centered designer, I was rocked back on my heels […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Airtime, Banking, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business, Business Models, Design, Ecosystem, Innovation Planning, Perspective, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Rural Economy, Strategy, Technology, User research | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The legacy of Uber’s business model and app will outlive the company in Africa

As news of Uber’s possible decline and fall filters in, it behooves me to take a moment to ponder the implications for sub Saharan Africa’s digital economic ecosystem, particularly the decentralized hybrid one emerging among the erstwhile informal sectors of the economy, such as motorcycle taxis and other on demand services. While Uber itself has […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Analysis, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Frameworks, Innovation Planning, Marchés africains, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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