Category Archives: User research

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 […]

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Looking back at 2020 from Mama Mboga’s eyes: The Pandemic as Natural Disaster

I am moved today by my work to look back at this agonizingly long year of separations and losses and delays for peoples around the world. Uncertainty and complexity have both increased, and economic volatility has become the order of the day, regardless of the development status of the region or location. More people in […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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The Research – Practice Gap for African Startups

There is very little literature on business operations management, and product development methodology  that actually helps African SMEs and startups to navigate their own operating environment with its local characteristics. Analysts struggle with frameworks and processes developed in highly industrialized contexts as a means to evaluate the strategies of businesses and solutions with local or […]

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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 […]

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The Perfect Storm: A Continent, A Phone, A Business Model

In the mid 1990s, in a small city in northern Finland, engineers and designers began work on the product development of a mobile phone that would eventually become one of the best selling Nokia models ever – the 3310, released in Europe and the Far East in the year 2000. The continent of Africa was […]

Also posted in Africa, African Consumer Market, Afrique francophone, Airtime, Analysis, Articles on Design and Innovation, Base of the Pyramid, Biashara Economics, Business Models, Cashless transactions, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consommateurs, Consumer Behaviour, Design, Economy, Ecosystem, Emerging Futures, Emerging Markets, Flexibility, global, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Mobile platform, perfect storm, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Rural Economy, South Africa, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Kenya’s informal economy clambering on to the information highway through their smartphones

Sometimes cliches are the only way to communicate the sheer breadth and depth of the transformation now undergoing in the informal sectors, such as trade and light manufacturing, thanks to affordable smartphones and data bundles. I began calling it digital and not online yesterday when we discovered many people didn’t recognize the word “online” in […]

Also posted in Africa, Airtime, Biashara Economics, Commerce en ligne (e-commerce), Consumer Behaviour, Emerging Futures, Informal & Flexible, Innovation Planning, jua kali, Kenya, Mama Biashara, Marketing, Mobile platform, Perspective, Platforms, Prepaid Economy & Informal Sector, Research, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Technology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The Quiet Digital Revolution: Indigenous Innovation in Intelligent Information Systems

Big data, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are the buzzwords of the day, along with the obligatory blockchain and bitcoin. Much is being written on their potential to solve Africa’s problems, or India’s challenges. In turn, each has been promoted as the next big thing to address poverty and its discontents. Yet, we note, that […]

Also posted in Assumption filter, Cattle, Design, Ecosystem, India, Innovation Planning, Kenya, Livestock, Perspective, Research, rural, Rural Economy, Strategy, Sub Saharan Africa, Systems, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What happens when the informal economy is not criminalized? : Case of Hargeisa, Somaliland

In Hargeisa, the role of the informal economy during and after conflict has been vital to conflict prevention and peace-building. A recently released report by Cardiff University and Somaliland research partners on their work related to the role of urban informal economies in conflict zones offers us perspective from another angle. A little thin on […]

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