Category Archives: Design

Pondering sustainable innovation – self sustaining informal industry

I was a panelist on a brainstorming session on “Sustainable Innovation” at the recent Global Women’s Forum meeting I attended in France a couple of weeks ago and an interesting conversation ensued.  While the others tended to take the more mainstream view of sustainable – that is, associated with green, eco-friendly, resource conservation etc – [...]
Also posted in Business, Cross pollination, Kenya, Process, REculture, Research, Systems, UCSD, jua kali | 1 Comment

Isn’t marketing at the intersection of business and design?

Consider the concept of marketing as a discipline emerging from the overlap of business and design. Before going any further, I am referring to the conventional wisdom of associating the word business with such left brain attributes as spreadsheets, metrics, numbers, ROI and targets. And design as a loose term covering the right brain attributes of [...]
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Innovation and Ingenuity under conditions of scarcity – visual presentation from September 30th, 2010

Highly compressed PDF file of the initial visual presentation made from observations in the field in Kenya, August/September 2010. The images are slightly degraded due to compression but the file is still almost 5MB.
Also posted in Business, Cross pollination, Emerging Markets, Engineering, Frugality, Innovation, Kenya, MakerFaire, Prepaid or informal economy, REculture, Research, Scarcity, Technology, Wisdom, jua kali | Leave a comment

Scarcity as a driver for innovation

Frugality and affordability are very much in the news of late, what with the most recent essay on Change Observer and this post on Paul Polak’s new blog both highlighting similar concepts but from the point of view of very different markets. It seems to imply the trend towards frugal design or extremely affordable yet [...]
Also posted in Business, Cross pollination, Emerging Markets, Engineering, Frugality, Innovation, Kenya, MakerFaire, Prepaid or informal economy, REculture, Scarcity, Systems, Technology, jua kali | 3 Comments

All you need are the right tools…

Photocredit: Mikko Koskinen Location: Kitengela Glass Works, Nairobi outskirts, Kenya Date: September 1st, 2010
Also posted in Cross pollination, Engineering, Innovation, Kenya, MakerFaire, Personal, REculture, Research, Wisdom, jua kali | Leave a comment

Transactions at the intersection where the formal meets the informal economy

Taking the basic premise of my previous post one step further, this billboard is a good example of doing business in the “wholly new operating environment” that overlaps the formal and informal (prepaid) economy. As our taxi driver explained, he preferred not to keep large sums on him at the end of the day and put [...]
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Radical transformation at the bottom of the pyramid? Consider doing business with the prepaid economy

I’ve spent the last two days thinking about Rombo’s question on how mobile phone technology might have the power for radical transformation viz., how your time in Kenya which culminated in the workshop, helped enlarge or inform your thinking about the sheer power of this technology, (in the hands of ordinary, non-techie folk), has [...]
Also posted in Business, Cross pollination, Innovation, Kenya, Platforms, Prepaid or informal economy, Systems, Wisdom, jua kali | 1 Comment

Reflecting on the sense of community in Nairobi after the Innovating Mobile services workshop: There is only WE, including You and Me

Just over a week ago, Muchiri Nyaggah of Semacraft undertook the challenge of convening a fantastic group of people for an impromptu workshop in Nairobi, Kenya titled “How to innovate mobile services for the Bottom of the Pyramid“. It was a unique experience for me, one that really turned my perspective on the world today [...]
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If it works in Africa…

Many maker-engineers observed that the Kickstart Moneymaker pump wasn’t as much of a market success in the field as assumed to be so when observing from the outside. Too much human work and effort, in an unergonomic manner leading to many jobs lost as people either resigned or were fired for not wanting to pump [...]
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Original machine design and variations on the theme

The variation uses lighter gauge metal instead of the heavier casting in the original. Note the finish and paintjob.
Also posted in Engineering, Kenya, Process, REculture, Research, jua kali | Leave a comment