Africa is the home of innovation.Lately you get the feeling that this is driven by the innovations centered around mobile usage and the growing mobile wallets that transact multiple times above the GDP of the nations they are hosted in.
I love the Fintech space, because we get to call our sector a space, and generate lots of new buzzwords like Silicon Savannah. Facebook, Airbnb, Uber, Mpesa, are all sexy businesses with millions of users. More importantly they are billion dollar businesses. They generate endless media excitement, and the executives who run them get to dictate what’s cool, whats hip.
Innovation has come to be associated with technology. But its short-sighted to think that the only innovation in a market revolves around mobile money services. Yes they are revolutionary, they are game changers, and they are changing the ways in which Africans transact and conduct business.
But there are myriads of creative expressions happening around us, everyday. Sometimes you need to look outside of your own industry to get into the nuts and bolts of creativity. Spend time asking how do the things you take for granted, work.
Recently i heard about a new brand of chicken on the market. Its driven by a farmer who has about 85 out-growers in small co-operatives and how they are boosting the farmers production capacity to ensure growth in their margins per chicken. When you sit on your dinner table tonight, imagine this, some farmer somewhere is calculating how to grow their profit per chick from 0.30cts to 0.50cts through the kinds of feeding and care they implement on their farms.
Innovation mostly comes from small organisations looking to change the way in which they serve their customers. Its enabled by a growth mindset, a continual search to do better than yesterday. Next time you see news about mobile money providers and their innovative “new” idea skip that. They are most likely implementing whats already been done in another market.
The real innovation is happening everyday in the ways we interact with each other, in small companies trying to gain a foothold in markets previously unknown. Changing rules daily, shaping opinions at the base of the market, if you listen keenly your next break-through idea could just come from a taxi ride to Domboshava!