TOWARDS A CO-CREATIVE WORLD one mobile entrepreneurship lab at a time

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These slides have been used to support my talk at Africa Gathering London, on the 15th of June 2012. …

These slides have been used to support my talk at Africa Gathering London, on the 15th of June 2012.
There, I discussed about how to foster people take an active role in their societies by producing innovative web and mobile services that are relevant for their communities, regions, nations.
Given the audience and the experience that the Web Foundation has in Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and other countries, I discussed specifically about innovation hotspots in Africa.
I also decided to share some of the things we learnt in the past 2 years of our work, and what needs to be done.

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  • This is a great deck Franco! Lovely concept and idea - im super interested in this please keep me updated with your progression
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  • Good afternoon everyone. I would like to talk about how we can make the world a truly co-creative space, and foster people drive the direction in which their societies can go. -- 2) Focusing on the generative or "co-creative" nature of the web - empower more people, especially those in developing countries who are marginalised within dominant forms of cultural, economic and social production, to create and collaborate online to drive the direction in which their communities and society can go and to fulfill their own ambitions. We like this approach because it seems to go against the mainstream trends of "making the internet useful" whether for health, for education, for transparency or whatever, instead it's taking a gamble on "co-creativity" being an inherently transformative force that's valuable for its own sake. 
  • 09/11/11 I am Franco Papeschi, and I work at the Web Foundation. In Case you don’t know us, the Web Foundation is the NGO created by the inventor of the Web, Sir Tim Berners Lee, with the goal of using such technology to have a truly positive impact on society.
  • This means extending the access to the information and services that are available on the web to marginalised populations, like these farmers in Rural Mali. And we do this by developing voiced-based services for agricultural information, citizen journalism and other areas of application.
  • But this also means extending the number of creators and builders of the web, so that people in Liberia or Kenya or Ghana for example can produce services that are relevant to their local communities, and therefore create value for them, for their users and for the web in general. We want to facilitate the growth of a new generation of techno-creative young people that can create not necessarily the new Google of Africa, but some innovative mid-size company. We want – ultimately - to empower more people, to drive the direction in which their communities and society can go and to fulfill their own ambitions.
  • So, 2 years ago we have launched the Mobile Entrepreneurship Initiative. 09/11/11
  • We focus on mobile, well you know why, I hope. It’s THE technology that allows – especially in developping countries – to reach the broadest population. In Africa, 53% of the population have a mobile subscription. 09/11/11
  • We focus on young Entrepreners, because they are the risk-takers, the ones that can flexibly experiment and create new services. And they are the economic fabric of these countries anyway. 09/11/11
  • In the past 2 years we have lanuched Mobile Entrepreneurship Labs in Ghana and Kenya and we have done some activities in Senegal.
  • The approach is way broader than your typical co-working space, or incubator. This is because we don’t only need to make one company succeed. We need to create an industry there! So we take people with passion, some ideas and a bit of technical skills (or entrepreneurial expertise), and the end of the process we have startups that produce services accessbile through web and – more importantly – mobile (think SMS, mobile web,…)
  • 09/11/11 And we are already having some success: Think Alloysius, one of the trainees in Ghana. In our program he created Farmerline, the helpline for farmers. He started it last year, and it’s already getting recognition and interest and recognition at many different levels. -- Farmerline is a mobile and web-based system that furnishes farmers and investors with relevant agro industry content to improve productivity and increase income. Farmerline bridges the information gap between rural farmers and agro-industry sources in two ways: The voice forum : This feature allows farmers to ask questions by calling a toll free helpline (short code). The extension officers are able to answer the questions via a web interface and answers sent to farmers as voice sms. Farmers are also able to browse through questions and answers by other farmers using the system. The voice-based feature (voice forum) also overcomes the difficulties faced by those unable to read or write, greatly improving their knowledge of good farming practices, access to agro inputs and the ability to forecast the demand of agriculture products. Automated sms Alerts : The SMS will include advice on tackling pests or diseases, agricultural techniques, optimum times to plant crops, available subsidies, as well as weather forecasts, local fairs and crop prices.  Using mobile phone to increase access to expert agricultural information has the advantage of providing real-time support, and could be a more cost-effective way of distributing updates as well as complementing or reinforcing other sources of information that help farmers such as introducing new farming practices, securing better prices for crops and increasing the productivity of farms improves communities’ standard of living. It also helps to save farmers time, making it possible to supplement their income with other employment opportunities. Also, by analyzing the calls, the Farmerline platform will help agricultural specialists and research organizations build a more accurate picture of the challenges rural people face and the trends in agriculture. Farmerline will also aid the Ghana Agro-Input Dealers Association in the execution of their duty. This association was formed to recognize and support agro-chemical dealers who have undergone extensive training programs in the proper marketing and use of quality inputs. Farmerline won the first and third position in the Mobile Web Ghana Competition and Apps4africa Climate Change Competition organized by the US Department of State respectively.
  • 09/11/11 Or the guys at Shimba technologies, who produced MedAfrica, an SMS, featurephone and smartphone application to provide a first support to all those people in Kenya who cannot have immediate and direct access to one of the 7000 doctors in the country. They are incubated in our lab in kenya, because they needed to define their business model and identify which engines of growth they could use. --- medAfrica from Kenyan startup Shimab is a phone-based medical reference and real-time public health tool meant to dramatically increase the well being of Kenyans, and eventually people throughout the developing world. Similar in many ways to Indian company mDhil, the smart phone version of the app allows a sick individual to check his or her symptoms against an encyclopedia of ailments, such as fever, swelling or other maladies, and the tool will allow them to call a relevant medical professional with a single click.   There are 40 million people in Kenya, and only 7,000 doctors nationwide. There’s too much knowledge locked up in too few heads, as co-founder Mbugua Njihia quipped from the stage during his presentation. Their app helps to narrow this knowledge gap in many important ways. And while smart phone penetration is steadily rising throughout Kenya and Africa as a whole, the real power comes from medAfrica’s ability to deliver health information to remote areas through the use of SMS.
  • 09/11/11 Or like Ben and the other guys of Kopo Kopo. They started this mobile money suite for micro-enterprises in between Nairobi and the USA, and we helped them change strategy, and work on innovative models for engaging customers and users. -- You remember MPESA? OK, so MPESA helped solving a problem: person-to-person money transfer for under-banked, and eWallet services. Once you have that, what do you think you need? Payments to SMEs. And for SMEs the possibility to get a better understanding and engagements with their clients. So now many solutions are popping up to try and solve this new need. Kopo Kopo is one of them. Kopo Kopo is a software-as-a-service mobile payment gateway for small and medium sized enterprises in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is available on a pay-as-you-go basis A strong new ecosystem is now active in these countries, with different actors that have transformed a rather stiff financial sector Kopo Kopo Payments for small businesses Customer engagement tools Payment analysis & archive
  • 09/11/11 But we are not here to brag about how cool these people are. We are here because in our journey we have failed and made a lots of mistakes, which are helping us understand better what to do next. So, given the time, 3 things we learnt
  • The communities emerging from the hubs are a good starting point. Probably not the only one but still a good one. But if we want to facilitate the creation of relevant services – and really make people become co-creators of their societies . This is not enough. That’s the reason we started these labs, which enrich the hubs and really have an impact. 09/11/11
  • First: to maximise the number of successful services the key competence we have seen missing is not the technical one. It’s the series of practices that is usually called Product Development: discovering needs, transforning it into a solid idea, building a buisness model around it, persisting through difficult times and changing strategy when things go wrong. We don’t need training or competitions. We need extremely long bootcamps
  • Second: thi is a map that shows the density of ICT companies in the world. In the Silicon Valley, New York, Boston and Europe the density of companies make sure that lessons are shared, and that there is a safety net for risky behaviours. In Africa this potential is still untapped. If you feel like there are too many co-working spaces and incubators, too many startups doing similar things, you are looking it the wrong way. The denser the space is, the more co-creation happens, the more innovation happens.
  • Third: it’s not just the ICT industry here. Every council, institution, community should become involved to a certain extent. We have seen too many self-referential efforts.
  • 09/11/11 So, among the other things, this is what we think is still needed
  • Second: we need more tools for collaborationg and sharing across labs. So we are building a portal for labs and entrepreneurs. It’s called SWITCH, it’s in beta at the moment. And it’s something that we’d like you to help us building. 09/11/11
  • Third: not many people are focusing on identifying the policies that facilitate this At local, national and international level. We think there is a need for this, and we want to work with you guys to create the conditions for growing a generation of co-creators in Africa that would take the driver’s seat in their communities, nations, regions. 09/11/11
  • 09/11/11

Transcript

  • 1. TOWARDS A CO-CREATIVE WORLDone mobile entrepreneurship lab at a time
  • 2. Franco Papeschi Copyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved 2
  • 3. MORE ACCESS
  • 4. MORE CREATION
  • 5. Mobile Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • 6. Mobile Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • 7. Mobile Entrepreneurship Initiative
  • 8. Actions
  • 9. People with Successfulpassion, mobile start-upsideasand a bit of dev/biz skills
  • 10. Farmerline Copyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved 10
  • 11. MedAfrica Copyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved 11
  • 12. KopoKopoCopyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved 12
  • 13. 5 things we learnt Copyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved 13
  • 14. Hubs arenot enough
  • 15. Product development practicesare the key missing competence 15
  • 16. It’s a matter of density 16
  • 17. There are more actorsto involve 17
  • 18. $=?Photo by guuleed on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/guuleed/253458330/Attribution CC-BY NC SA 2.0
  • 19. 3 things to do Copyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved 19
  • 20. ActionsRegionalclusters
  • 21. Cross-labscollaborationsand tools Copyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved
  • 22. Policies! Copyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved
  • 23. Thank you! Franco Papeschi www.webfoundation.org
  • 24. Copyright © 2011. World Wide Web Foundation. All rights reserved 24