Mantra For C-Suite Executives In Finland & EU Who Want To Really Grow Their Business (Hint: It Involves Emerging Markets)

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

I would like all C-Suite Executives, be they from Startups, SMEs or Big Corporations, to repeat this “Mantra” every day right after they wake up.

Domestic Growth Is Not Enough For My Business

Exports To Developed Economies Is Not Enough For My Business

Growth For My Business Should Increasingly Come From Sales In Emerging Economies

The last part, especially, will not magically happen. They will need to understand the market and create or co-create solutions that B2B and B2C customers in those emerging markets will buy. There is definitely space for high cost solutions but more often than not the solutions that are needed are those that have these Frugal Innovation attributes: quality, sustainable, accessible and affordable.

Brookings Institution’s Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Shows Kenya Topping It’s List Amongst 26 Emerging Economies

Brookings Institution recently released a report titled “The 2016 Brookings Financial and Digital Inclusion Project Report”

Their 2016 report assesses financial inclusion ecosystems in 26 geographically, politically, and economically diverse countries based on four dimensions of financial inclusion: country commitment, mobile capacity, regulatory environment, and adoption of selected traditional and digital financial services.

Source:https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-2016-brookings-financial-and-digital-inclusion-project-report/
Source:https://www.brookings.edu/research/the-2016-brookings-financial-and-digital-inclusion-project-report/

Brookings has launched these rankings in 2014 as a way to examine access to and usage of secure, affordable formal financial services among underserved populations and released it’s first report in 2015. Back in 2015, Kenya also topped the list.

Read the whole report here.

New York Magazine- Olympic Athletes Show That It Is Good To Set Goals But More Important To Focus On The Process

So, XXXI Olympiad aka Rio 2016 is already here and the opening ceremonies are set for tomorrow, August 5th.

In honor of all the determination, grit and otherworldy focus that the olympic athletes bring to the table, there is something what the rest of us can learn from them: Set Goals But Focus On The Process

Source: https://www.rio2016.com/en/

Here is a great anecdote from New York Magazine:

At the United States Track and Field Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Oregon, 28-year-old Brenda Martinez was in prime position to win her best event, the 800-meter run, which would qualify her for the Olympics for the very first time. But with less than 100 meters to go, a trailing runner tripped and fell forward into Martinez, throwing her off balance. She was able to regain her footing, but not before being passed by a handful of other runners who would secure the three Olympic spots. It was devastating to watch.

Martinez could have been distraught and dejected. She failed (and largely due to bad luck) to achieve her goal of making the Olympics in her strongest event. But instead of feeling sorry for herself, Martinez told reporters that she was focused on getting ready for the 1500-meter run, the other event she was competing in. “The track doesn’t care about your feelings,” she said. “You’ve just got to move forward.”

And move forward she did. Less than one week later, in the 1500 meters, Martinez literally dove across the finish line to secure third place — by three one-hundredths of a second — earning her the opportunity to represent the United States in Rio.

New Book From University of Sussex’s STEPS Centre Called “Grassroots Innovation Movements”

Came across Grassroots Innovation Movements” book blurb on Linkedin Via Navi Radjou. I just downloaded the introductory chapter and seeing the summary, it looks like a good read. I have from time to time been reading the STEPS Centre’s articles and based on that I can say that this book will be a fascinating read.

University of Sussex, STEPS Centre, Grassroots Innovation Movements

“Grassroots solutions arise in unconventional settings through unusual combinations of people, ideas and tools. This book examines six diverse grassroots innovation movements in India, South America and Europe, situating them in their particular dynamic historical contexts. Analysis explains why each movement frames innovation and development differently, resulting in a variety of strategies. The book explores the spaces where each of these movements have grown, or attempted to do so. It critically examines the pathways they have developed for grassroots innovation and the challenges and limitations confronting their approaches. With mounting pressure for social justice in an increasingly unequal world, policy makers are exploring how to foster more inclusive innovation. In this context grassroots experiences take on added significance. This book provides timely and relevant ideas, analysis and recommendations for activists, policy-makers, students and scholars interested in encounters between innovation, development and social movements. This book is part of the STEPS Centre’s Pathways to Sustainability book series.”

January – June 2016 Are The Hottest Months Recorded So Far

So, 2016 is on track to be the world’s hottest year on record.

According to the World Meteorological Association:

June 2016 marked the 14th consecutive month of record heat for land and oceans. It marked the 378th consecutive month with temperatures above the 20th century average. The last month with temperatures below the 20th century average was December 1984.
……

The average temperature in the first six months of 2016 was 1.3°C (2.4°F warmer than the pre-industrial era in the late 19th century, according to NASA.

NOAA said the global land and ocean average temperature for January–June was 1.05°C (1.89°F) above the 20th century average, beating the previous record set in 2015 by 0.20°C (0.36°F).

Year to date Global Temperature

Be Like Bill – Frugal Innovator

I made this Frugal Innovator based on the Be Like Bill meme, a few months ago.

A reminder to myself and others who visit the blog!

Bill_Frugal_Innovator

I Get Excited and Depressed When I Read Stories Of Automation & Robots

I just read this article in The Guardian, titled “Robot factories could threaten jobs of millions of garment workers”

This is neither the first nor the last article to be published on this topic.

Also according to the article,the International Labor Organisation (ILO) has a report stating that up to 90% of workers in south-east Asia could face unemployment due to automation. So this is just one field. Now think about how automation will have repetitive jobs eliminated in all the different fields not just in developing countries but also in the developed world! It will be an unemployment nightmare because it is far difficult for people to update their skill sets in a short period of time to apply for new opportunities.

A simple Google Search with the words “Automation Job Loss” gives 1.3 million results. This already shows the volume of articles in this area.

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 00.58.42

Sewbots are unlikely to appear in factories in Asia, the report says, but will be installed in destination markets like Europe and the US. It is such a big threat that the ILO urges Asean countries to start planning to diversify to “avoid considerable setbacks in development”.

I get excited when I read about automation because new tech is awesome and I get depressed because the transition for people to acquire new skills and be part of the workforce will be an increasingly difficult job.

Obviously this is not just a technology issue but a societal issue. So, factories will be coming back to the developed countries from these emerging markets but they don’t enhance employment opportunities in the developed markets in any significant way either.

Adidas announced a factory in Germany that will begin manufacturing shoes using robots in 2017. The “Speedfactory” will employ just 160 people: one robotic production line will make soles, the other production line the upper part of shoes. With an additional factory planned for the US, it is a scheme Adidas describe as a “gamechanger”.

Currently an Adidas shoe takes 18 months to produce from idea to shelf. The aim is to reduce this to five hours, with customers able to customise their order in stores.

There is a significant amount of experts who are pushing now to create some sort of “Basic Income” to counter this phenomenon. The idea of a “Basic Income” is that the state will providea minimum amount of money needed to survive to all it’s citizens so that it could provide financial security for people and at the same time help unleash their creative juices, get them to take more risks and be more entrepreneurial in their pursuits.

There is question and answer about how to tackle this automation in this specific context.

For the millions of people who stitch clothes and shoes for a living and who look set to be hardest hit by automation, could robots be an opportunity for fairer work?

“In a best case scenario, robots take on board the most repetitive, mundane and non-cognitive tasks of apparel manufacturing,” explains Chang. “Robots would also assume more of the dangerous and dirty tasks, like mixing of chemicals which can be hazardous to human workers. Ultimately, human workers would be able to perform more satisfying and rewarding, as well as higher-paid, jobs in the sector like programming robots for better production and design.”

I think this is more hope talking rather than reality. Because the transition to automation and building such factories will be lot quicker than making structural changes in the economy or for people to update their skills.

So, this again brings me to emphasise the importance of Frugal Innovations and creating quality, accessible, sustainable and affordable solutions.

So, as the quote goes “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

Businesses and innovators in both public and private sector need to learn to create such solutions because people and organisations with lesser financial resources will demand such solutions.

A Great Example Of Bringing Accessible & Affordable Mobile Telephony To Low Infrastructure Areas – Fairwaves

According to Fairwave’s own description, this is what they are doing:

Fairwaves make rural mobile coverage profitable. We have built a unique technology that significantly lowers the cost of deploying and operating mobile networks in rural regions. Fairwaves is gaining a footprint in the telecommunications space by helping Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to roll out mobile networks to reach up-to 1.6 billion new customers.

Who Are Fairwaves?

Fairwaves is a Russian startup making a Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications base station that will enable $1/month mobile phone subscriptions. The company’s GSM network-in-the-box (NITB) base station costs $5000 compared to millions of dollars for traditional telephone communications and network equipment, it has low power needs at 100W, and serves a 10 km radius. It uses the Osmocom GSM stack, an open source initiative developing free software for mobile telephony, from the handset to the network.

You can even check out their online shop on how to purchase their base stations and set them up.
Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 22.58.55

Screen Shot 2016-07-14 at 22.59.36
Source: http://shop.fairwaves.co/

“In contrast to traditional mobile network solutions that are highly centralized, dependent upon backhaul and making heavy use of this, the Fairwaves solution is built upon a distributed VoIP core that benefits from local switching and is resilient to network failure”

What I love about this startup and technologies like this is the embrace of open source to make their solutions accessible and affordable.

I will file this away under a great example of Frugal Innovations!

Just Came Across Conscious Capitalism – Initial Thoughts

“It’s not about minimizing costs and making profits. You have to build on growing, caring and making an impact.”- Babson College Professor, Raj Sisodia, co-founder of Conscious Capitalism Inc.

This above quote is from this article Conscious Capitalism: the Next Chapter in Business. 

This is part of the increasingly mainstreamed way of doing business. First came Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), then Inclusive Business, Social Entrepreneurship, Impact Investing and Frugal Innovation have started to push business from “Laissez Faire Capitalism” to responsible capitalism.

This in combination with economists like Tomas Piketty’s “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” and Professor Angus Deaton (2015 Nobel prize winner in Economics) have started to highlight the necessity in creating a more responsible way of doing business.

I will have to read more, get more examples, digest them all and will get back to further thoughts on this in future blog posts.