• BURN MEDIA
    • Memeburn
      Tech-savvy insight and analysis
    • Gearburn
      Incisive reviews for the gadget obsessed
    • Ventureburn
      Startup news for emerging markets
    • Jobsburn
      Digital industry jobs for the anti 9 to 5!

All posts by Will Mutua

Will Mutua writes the Afrinnovator blog that focuses on telling the stories of African startups, African innovation, African made technology, African tech entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs. Our mission is to ‘Put Africa on the Map‘ by covering these kinds of stories from all over Africa.
  • How tech could help Africa develop a knowledge-based economy

    According to the World Economic Forum Competitiveness Report 2011 – 2012 there are three stages of economic development by which one can classify the world’s economies: Factor-­driven economies: Compete primarily on the basis of natural resources and unskilled labour Efficiency-­driven economies: Where the key is to create efficiencies in the production processes Innovation-­driven economies: Compete on differentiated and sophisticated products and production processes The most advanced economies tend to be those in the third stage — innovation-driven economies. These are also economies that have placed a premium on knowledge as a key factor for economic growth, they are ‘Knowledge Economies’. In Africa, most nations lag...

  • How do we nurture Africa’s next great innovator?

    Globally, the discussion around innovation has been one of great interest especially in the wake of troubling economic times in the recent past. The discussion is strong in relation to Africa’s situation as well. Innovation sometimes can be a bit hard to describe in exact terms but one thing is for sure, you always know genuine innovation or innovativeness when you see it. Yet, it is a critical component to our ability to deal with the challenges of today and the future, as a continent as well as the world as a whole. If this is true, then societies or nations...

  • What gaps need to be plugged in the African startup ecosystem?

    Africa’s startup ecosystem is in a state of flux. These are the formative days, the few million years post big-bang, if you would. So there are many questions and many gaps that need to be filled as we seek to learn from other innovation centers around the world, while at the same time setting the rules that will work best for our context all while actually building this thing. In a sense, it’s like setting about building a structure while figuring out what the actual structure should look like in the end and not just that but also how...

  • What kind of disruption does Africa’s tech scene really need?

    What is it really to disrupt, or what is a disruptive innovation? And to put it in the African context, what does ‘disruption’ mean for the continent and what are the opportunities to disrupt? A dictionary definition of the term ‘disrupt‘ is: to throw into turmoil or disorder to interrupt the progress of (a movement, meeting, etc.) to break or split (something) apart Disruptive innovation is NOT making a good product better Clayton Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor who coined the term and came up with the theory of disruptive innovation, describes it as that kind of innovation that transforms a product that was...

  • How M-Pesa disrupts entire economies

    Back in 2011, I was asked to give my thoughts on what I thought would trend in mobile within between then and 2020. One of my predictions was that: “Mobile money will shift economies on a large-scale and across borders.” It came as an interesting discovery to learn therefore that according to recent Africa Development Bank (AfDB) research, increased uptake of M-Pesa, which is the literal mother of mobile money, is said to be contributing to inflation in Kenya. Inflation was a major problem in the Kenyan economy in 2011, having hit a high of 19.7% towards the end of...

  • Four things Africa has to get right to guarantee future innovation

    Fail to innovate and you will simply be left behind. As I previously noted, this is especially the case for the African continent. Africa has, for the longest time, been relegated to the back of the classroom, the backward, war-torn, black sheep of the world. But today it is emerging, and African nations are betting big on technology and innovation as the stepping-stones to rebuilding themselves. But what will it take? What are some of the components that are necessary for African states to innovate into the future? 1. People and Skills: The engine of innovation In his article examining the Kenya...

  • Necessity is the mother of invention: Why utility beats ‘cool’ in Africa

    It is said that necessity is the mother of invention and indeed that could perfectly describe Africa where it comes to innovation, particularly on mobile. Utility vs Coolness In a great talk at TEDxVienna Alexander Oswald, Head of Marketing at Nokia, tells the story of how he and his family visited Kenya and were immensely shocked at just how much people in Kenya were able to accomplish via mobile phones. From sending and receiving money, to banking and paying for utilities & shopping from their phone, to the use of mobile in tracking the price of agricultural produce, and even automatic...

  • How mobile money is bridging the gap to online payments in Kenya

    Mobile Money has come a long way in the last few years. Kenyan mobile network operator, Safaricom, introduced its MPesa service in 2007 and the service literally took off, setting the stage for a veritable revolution. Safaricom’s MPesa is today the most successful mobile money operation all over the world, and its numbers definitely prove it. There have been attempts to transplant this success elsewhere with varying degrees of success. Other mobile operators soon caught on both within Kenya and across the continent. The attempt to implement MPesa in the South African market did not go as well as would...

  • 5 Cool African eCommerce websites

    There was a time when Africa’s eCommerce platforms were so few in number as to be negligible. The ever increasing penetration of bandwidth onto the continent has seen that change. Africa now supports a number of viable eCommerce sites, each looking to take hold of a growing market. Here are five of the best: 1. Kalahari Naspers owned Kalahari.com is the market leader in South African eCommerce. Established in 1999, kalahari.com is South Africa’s largest online retailer of millions of books, eBooks, eReaders, music, DVDs, games, cameras & electronics. A pioneer in the South African eCommerce industry, the...

  • The cheetah generation is using social media to revolutionise the continent

    In 2008, an article on socialmediatoday.com titled “Why Social Media in South Africa Will Fail”, made a rather daring assertion: …social media and social media marketing and social media strategy is an almost pointless pursuit for businesses in South Africa… Perhaps the image projected of Africa may, in times past, have led one to believe that there are other more pressing issues to deal with in Africa. I mean, this is Africa we’re talking about, there’s hunger and disease to be dealt with before we can consider the social media as something of significance to the continent, right? Well, that may have...