Friday, 30 January 2015

A problem, a money making opportunity

Innovation is taught as a skill in business schools, broken up into segments: recognition of opportunities, mobilisation of relevant resources, development of a solution, and successful introduction to the market.  Companies are encouraged to pursue each of these stages systematically, according to best practice.  The idea is to take the magic out of entrepreneurship, so that it becomes a matter of work rather than luck.

Happily, a resource provided by the World Bank reduces the work a bit.  The resource is the Enterprise Surveys (, which surveys companies in the Great Lakes region (and elsewhere).  There is a lot of helpful information on there for business people, but the section which is most relevant here is the list of perceived constraints.  Here are the constraints for Burundi, DRC, and Rwanda, in graph form (Sub-Saharan averages are also shown):




The information can be used in various ways in the innovation process.  For example, many companies seem to have problems with electricity supply.  So when a company is mobilising resources and developing solutions to an innovation problem, they should probably consider using low energy methods.

An alternative use for the data is at the opportunity recognition stage.  One company's problem is another company's entrepreneurial opportunity.  Electricity is an issue?  Consider new supply solutions.  Finance is absent?  New funding mechanisms could be investigated.  Political instability is an issue?  A risk management consultant might do well.

Back on Monday.  Have a nice weekend.

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