innovation

Innovation out of necessity is alive and well

(This article first appeared on the Virgin website as part of their special feature on innovation and disruption. The original post can be read here).

Spectrum and the Paradox of the ITU

This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Africa and Spectrum 2.0

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is a paradox.  It is simultaneously an enabler and an obstacle to progress when it comes to radio spectrum.

Reluctant innovators are go!

It’s been a busy few months as our new book – “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator” – has been taking shape. We’ve been finalising chapter contributions, working on the introduction, sorting out cover and chapter designs, doing last minute copy-editing, building a new website, keeping Kickstarter supporters up-to-date, and pulling in book endorsements.

Why Bill Gates is Wrong About Project Loon

In a recent interview with Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Bill Gates took issue with long time competitor Google and their plans to create an alternative communication infrastructure using balloons (

Means of Exchange: Enabling more resilient economies

“Citizen movements are compelling reforms that were unimaginable only a short time ago. Solutions to today’s challenges involve a complex mix of actors that include governments, nonprofits, foundations, civil society and the business sector in major new ways”Rockefeller Foundation

Time to meet the real M-PESA?

m-Pesa? m-PESA? mPESA? MPESA? mpesa? Putting the actual spelling to one side for a moment, there can be few more talked about yet least understood mobile services than M-PESA (yes, that’s how you’re supposed to spell it. I think).

An inconvenient truth?

Exactly ten years ago this month I was preparing for my first ever piece of work in mobile, two years of work which would lead to the development of an innovative conservation service in 2003 – wildlive! – and the release of one of the earliest reports [

The innovation conundrum

When I started out trying to understand the complexities of international development well over 15 years ago, one thing struck me. The trick, I was often told, to increase chances of funding was to apply a liberal sprinkling of the words gender, scalable or sustainable into any project proposal. Donors apparently liked those words, however they were used.

Ideas vs. execution: A personal history

“An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea” -
Hindu Siddharta, Founder of Buddhism (563-483 B.C)

Good idea, bad idea or no idea?

For every one of our failures we had spreadsheets that looked awesome
Scott Cook. Founder and Chairman, Intuit

In search of reluctant innovators

After returning from the 2011 Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyad last January, I started pulling together a few thoughts on something I’d been pondering for some time – “reluctant innovation”.

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