This morning when I left my house, I had planned everything, except to be wonderfully good at writing an article. Like every morning, I make a round of social networks before starting my day. At the opening of LinkedIn, I came across the latest article published by Emeka entitled To Whom Much Is Given. Emeka rarely writes, but when he writes, he usually wants to get us a message. The longer it takes to write, the longer the text will be. Besides it falls well for me, I need reading. I click on the link, at the beginning everything begins with a reminder on his last article where he was talking about his leaving Google after spending 4 years and his arrival at Facebook. I know all that, I wonder where the trap is. Then a dialogue between Mr Wale Thomas (CEO of Nkali Limited) and Badi (cleaner at Johnson house).
After reading all the discussion between the two, a few lines of comment would have been insufficient to say everything that I think. This last 4 years, I had the opportunity to discuss with somes business leaders. Many are afraid of partnerships with small entities or organizations that at first sight do not bring them anything, but all these companies want to remain a leader in their field and to have new business opportunities. The company Nkali reminds me of Yahoo, it is true that I often overflow with imagination and I push my analyzes too far. Nkali is the leader in its field in Nigeria and following two poor strategic choices in its growth. Years later, it lost its leading position in favor of Koboko Limited, a company that wanted to become a partner in its creation. Everyone knows the history of Yahoo, I will just go back on what is for me the two biggest failures of Yahoo. In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin sought to sell their technology to several established search engines, but Yahoo refuses to buy Google because its approach is radically different from that followed by both computer scientists. In June 2006, Yahoo offers $1 billion to Facebook. A sum that seems to suit the shareholders of the social network, who are looking to go out. Following very bad results in the second quarter, Yahoo finally decides to lower its offer to 850 million dollars. The operation is canceled. Today, Google and Facebook are giants, however Yahoo was bought by Verizon.
I will develop in the following, some extracts of the article.
« Wale wanted to ask Badi if he was sure that he was really a cleaner. And if he was, what he had been smoking. But instead he asked “Really? And what are these responsibilities?”
Badi held up one finger.
“First, is your responsibility to innovate.”
Badi held up two fingers.
“Second, is your responsibility to empower, and third…”
Badi held up 3 fingers
“Third, is your responsibility to advocate. I think you neglected at least 2 …or maybe even all of those responsibilities. That is where you slipped”
In a changing environment, where user’s needs are constantly growing, any company has a responsibility to innovate if it wants to continue to exist as a big name. To innovate, we must question the ecosystem, study the behavior of users, project themselves in the future, to risk. On the eve of the 2000s in SSA, we saw a great growth of mobile phone companies. The business of its companies revolved mainly on the sale of voice. The world is changing very fast, so technology is advancing and invading even remote areas. Having become aware of the need to diversify their business, these companies have invested in connectivity. More than 10 years today, it has become a real market for these companies. The connectivity coming with its part of reality, today these companies are in the cloud computing solution proposals and suport for SMEs. That’s being responsible for innovation, if companies like MTN, Orange had not understood it early in their development in Cameroon, they will probably be lagging behind today. On the one hand, it is necessary to listen to the consumers (even the non-users), to understand the consumers, to study the behaviors of the users and the ecosystem. On the other hand, we must design solutions that meet the needs of consumers and also design solutions that allow us to have a new customer.
“Yes,” said Wale “And because we know this, we have continued to grow our business year to year so like i said, you have no idea of anything you are talking about”Badi shrugged “Yes sir, Mr Custodian”“Why are you calling me that?”“What?”“Mr Custodian”“Because that is what you are, a Custodian of Innovation”
“Yes boss, “ said Badi , “It is tough to scale in a sustainable way without the right partner ecosystem around you. One way to build that ecosystem is through empowerment. ”
This is my other reading of Emeka article which you can find by visiting this link. I invite you to read it. In my opinion, this is a message for the companies and startups that make up the ecosystem in our different countries. I prefer to stop here, not to be very long. I apologize for the various grammar mistakes. They are not done intentionally.