Summary of the Acumen/IDEO Human Centred Design Course: What is Human Centred Design?

Human-centered design is a creative approach to problem solving. It’s a process that starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their needs.
 
Human-centered design is a process that can be used across industries and sectors to approach any number of challenges—from product and service design to space or systems design, to name just a few.
 
The human-centered design process has three phases—the Inspiration phase, the Ideation phase, and the Implementation phase. In the end, you’ll know that your solution will be a success because you’ve kept the people you’re looking to serve at the heart of the process.
 
In the Inspiration phase you’ll learn directly from the people you’re designing for as you immerse yourself in their lives and come to deeply understand their needs. In the Ideation phase you’ll make sense of what you learned, identify opportunities for design, and prototype possible solutions. And in the Implementation phase you’ll bring your solution to life, and eventually, to market.
Expect to find yourself shifting gears through the process, moving from concrete observations to highly abstract thinking, and then right back again into the nuts and bolts of your prototype. We call it diverging and converging. You’ll diverge and converge a few times, and with each new cycle you’ll come closer and closer to the solution that is best suited for the people you’re designing for.
 
Design thinking at work – positive deviance ; an approach that looks for solutions among individuals and families in the community who are already doing well.
 
As Monique Sternin, now director of the Positive Deviance Initiative, explains:
 
“Both positive deviance and design thinking are human-centered ap- proaches. Their solutions are relevant to a unique cultural context and will not necessarily work outside that specific situation.”
 
First stage – The inspiration space, the problem or opportunity that motivates people to search for solutions.
 
The Brief – the parameters for the team members
 
Once the brief has been constructed, it is time for the design team to discover what people’s needs are.
 
The starting point – observe the actual experiences of the people as they improvise their way through their daily lives.
 
The second space of the design thinking process is ideation.
 
“To have a good idea you must first have lots of ideas.”
 
To achieve divergent thinking, it is important to have a diverse group of people involved in the process.
 
To operate within an interdisciplinary environment, an individual needs to have strengths in two dimensions—the “T-shaped” person. On the vertical axis, every member of the team needs to possess a depth of skill that allows him or her to make tangible contributions to the outcome. The top of the “T” is where the design thinker is made. It’s about empathy for people and for disciplines beyond one’s own. It tends to be expressed as openness, curiosity, optimism, a tendency toward learning through doing, and experimentation.
 
Interdisciplinary teams typically move into a structured brain- storming process. One rule during the brainstorming process is to defer judgment. Instead, participants are encouraged to come up with as many ideas as possible then move into a process of grouping and sorting ideas.
 
Good ideas naturally rise to the top, whereas the bad ones drop off early on.
 
The third space of the design thinking process is implementation, At the core of the implementation process is prototyping, turning ideas into actual products and services that are then tested, iterated, and refined.
Through prototyping, the design thinking process seeks to uncover unforeseen implementation challenges and unintended consequences in order to have more reliable long-term success.
 
After the prototyping process is finished and the ultimate prod-uct or service has been created, the design team helps create a com- munication strategy.
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How Much Revenue Does Nigeria Make In A Year?

I’m preparing background document for a youth foundation so I want to know how much Nigeria makes as a basis for advocacy on how much the government should or could spend.

A google search didn’t yield to me a satisfactorily definitive answer so I called on Facebook and Twitter friends for help. I thank you all that shared links and leads. I followed them all as best I could without a PhD in economics or something. I even went to firs.gov.ng. And I found this from a 2008 presentation by then Chairman;

“Improved information and statistics of all revenue generated at FG, SG and LG is required for improved decision making. To date, a holistic picture of such statistics is not readily available in a complete and on a timely basis.”

This is also the conclusion made by Nonso Obikili an economist I follow on Twitter. I asked him how much Nigeria makes. I thought it was a simple question with a simple answer.

Apparently it’s all shrouded in secrecy. According to Nonso “the govt guesses what it will be each year. The actual numbers? No one knows.”

“Ok. So. What govt makes is part of GDP? Can an estimate be made by elimination of other sector contributions? Would that be accurate/useful?” I ask.

“Yeah it is. The NBS tries to do that and if you look at the breakdown of their reports you’ll see their guess there. Still a guess though” he replies.

“I thought it was me”

“Nah”

“For States you can guess with allocation plus IGR. For FG allocation is a signal but most suggest up to 50% of income doesn’t pass through the budget or FAAC. Some states publish this and report to the NBS. Some don’t.” he continued.

I’m thoroughly scandalised!

World Bank Nigeria Report 2013
World Bank Nigeria Report 2013

Why I Participate in the Adult Sex Education Month Series

If you watch the news you’ll conclude the world is going to hell in a hand basket real quick and maybe it is. And Africa – north, East, South and West – is it.

I’m enjoying Ebony Life TV, great innovative programming, local storytelling and production. Reminds me of NTA in some forgotten past. Commercialization has brought great benefits to Nigeria, the only benefits actually.

The role of the private sector in development

Intimate Pleasures is a small enterprise. They sell sex toys online, the first in Nigeria. What gave the proprietor the idea to set up an online sex shop? Numerous requests for sex toys whenever she travelled abroad. 

But Iheoma Obibi is first and foremost a feminist and a social entrepreneur. So her company doesn’t only sell risqué sex toys, they provide an essential service helping Nigerian couples derive maximum pleasure from intimacy. And educating Nigerians, married or single about sex.

My favorite story is about a newly wedded groom, arranged marriage, who asked her to educate his new wife about sex and pleasure. Its not just about raunch and giggles. Its serious issues that have serious impact on relationships and marriage.

Of course in Nigeria we do not talk about sex if we can help it. Unless na beer parlour gist. It is ‘taboo’. Through her Adult Sex Ed Series, Sex Talk Naija, Iheoma is providing an opportunity and space using new media for real conversation and real education.

That’s why I participate every year. In my line of work I’ve heard it all, the ignorance and misinformation out there is scandalous. Even from people you would expect to know better.

If we leave sex education to the government….well….go figure

Entrepreneurship – Sales or Return Agreements

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What are Sales or Return Agreements and when do they become useful for an entrepreneur?

 

In the present economy with limited credit SOR Agreements are a increasingly popular way for new suppliers, distributors and manufacturers to build a distribution network with established retail outlets. Sales or return (also called a consignment agreement) is a commercial arrangement by which a retailer pays only for goods sold, returning this that are unsold to the supplier.  The supplier is the seller and retains ownership of the goods till they are paid for in full and after a certain period takes back unsold goods.

 

While a SOR agreement might seem like a great way to move mechanise it is important to be aware of the risks and mitigate them accordingly. technically the supplier is providing credit for the buyer, at 30, 60, 90 days or more. The number of days that you are willing to provide credit depends on a number of things – the capacity of the retail outlet,  their reputation, the customer traffic and the terms and conditions (T&Cs) you agree with them. Always try to have a written agreement. A lot of trading in Nigeria is on the informal market where written agreements are rare, it is important nevertheless to have a written document or if you are using a verbal agreement clear terms and witnesses.

 

Terms and conditions should include clauses that cover what happens in the event of loss from theft, fire or bankruptcy.  Legally the retailer does not own the goods and they remain the responsibility of the supplier. Because the retailer does not own the goods and can return all unsold stock there is no great incentive to market your product. Try and negotiate display terms and if you will do any in store marketing (e.g. display cards, posters, stand etc) discuss with the retailer before hand and be sure they agree for you to bring in and display your marketing materials.

 

Also every important to get the retailer to agree to pay for any damaged goods. This is frequently neglected and goods are returned damaged or shabby and the supplier is unable to sell them elsewhere as new. One way to mitigate this risk is to deliver a limited quantity of goods for a shorter period of time and to visit the retail outlet frequently to assess the status.  You can read more about how to mitigate the risks of SOR agreements here.

 

 

Thinking About My Father on Father’s Day

I been thinking about my father. Not surprising. The capitalist machine has been churning the cream. All its been selling the past two weeks or so is Father’s Day.  Its made me think about my father. We never did Fathers Day. Or birthdays. Or Christmas Day, me and him. Not after we returned to the village. He was a socialist, a free thinker and he was into conspiracy theories.

“It is all American imperialist  propaganda. Don’t you know that December 25th used to be a Roman pagan ceremony?” he told me.

“Its just a festival Dad, a time for people to be happy.”

“If you want a festival to be happy at, come home for Owuh. It is our own.”

I never did.  Not after I left the village for Lagos.

We had a difficult relationship. Me and my father. He was always trying to make me submit and I was always resisting. I had a mind of my own. There was no ‘mother’ to mediate. He was smart but I always considered myself smarter. Even when I was four. He thought so too. Why else would he call me an accomplice in my own kidnapping from Russia when I was three and a half?

I been thinking about him a lot  lately even before Father’s Day advertising began. He passed away 3 years ago. I think I maybe finally letting go so much of the bitterness and disappointment that characterised our relationship.

He was a harsh man, a pure narcissist. It was  always his way or the high way. I spent many a night on that highway. I was a defiant child. He tried but he couldn’t beat it out of me. He brought me to the village to add value at the community level, he believed in community development. He also believed in violent revolution. He was a fighter, a warrior, with hot blood and a hot temper.

He was also charming and urbane, with a gift for the gab. He either charmed or bullied everybody he met into submission. Or he ignored them if he couldn’t. The ladies loved him. Even when he beat and abused them. Then I hated him for them and for me. I don’t know maybe he was a generous lover. I escaped as soon as I could. I could love him better at a distance.

Years of living in the village disabled him physically, emotionally, mentally and cognitively. He died from complications of diabetes on 6 April 201,1 a paranoid, bitter, nasty old man. His death took me by surprise. I used to joke he was too mean to die.

I loved my father very much. I miss him  when I have a question about the family history and genealogy. He could recite the names of his ancestors back ten generations. I miss him when I see his hand in the process of my evolution but can’t say “Thanks Dad, I get it now”.  I miss him because he was the first man I loved.

 

NEW BLOG POST: My Top Twenty Lessons of 2012 for Beginning Social Entrepreneurs

1. Be ready to forego some of your creature comforts.  Ain’t easy raising capital. Accumulate your cash.

2. Be ready to be disheartened and disappointed. Don’t waste too much energy on it.  Depression is for the birds

3. You will alienate family and  friends.  Don’t worry about it. They’ll come round when your successful and rich

4. Be methodical. Build your pyramid. The base is always wider and takes more work to build than the top.

5. If its not part of the plan and doesn’t add recognizable value AVOID IT. That includes negative people, get rich quick schemes, unsolicited advise, well or ill meaning people who think they know more about how to run your life than you do and ‘deals’.

6. Remember to service your debts. You don’t want creditors making life complicated but you don’t want to spend all your money paying debt either. Find a balance you can maintain.

7. Always remember your debts.  Be it a debt for a kindness, goods or services. The friend who gave you her couch for some weeks. The vendor that let’s you pay your bills a little late.  You get the drift? The Favor Bank is serious business.

8. Stay in touch with positive energizing people. Its easy to retreat into your shell and sometimes its necessary but its important to stay in touch and cultivate positive progressive people  who make you feel good and who you’ll want to work with in the future.

9. Don’t look down on the ‘little people’. Learn some humility. Life is tough enough. Compassion is a healthy healing feeling.

10. Persist till you breakthrough. Believe that you can. You will

11. Live within your means.  Scrutinize all gifts. You might have short term gratification but you need long term sustainability. Delay gratification.

12.  Entrepreneurs are risk takers.  Learn to mitigate risk. I learnt to swim at 5 by jumping into the deep end of the pool and flailing around till I got a hang of it. Nowadays I pause to make sure there’s a life guard on duty and maybe ask for some basic tips.

13, Listen to your gut, your intuition your instincts. If it feels ‘wrong’ pass it on. Not every opportunity is the right one.

14. Know exactly what you want and keep your aim on the goal. Everything else is a hurdle to jump, move around or avoid.  Prioritize accordingly.

15. You got only one person to please. That’s yourself. If you can go to bed at night hungry in a strange bed yet still feel you’ve done a good job you are an entrepreneur.

16.  Find the eye of the storm. If it passes over you grab a rock and cling on with your finger nails. This too will pass.

17. Well minded opportunism is a great asset, the Universe is conspiring with you already. If it seems right don’t hesitate, GO FOR IT

18.  Be kind to yourself. Self care and self love. Eat right. Exercise. And be happy.

19.  Believe in something bigger than yourself.

20. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. ignore the psycho babblers.

feminism31.jpg

NEW BLOG POST: My Top Twenty Lessons of 2012 for Beginning Social Entrepreneurs

1. Be ready to forego some of your creature comforts.  Ain’t easy raising capital. Accumulate your cash.

2. Be ready to be disheartened and disappointed. Don’t waste too much energy on it.  Depression is for the birds

3. You will alienate family and  friends.  Don’t worry about it. They’ll come round when your successful and rich

4. Be methodical. Build your pyramid. The base is always wider and takes more work to build than the top.

5. If its not part of the plan and doesn’t add recognizable value AVOID IT. That includes negative people, get rich quick schemes, unsolicited advise, well or ill meaning people who think they know more about how to run your life than you do and ‘deals’.

6. Remember to service your debts. You don’t want creditors making life complicated but you don’t want to spend all your money paying debt either. Find a balance you can maintain.

7. Always remember your debts.  Be it a debt for a kindness, goods or services. The friend who gave you her couch for some weeks. The vendor that let’s you pay your bills a little late.  You get the drift? The Favor Bank is serious business.

8. Stay in touch with positive energizing people. Its easy to retreat into your shell and sometimes its necessary but its important to stay in touch and cultivate positive progressive people  who make you feel good and who you’ll want to work with in the future.

9. Don’t look down on the ‘little people’. Learn some humility. Life is tough enough. Compassion is a healthy healing feeling.

10. Persist till you breakthrough. Believe that you can. You will

11. Live within your means.  Scrutinize all gifts. You might have short term gratification but you need long term sustainability. Delay gratification.

12.  Entrepreneurs are risk takers.  Learn to mitigate risk. I learnt to swim at 5 by jumping into the deep end of the pool and flailing around till I got a hang of it. Nowadays I pause to make sure there’s a life guard on duty and maybe ask for some basic tips.

13, Listen to your gut, your intuition your instincts. If it feels ‘wrong’ pass it on. Not every opportunity is the right one.

14. Know exactly what you want and keep your aim on the goal. Everything else is a hurdle to jump, move around or avoid.  Prioritize accordingly.

15. You got only one person to please. That’s yourself. If you can go to bed at night hungry in a strange bed yet still feel you’ve done a good job you are an entrepreneur.

16.  Find the eye of the storm. If it passes over you grab a rock and cling on with your finger nails. This too will pass.

17. Well minded opportunism is a great asset, the Universe is conspiring with you already. If it seems right don’t hesitate, GO FOR IT

18.  Be kind to yourself. Self care and self love. Eat right. Exercise. And be happy.

19.  Believe in something bigger than yourself.

20. Don’t let anyone tell you who you are. ignore the psycho babblers.

feminism31.jpg