Leveraging design thinking to spur innovation: Safaricom BUNI Workshop

“Innovation is nothing less than a survival strategy” – Tim Brown, CEO IDEO

Given the current competitive climate in business, it is becoming clear that the only companies that will remain relevant and at the top of their game are the ones that constantly innovate. Large established companies may however be risk averse to investing in new and uncertain ideas that may destabilize everything they have come to know and build for years. It’s however important that corporates remain agile and realize that what works today may not necessarily work tomorrow. For a long time, incorporating technology and digitizing systems remained the differentiating factor when it came to innovative companies but now this has become the norm rather than the exception, and once again corporates find that they have to do more, to stay ahead of the game. In fact, the use of these very digital systems has given a voice to users of these companies’ products, through social media, for example, enabling their competitors to quickly identify their weak points and gain unfair advantage.

So how can companies innovate? By making innovation easier: Systems that enable your staff to come up with ideas, test them, and then take them to market.

Buni is a program aimed at empowering Safaricom staff to develop ideas into products, concepts and prototypes that are intuitive, innovative, deliberate and delightful. The overall aim of Buni is to ignite a company-wide startup culture, and cultivate innovation as a way of life among the staff. During the Buni Week, iHub Software Consulting partnered with Safaricom to train Safaricom staff members on how to define, manage and build a product; from concept to market. This involved a mixture of theoretical and practical work. Participants were grouped into teams to come up with innovations in 4 thematic areas identified by Safaricom. At the end of the workshop, the teams submitted ideas that will in the next couple of months be incubated and funded by various business units in Safaricom as well as the innovation arm of Safaricom, Alpha.

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Kennedy Kirui, Director,

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