June 17, 2009
I am led to believe that this may not be that wise an activity for all sorts of reasons!
Yesterday I sat in the sunshine drinking coffee with Ken Banks of Kiwanja (spelt correctly this time!) overlooking the river Cam and watching groups of “punters” enjoying the afternoon. I was talking to Ken about the Betavine Social Exchange concept and how it could work in Africa amongst other places … Ken’s experience and insights helped me to understand that we still have a lot of work to do! We really need to do our research with our end users and not just presume that we can transplant our thinking across continents … hence the strange title of this post.
Will local NGOs and community groups understand what we are trying to do? i.e. bringing people with “challenges” together with people with “solutions” – but specifically in the mobile space. There are already a number of excellent websites doing this type of matching activity e.g. Nabuur but not specifically focussed on mobile. Maybe people just describe their “challenges” and not care if the solution has a mobile component? Maybe we could link to and support some of these existing problem solving communities?
Another issue we discussed was the way in which people would describe their problem or “challenge” … free text discussion forum was thought to be the easiest starting point before any more formal problem description.
What about privacy? If an individual has a good idea they may wish to keep it to themselves and seek to start a small business to exploit it. How does privacy sit within an “open” community?
I am hope to get answers to some of these questions by talking to more NGOs and people who understand how to work in the developing world.