Articles Tagged Technology

Nov 10, 2019
Will Uber run out of road?

Uber is a very big deal, and I was enthusiastic about it long before any of us experienced it in Kenya. Can anyone doubt the achievement? Uber revolutionized the taxi business by conceiving a marvellous mobile app that connected people seeking rides with drivers willing to offer them. By tapping into an unused stock of […]

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Oct 06, 2019
To survive, lead the change – don’t deny it

Last week I warned that many large corporates were in ‘slow puncture’ mode – with their current business models deflating slowly, all the while pretending all is well. I had referenced Marks and Spencer, Britain’s once iconic, now troubled retail giant. In the days since, another icon bit the dust. Thomas Cook, a huge travel […]

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Aug 25, 2019
Who owns your data? Do you care?

Photo by Rishi Deep on Unsplash You upload a photo from your holiday (click). You search for a product (click). You like someone’s post (click). You add a new friend on a social network (click). You make a purchase on a website (click). You receive an emailed receipt (click). You express your opinion in a […]

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Aug 11, 2019
Technology fail? A human can rescue that…

Photo credit: www.foliosociety.com Do you know The Folio Society? If you’re a bibliophile, you probably do. They create beautiful special editions of classic books. Books done the old-fashioned way: in hardcover, usually cloth-bound; with premium paper and elegant typography; and given a new twist by specially commissioned illustrators. A book-lover’s delight. But expensive. Surely that’s […]

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Jul 28, 2019
Is this Facebook’s ‘M-Pesa’ moment?

Photo by Glen Carrie on Unsplash In every talk I have given to banking groups in recent years, I have warned them that future competition will be nothing like what they have been used to. The biggest threats to their future will not come from other bankers, because those guys are just as confused and […]

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Jul 14, 2019
Many clouds, many thunderstorms

I predicted on this page a few years ago that the home delivery business would explode. It did. We are all getting so many more things delivered to our homes now. Not just meals, but also drinks, groceries, medicines, books and much more. It was obvious that this would happen. As more women enter the […]

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Apr 14, 2019
So digital, so analogue

You approach a junction, and see some swish-looking traffic lights, complete with digital countdown timers. Nice, you think. Except no one is looking at the lights. There is a traffic policeman on duty guiding the vehicles, badly, even as the lights do their thing above his head. No matter how much was paid for those […]

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Feb 17, 2019
Need to reinvent your traditional business? Be ready to do these three things

I asked here last week: what makes big, established businesses so reluctant to change in the face of overwhelming new realities in their markets? Their customers may be moving on rapidly, but so many large corporations hang on doggedly to the past. Their widely experienced board members and highly paid executives just refuse to get […]

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Feb 10, 2019
Are you engaged in a war with the 21st century?

I saw a tweet the other day by Robert Colvile that made me laugh out loud: ‘Dear London taxi drivers, if you want to win your war with the 21st century, maybe stop using the phrase “Oh, you’re paying by card, are you?” as though you’re being presented with mysterious spices from the East.’ After […]

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Jan 13, 2019
Pay attention to the ingenuity technology is throwing up

Photo by Isaac Mehegan on Unsplash We were driving back home from the other side of Nairobi. I tapped Google Maps on and connected it to the car’s display. It showed the route home, and indicated that the journey would take 31 minutes. We decided to keep track of this. The road was clear of […]

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Nov 25, 2018
Those were the days – or were they?

I tweeted a visual joke recently. It involved people making the connection between an audio-cassette tape and a pencil. Most people on Twitter, in these parts at least, are too young to get it. Heck, most are too young to know what a cassette is… Yes, young ones: once upon a time the most common […]

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Oct 21, 2018
How many more cars do you hope to buy?

Could you have bought your last-ever ‘traditional’ car? It seems unlikely, doesn’t it? But if you live in an advanced economy and have just bought a petrol car, it could well turn out to be your last one. If you’re young and haven’t bought one to date, perhaps you never will. Five years from now, […]

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Oct 07, 2018
In the machine age, the human’s answer must be to become even more human

(Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash) I had the pleasure of hosting some people from the future earlier this week. Let me explain. No, I haven’t discovered a time machine. I did not whisk in my guests from a future era by reassembling their molecules in the here and now. I was actually hosting futurists […]

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Aug 19, 2018
Don’t buy – just subscribe?

Photo by Umberto Cofini on Unsplash If you’re a certain age, you probably have a whole bunch of music CDs lying around, gathering dust. (If you’re even older, you may have a pile of audio cassettes and LPs too – but we won’t go there.) Most of my music collection was once in the form […]

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Jul 01, 2018
Bricks or clicks, those who play for distinction win

Retail seems to be a tough business to be in right now, anywhere in the world. Consumers seem to prefer the convenience of online browsing and buying. They get things delivered to them rather than venture out into inclement weather and frustrating traffic; they curl up on couches rather than brave public transport. As online […]

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Jun 17, 2018
AI is right here, right now

I recently received an email from the folks over at Medium, an online publishing platform I subscribe to. Here’s what it said: “Hello! It looks like you’re into artificial intelligence, so we rounded up a few of our favorites for you this week. Because you’re a member and an avid reader, we want to make […]

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May 06, 2018
Are you holding on to obsolete knowledge?

London has a unique way of licensing its official ‘black cab’ taxi drivers. They have to pass the ‘Knowledge’ – a test that requires you to memorize every street and landmark in central London, so that you can navigate between any two points in the city entirely from memory. This might require several years of […]

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Apr 01, 2018
Facebook and the dark side of new tech

What kind of company can have $60 billion wiped off its value in just a few days – and still be around? The Facebook kind. Facebook has more users than China or India have citizens, and therefore it is just fine – for now. But the Cambridge Analytica scandal – the revelations that the misuse […]

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Jan 28, 2018
No service. No smiles. No future

A customer walks into one of Nairobi’s brand-new mega-malls on a weekday. It boasts many household names in shopping, both local and global. It’s virtually empty. She enters an internationally renowned supermarket. Here, too, customers are thin on the ground. She’s looking for a refrigerator – a sizeable purchase – amongst other things. It’s a […]

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Oct 01, 2017
Turning your bank of today into the bank of tomorrow

What does the disruption journey look like to those who can think ahead of the curve and transform their successful traditional businesses ahead of time? I covered this topic here last week, and received many requests to show the roadmap for banks in particular. It seems many of you are worried about the future of […]

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Sep 24, 2017
How old businesses must reinvent themselves

Every business in the world faces overwhelming uncertainty. The explosion of new technology shows no sign of abating. Indeed, we may only have seen the opening chapters of the book of technological disruption. The later chapters – containing plot twists, deaths, rebirths and the like – have not even been written yet. We only have […]

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Jul 23, 2017
The auto industry faces a twisting ride

This column often considers the possible futures of different industries. In 2015 I wrote about the advent of driverless cars, and what that might do to carmakers and to our lives. There were many sceptics at the time; but in 2017 with a whole range of autonomous vehicles already being piloted on roads in many […]

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Jun 25, 2017
What’s going wrong at Uber?

It was launched barely seven years ago. In that time it has expanded explosively to be present in more than 570 cities in the world. It had revenue in 2016 of $6.5 billion, and its market valuation of $70 billion makes it the world’s most valuable tech startup. It has brought easy and cheap transportation […]

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Jun 11, 2017
3 words to stop saying in your organization

I spend a lot of time interacting with boards and senior teams in leading corporations. In boardrooms and workshops, in strategy retreats and seminars, there are three words that of late you are guaranteed to hear. I usually play a mental ‘bingo’ game to count how many minutes it takes for the first of the […]

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May 28, 2017
How to blend old and new to succeed in the future

Last week I pointed out that the journey to ‘digital’ is not straightforward; the thinking leader will have to blend what is new and what is timeless in order to succeed. ‘Analogue’ in this sense does not just refer to things that you can touch and feel, like printed books and bank branches and fountain […]

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May 21, 2017
Staying analogue is as important as going digital

Digital transformation is on everyone’s lips these days. If you’re ‘analogue’ you’re finished: a dinosaur awaiting imminent extinction. Or are you? The e-book was supposed to kill off the printed book. Did it? No. E-books took off rapidly, and then levelled out in 2014. Sales of physical books have been rising for several years now. […]

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Apr 09, 2017
Your life, with robots

Let’s continue our examination of robotics, begun here last week. Donald Trump wants to bring basic jobs back to America. He thinks assembly-line workers, coal-miners etc should be Americans. His grand idea seems to be that the jobs will come back by slapping tariffs on foreign products coming into the country. If only he’d ever […]

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Apr 02, 2017
It’s time to start preparing for the robots

This column periodically takes a look at the future of different industries. Over the past year or so we have peered at what lies ahead for the car and taxi industry, television, banking and insurance, amongst others. For the next two weeks, let’s consider an industry that’s going to play a considerable role in all […]

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