Articles Tagged Technology

cars blur
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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Uber app
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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No
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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smartphone-1790833_1920
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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Record player
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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Robot face
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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Robot
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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mobile digital
Jan 15, 2017
What’s your ‘DQ’?

I’m pretty sure you’ve taken (or were forced to take) an IQ (intelligence quotient) test at some time in your life. You may even have have done some sort of EQ (emotional quotient) test. But have you ever taken a ‘DQ’ test? Try this quick quiz: 1. Can you accurately describe what Snapchat is? 2. […]

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Insurance umbrellas
Nov 13, 2016
Here comes insurance disruption

I was asked to speak at a conference for insurers recently, and I decide to rattle their cage. Their old business model, I told them, is already over. It’s just that they may not know it yet, because the many changes that will upend their business are invisible right now. To understand why insurance must […]

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Uber autonomous
Oct 09, 2016
You can’t resist an idea when its time comes

Two years ago I wrote on this page about Uber, the taxi-hailing app that has taken the world by storm. At the time, Uber had not entered these shores. It did so shortly after, and as predicted, overran the local taxi industry. One year ago I wrote that it was time to start thinking about […]

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Banks, cityscape
Sep 25, 2016
Banks, don’t waste a good crisis

A few weeks ago I warned on this page that Kenya’s banks faced a ‘new normal’ – an era in which they would have to respond to tighter regulation, as well as innovate furiously just to survive. Well, that was before rate-capping knee-capped the industry. The recent Banking Amendment Act has ensured that banks in […]

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Facebook eye
Sep 11, 2016
Mark Zuckerberg passed through. So what?

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, was in Nairobi the other day. I thought we would note that and get on with our lives, but quite a sensation was created. I am really reluctant to add to the commotion, but I feel a couple of observations are necessary. Facebook is undoubtedly one of the most important […]

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Wallet
Aug 21, 2016
Are we heading towards a cashless society?

Many years ago I visited a European capital after a travel hiatus, and tried to rent a car from the airport. To my surprise, none of the car-hire companies would accept my money. Cash, in their own currency. Legal tender. No deal. When I asked why, I was told it simply wasn’t worth their while […]

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robot and human
Jul 31, 2016
Get ready to reinvent yourself for a new economy

Technology threatens to upend our assumptions about work, employment and income. Is this a real threat to society, or just hyperbole? First, the optimistic scenario. When I was a young man in an economics class many moons ago, I was introduced to the “lump of labour fallacy.” This is the idea that there is only […]

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robot
Jul 24, 2016
Will you have a job in the (near) future?

You know that the employment landscape is undergoing fundamental upheavals, right? You appreciate that the advent of robotics and artificial intelligence is going to give automation a big push, I hope? You realise that some studies suggest nearly half of all today’s jobs could be lost to automation – yes? And that it won’t take […]

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banking hall
Jul 10, 2016
Is your bank ready for the ‘new normal’?

A bank is a very special institution. When you become a custodian of other people’s money, you become bound by very particular regulatory rules to ensure you do not misuse the privilege. When you lend that money out to others, society must ensure you do not use that power to bring those others to ruin. […]

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customer experience
Jun 05, 2016
Going the extra mile in customer care pays – big

When Amazon.com launched in 1995, it was the world’s first substantial e-retailer. It was a shot in the dark. Its early demise was predicted many times. Now, it is an absolute behemoth, selling everything from apparel to consumer electronics to cloud computing services. And last year, the world’s largest physical retailer, Walmart, was quietly overtaken […]

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TV
Feb 28, 2016
TV wars: who wins, and why?

Last week I took you on a historical tour of the television industry. The tour was deliberately conducted from the perspective of the consumer, not the producer. We saw how the consumer’s TV experience has changed dramatically: from a poor one-channel, one-box experience of limited programming; to multi-channel, multi-format, multi-gadget experiences involving a global library […]

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TV remotes
Feb 21, 2016
The changing experience of the television consumer

What was the early experience of television like? For those who can remember, we all sat in front of one small box, and received limited programming. In most countries television started with a single channel or broadcaster, usually run by the state. The programmes ran for fixed hours, and were chosen for us. They were […]

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Uber
Feb 14, 2016
Cartels must go, not Uber

I looked out of the window, and there they were. A bunch of noisemakers riding around in a taxi waving poorly written placards and shouting “Uber must go!” Uber protests hit Nairobi last week. It was inevitable. Uber has disrupted the traditional taxi industry in 400 cities across the globe now, and the traditionalists often […]

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Click ESC
Nov 29, 2015
Click. There goes your customer

I’m always curious about the world, and so I have always been a news junkie. When I was growing up in Kenya, the only source of news was the daily newspaper. I would wait outside my father’s door for it every morning. How else would I know what was happening in the world? Later, we […]

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vehiclesstartdriving
Nov 15, 2015
When vehicles start driving themselves – what happens next?

Last week I wrote about the phenomenon of autonomous vehicles that is on the horizon. Some futurists think that this technology will rival the smartphone in its potential to disrupt our world. This week, let’s trace out where the effects may fall. As indicated last week, car ownership will change dramatically. Consumer purchasing of cars […]

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selfdriving
Nov 08, 2015
What will self-driving cars do to your world?

Is it time to discuss self-driving cars? Five years ago, I started telling my clients to start thinking about autonomous vehicles. At the time, I admit that I thought I was engaging in a bit of science fiction. Whilst it was important to imagine the consequences of a world in which vehicles drove themselves, in […]

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fiveyearsontwitter
Nov 01, 2015
5 years on Twitter: some personal reflections

Five years ago this month, reluctantly and apprehensively, I joined Twitter. I had many reservations about my first foray into the then-nascent phenomenon of social media. I feared that I would have little worth saying in a mere 140 characters, and that I would be distracted from my main work in life; that I would […]

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comingtoterms
Oct 18, 2015
Coming to terms with a digital future

I was on holiday recently, visiting a far-flung place for the first time. After my usual conversations with assorted locals, I became acutely aware of my ignorance about the place’s history, culture, fauna and economy. I noted that the hotel I was staying in offered a library for guests. To my delight, the library was […]

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innovation
May 24, 2015
Innovation is all about connections

The year was 1970. A man was with his family at a busy airport, lugging two very heavy suitcases. An airport employee walked past, pushing a heavy piece of machinery fairly easily on a large wheeled trolley. An “aha” moment occured. The man, Bernard D. Sadow, looked at the trolley, looked at his suitcases, and […]

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smartphonerevolution
Mar 22, 2015
So, how’s the smartphone revolution treating you?

What does losing weight have to do with smartphones? Five years ago I wrote on this page that the future of your business lay in the palm of the hand. Not in the lines of fate supposedly embossed there; but in the device that I expected to be ever-present in most palms by today: the […]

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Oct 19, 2014
Poor customer experience? Here comes disruption

You must have heard of Uber. The mobile-app-driven taxi service has taken the world by storm. In just a short time it covers 45 countries (200 cities), and has even entered Africa (Lagos and Cape Town). Why this phenomenal expansion? Here’s how it works: You go to the app in your phone. It picks up […]

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