No one can deny that the leaps in technology in recent decades have seriously impacted the way we communicate, work, access services, buy products, and quite honestly, every other facet of human life as we know it. It should come as no surprise that it also affects how businesses are run. It may even affect the kind of business you choose to go into and how it evolves over time.
Africa is seen by analysts as the next growth market as evidenced by investments in our tech ecosystem reaching over $3 billion in 2022. There are three main reasons for this: it is home to the youngest population in the world; it is growing into a major consumption market; it is increasingly mobile phone enabled. Mobile phones are now the most common interface between young Africans and technology, especially social media, communications, and mobile money.
The marketplace of the future will leverage heavily on technology, and all the innovation from this sector will determine businesses that are relevant to that evolution and those that get left behind. The models will keep altering, even on the revenue or pricing end. Remember that Blackberry was the preferred messaging tool for several years until their closed networks met their match in cross-platform WhatsApp. WhatsApp’s growth (both financially and in popularity) became one of several stories about how Blackberry refused to adapt and lost its grip on the market. It is not just creating useful technology that will be the leapfrog into a sustainable or profitable enterprise but innovating how you deliver that to customers and make their lives easier while doing it.
Tips on Technology & Constant Innovation
- Focus on what you can do within your own context. Remember that every technological innovation starts with how to solve a localized problem. We are all aware of a problem that needs solving within a national or continental context. What possible solutions can you create to meet those needs?
- The next industrial revolution is assessed to be a digital one. This is a wide space to operate and you do not have to be the only one doing everything. Seek cooperation and partnerships that can add value to specific areas you want to engage in and leverage capabilities and strengths.
- Remember that this is a business. The reward must exceed effort for it to be profitable. Do not just think of altruistic solutions. Think of the profitable ones too.
- This is a fast-paced environment. You are going to have to work on your toes and frequently on a deadline to deliver a service or product before your many competitors do the exact same thing, or even better! Always work to deliver on a clock.
- Always consider the intellectual property of what you do. Your money lies not in the idea but your particular expression of that idea. Make sure you have a lawyer who can file your patent, trademark, and other key parts of your business that need to be protected. Take a look at our advisory on “Building a Legally Compliant Business” in Nigeria to get you started.