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centralised models in Europe and the United States (espe- cially as) these markets are becoming more uncertain and complex”. Uber, Airbnb and other quickly emerging competitors are provoking the low delta organisations to respond to these changes.


Experimental mind-set


Safaricom are the leading telecommunications com- pany in Kenya. Tey have managed to leapfrog ahead of the global, mobile bank- ing world’s challenges with regulation constraints, by entering a number of years ago into an unconventional partnership with both their local government and the leading local bank. Te regula- tors allowed the initial formation of this mobile banking platform on an experimental basis, without any formal approval. Today they have over 20 mil- lion customers, with the most success- ful mobile banking services in Africa.


Simplify the complexity Safaricom’s mobile banking was devel- oped around their customers' need for a simple process that allows Kenyans to transfer money via basic technology, SMS. Teir services have evolved and include: loans, savings products, salary disbursements and payment of bills. Tey are able to gain data analytics from previously unknown populations. Te revenue generated through their mobile banking is valued at almost half the value of Kenya’s GDP. Tey have managed to bank the ‘unbankable’ – a huge portion of the population, low income earners, that do not have the sufficient West- ern standard credit rating scores to receive loans, are now included in Safaricom’s client base. Tey have revenues of over US $1 billion.


Contextual intelligence What works in one country cannot necessarily be duplicated in another. Global best practices, without local context, can be compared to driving a car at night on a busy highway with- out lights – the chances of crashing are high. Tarun Khanna, in Harvard Business Review, in his article ‘Contex-


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things in the second curve of low delta markets.” As volatility increases and the speed of change impacts the global market, some practices to consider when responding to these 'wicked problems' include developing trusted networks, developing a freelance econ- omy model and an experi- mental mind-set. Finally try to simplify complexity and look at change in context – what works in one environ- ment may not in another.


Call to action Tere are some ques-


tual Intelligence’ explored this theme. He defined ‘contextual intelligence’ as “the ability to understand the limits of our knowledge and to adapt that knowledge to an environment different from the one in which it was developed … until we apply this intelligence the failure rate for cross-border businesses will remain high … even billion-dol- lar corporations need to think like entrepreneurs (namely) – test assump- tions, and to experiment in order to learn, cheaply and quickly, what doesn’t work … companies shouldn’t analyze experimental results to the point of exhaustion but instead to develop the capacity to act speedily on results … accept up front that you know less than you think you do, and that your operating model will have to change”. He says that developing countries


“lack the data sources” of developed countries. Te processes, methods and measurements that work in developed countries may not work in developing countries. “Instead of relying on conventional market research, such as hiring outsiders to do market research, (local) managers should conduct their own experiments to learn about the local context”.


Emergent themes


Kirshbaum said, “High delta markets are very fragmented…and they are going to stay that way. Te people who will succeed will build for fragmenta- tion and complexity. Low-delta mar- kets are going to become much more fragmented. Tere are lessons from low delta markets on how to structure


Akiva Beebe is director of business development for sub-Saharan Africa at the Center for Creative Leadership.


Reference 1 Jeremy Kirshbaum, ‘What High Delta Markets tell us About the Platform Econ- omy’, Institute for the Future, April 2016


| june 2016 | 31 tions to ask that will deter-


mine where you focus.  What are the problems you could help your customer solve, which they are not even dis- cussing with you at present?


 How could you strengthen the relationship with your target audience and build a strong- er partnership with them? How can you make their lives easier?


Spend time developing razor-sharp clarity on the problem. Te pro- ject team often too quickly jumps into problem-solving, without fully grasping the extent of the prob-


lem that needs to be solved.  What problem is your change process addressing?


 What if your past success is actually your biggest constraint, holding you back and possibly sabotaging your future growth? How will you know?


 Who is your radical outsid- er that you will listen to?


Leaders around the globe are facing wicked problems, many get lost in uncertainties and cognitive bias- es; while others have a clear vision, shaping the future today.


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