Wilfred Mutua Mworia's (Old) Blog (Now at Afrinnovator.com)

Icon

Information for tech enthusiasts, hobbyists, devs, tech startup founders and tech entrepreneurs

The H-Factor: Innovating by Following your Hunch

Someone once said that good things happen over time, but truly great things happen all at once (I think it was from some movie). Anyway, the point is that sometimes, in the mind of an innovator or creator of any kind – an artist, sculptor, poet, software engineer or whatever other creative work you can think of – a spark goes off, something inexplicable, a magic moment of sorts, a period of such amazing insight. In fact more often than not it is not totally clear to the creator what it is. It may not even make sense at the time. You just have this itching drive, as if destiny is calling. We don’t have a clear definition of what this thing is so we call it… a ‘hunch’, a ‘gut feeling’ or sometimes ‘intuition’. In an awesome TED talk, Elizabeth Gilbert tries ponders this mystery:


Some of the most amazing inventions and innovations have been the result, not of in depth research and analytical market studies to find out what the customers need and whether the product fits the market, but simply of this almost mysterious thing we call a ‘hunch’ I believe that probably one of the biggest undoings of major corporations is to ignore the ‘H-factor’, the ‘hunch factor’. The problem with running a business, and this is typical (i think) of even the brightest startups once they become major corporations is exactly that – running the business! What I mean is all of a sudden you are caught up in balancing balance sheets and worrying about so many other things, trying to quantify everything, trying to justify everything – and I’m not saying this is a BAD THING. But it becomes an impediment when it becomes the primary focus, overshadowing the very thing that began the enterprise (remember those startup days, when you just went with what just, plain and simple ‘made sense‘ to do? Just read this article by Joe Wilcox, about how this very thing could have been a crippling factor for one of the largest corporations globally in the last decade, Microsoft. (Someone said if you’re a startup, hire MBAs last, fire MBAs first – No pun intended to all MBAs) On the contrary, the H-factor has propelled to amazing success, such seemingly trivial ideas as ‘letting people know what you are doing in 140 letters or less’ (also known as Twitter). Watch Twitter, co-founder Evan Williams explaining this:

The moral of this whole story is simple – Don’t ignore the H-factor; not everything is measurable. (In fact trying ‘formal’ approaches to some ideas destroys the idea itself – imagine if the first thing the Twitter founders did was to commission a market research on ‘whether people would want to tell others what they are doing in 140 characters or less’!)

This is why I like simple ideas, ideas that make sense without having to scratch your head for 5 minutes about it. In fact, if you can pitch your idea in a sentence (like this guys pitched his startup idea to Guy Kawasaki on an elevator) and get the whole idea out there in principle and have someone understand it and how it would possibly work (in principle); you’ve got a winner. I’ve had the opportunity to judge at several business plan competitions or to judge at some student project presentations and almost always, I could tell whether it was a brilliant idea or not within the first one minute of the presentation.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , ,

Presentation: On Innovation – Aliens vs. Robots

I presented this yesterday at the graduation of JKUAT’ Endeavor Program MIT-AITIx. It was great to see the good stuff happening there with mobile tech training and innovation. I was thoroughly impressed by the student’s efforts.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , ,

Presentation: (Technology) Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mobile Technology and Entrepreneurship (in Kenya)

I presented this at the 10th Annual Strathmore University ICT Conference: Opportunities and Challenges Towards an Entrpreneurial Economy

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , ,

RSS Afrinnovator.com

  • Departmentalizing innovation
    A common trend amongst larger companies nowadays is the creation of a formalized department or section within the organization that specializes in innovation. They are meant to be the people who innovate.This strategy is often informed largely by the need to be perceived as pushing an innovation agenda or having a 'focus on innovation' which attrac […]
  • The Wantrapreneur Chronicles #4: Failure
    A lot has been said about the role of failure in the shaping of an entrepreneur. It is evident that one of the defining characteristics of innovation hubs such as Silicon Valley is a high tolerance of failure. The experience in my own cultural experience on the other hand is that failure is generally frowned upon. Our culture as a country (Kenya) particularl […]
  • The Wantrapreneur Chronicles #3: Angels
    Land, labor, capital. The 3 classical factors of production that an entrepreneur has to bring together to carry out some venture. When it comes to financing the dream, the options at the initial stages of a venture are limited. Furthermore seed/startup stage ventures carry a larger burden of risk. Sometimes the entrepreneur (or Wantrapreneur) has some saving […]
  • Why innovation in payment systems is important for entrepreneurship
    Look around you. Chances are that at least 90% of everything around you is there because of entrepreneurship.There's a Swahili saying that says, 'ukiona vya elea, jua vimeundwa', translated literally as 'if things exist, it is because they have been made'. The meaning is very simple: things don't just happen by themselves.In the […]
  • The best sales & marketing strategy is...
    Value creation.In a nutshell: Create value for your customers to the point that they want (and are even eager) to pay you. Create value for your customers to the point that they are willing to talk to other people about you and your product or service and recommend you.Why?The reason is simple: first of all people generally tend to do business with people th […]
  • The Wantrapreneur Chronicles #2: The Wantrapreneur
    This segment is dubbed the 'Wantrapreneur Chronicles' because I think that's how I got started. Who or what is a 'Wantrapreneur'? Sometimes the word is used in a derogatory manner to mean someone who is not a real entrepreneur but is more like a pretender - they love the idea of entrepreneurship but don't want actually do the […]
  • Using innovation and creativity to get out of a crisis
    Entrepreneurship, as with life in general, is a risky business. One of the hallmark characteristics of the quintessential entrepreneur is the boldness to take risks. However, with risk comes the potential for failure and the wrong decision can wind you up in a crisis situation. Entrepreneurs therefore have to develop the capacity to handle crisis with poise. […]
  • The Wantrapreneur Chronicles #1: Circumstance
    "Are entrepreneurs born or made?"Of course they're all born! One person remarked (get the joke?). Seriously though, this is one of those questions that you find being asked at entrepreneurship forums and the like. The real question is: is there something special about entrepreneurs, that sets them apart from the rest of us? Something that is n […]
  • To change the world start with your next customer
    The desire to 'change the world' has been attributed especially to the so-called 'millenial' generation as a form of 'entrepreneurial idealism'. However, millenials aside, entrepreneurs really do change the world!The name Percival Elliott Fansler might not ring a bell but you should remember it the next time you are taking a fli […]
  • Is innovation what you do when your back is against the wall?
    I remember watching the movie, 127 Hours. In a dire situation, facing almost certain death, his hand lodged by a rock against a crevice, the main character in the movie does the unthinkable to save himself – he chops off his own arm! Usually people will behave in the same manner when pushed against a wall, they will find some 'creative', if painful […]
  • Creating Sustainable SMEs
    An except from an article I recently wrote for The Broker.SMEs are the lifeblood of most economies. Thankfully, there is no limit to human capacity for innovation – the bedrock upon which entrepreneurship is built. Enabling entrepreneurship should be of foremost importance to governments and can be promoted by establishing three main pillars, which will lay […]
  • Go big or go home. Really?
    When I started out I had this idea that I had to be big, well, not me (literally) but my startup. 'Go big or go home' as they say. Especially by virtue of being in tech, there's a tendency to think this way, that you have to scale to massive proportions, you have to be a 'growth startup'. Be the next Facebook or the next Google! You […]
  • Fallacies of entrepreneurship
    I've been involved in the so-called 'Silicon Savannah' to varying degrees since almost the beginning of this incarnation of the tech/software industry in Kenya.Recently, I had a conversation with someone who runs an entrepreneurship consultancy & capacity building firm. They've worked with entrepreneurs in several sectors including th […]
  • Venture Capital Lessons from the Shark Tank
    I was watching the Shark Tank episode where James Martin, founder of Copa di Vino turned down an offer from the sharks for a second time. The first time he came on the show he had an 'unproven' business model with a modest $500,000 in revenue seeking an investment of $600,000 in exchange for 30% of his business. Kevin O'Leary made him an offer […]
  • Why is it so hard to implement innovation?
    One word: 'Culture'.Culture is the single biggest hurdle any established organization has to go over to become truly innovative. Why? It's simple: innovation is not just about stuff you do, it's about who you are as a company; it is a culture.It is not just about thinking up new ideas, nor even about implementing those ideas. You can do t […]
  • Productivity Hacking: Enter the 'Productivity Hacker'
    Most, if not everyone, reading this article will be familiar with the term "Growth Hacker" and "Growth Hacking", a form of data-driven, aggressively growth-focused marketing. Originally coined by one Sean Ellis (according to Wikipedia), who defined the term 'Growth Hacker' as:A growth hacker is a person whose true north is growt […]
  • Productivity: What do you have and what are you getting out of it?
    My last entry continued the thought pattern regarding what I have concluded, from my own experience and from observation, are the two greatest challenges faced by startups and entrepreneurs: capacity and consistency. In the last post, I did some rough math to show the critical importance of building capacity, especially, human resource capacity (skills, know […]
  • Show me the money: of cash and capital in startup enterprises
    In the last article, I discussed what I think are the two greatest challenges that I have faced in the past, which I also think many entrepreneurs, particularly in the African (or developing world) setting, face: Capacity: Which I would simply summarize as: the ability to execute (effectively and efficiently) - specifically with regards to financial  and […]
  • The two great challenges that every startup faces
    This is my first article in more than 6 months, it also happens to be a unique one for two other reasons: firstly, I am writing from a personal perspective, unlike the ordinary subject-matter content I write, and  secondly,  the issues I raise here are the two key challenges I have identified in my experience of building up the vision that I have for Afrinno […]
  • Kenya: The Internet & Freedom of Information
    The name ‘Edward Snowden’ has become familiar with many people. His revelations about the lengths to which government intelligence agencies in the US and UK have gone to in order to gather information about people’s actions online came as a shock to many. Some have since come to regard him as a hero, whereas others consider him a traitor to his nation. Which […]
Afrinnovator.com
Mobile Web East Africa
TEDxYouthInspire 2010

My Flickr Photostream

IMG_0789

IMG_0786

IMG_0784

IMG_0781

IMG_0795

More Photos
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.