Passion is the main driver of disruptive innovation.
Ever since Clayton Christensen introduced the concept of disruptive innovation in his groundbreaking book, The Innovator’s Dilemma the term “disruption” has become the buzzword of choice. Unfortunately, it has also become dangerously misunderstood.
One of the more popular phrases entrepreneurs search for on Google is “how to disrupt an industry.” They’ve become so influenced by marketplace companies and unicorns like Airbnb and Lyft that they no longer want to insert themselves among the competition. They look to shake up the traditional way of doing things and change people’s buying habits and preferences.
Disrupting an industry or driving real change starts with believing in yourself and your ability to make it happen. You have to love what you do. It’s hard to succeed at anything if you’re not passionate about it. Many people become jaded in their careers because they stop believing that they can make a difference. A doctor who has grown a calloused heart because he doesn’t believe in the treatment he provides or a teacher who stops believing she can inspire the next generation are two great examples of that. Success comes from failing many times until you find another way.
People throw the word passion around too easily. Many a corporate job description is to blame for this. “Must be passionate about hitting targets” or “passionate about paying attention to detail.” They’ve poured water on the flames of our real passions by asking us to take something we’re good at, or even like doing, and call it a “passion.” And there’s a world of difference between enjoying something and being passionate about it.
Read Also: 5 Steps To Make Money From Your Passion
In this article, i will not talk about my experience or the theory of motivation. i will like to share the experience of a marketer – David Abehsera the President and Co-founding Partner at The Woo who is also a member at Forbes council. His experience will give us a better and deeper insight of what passion can bring out.
As a marketer, change starts with a real understanding of your brand. Let’s say, for example, that an outdated brand comes to you in hopes of reinventing itself, trying to appeal more broadly to a younger audience. Before you jump into a full redesign with trendy iconography and witty communication touchpoints, it’s important to know the brand, understand its mission and identify one product or service that appeals most to the new demographic’s lifestyle or mindset.
The most successful clients I’ve worked with are renegades, passionate about their brand and never satisfied with the status quo. They believe that things need to change and say things like, “I don’t plan to hide in the corner and collect a paycheck; I plan to work on making a difference and either get fired trying or help this company do better than ever before.” The agency I co-founded, The Woo, has found success by finding these types of people and partnering with them to do whatever it takes to achieve and exceed their goals.
I suggest working with brands that you have a vested interest in helping succeed. Perhaps it’s a restaurant chain that brings back memories of your youth or an apparel company that needs a new direction. Work with brands that want to make a difference, that share the same values and core beliefs as you. Interview them and boldly tell them what you would do if hired. You might be surprised by how much they love hearing what you have to offer.
In today’s digital landscape, the marketing industry is better positioned than ever before to drive deeper engagement and overall success thanks to smarter, faster tools. We can test our efforts where it makes sense and adjust until we find the perfect mix for any specific challenge. In this business, we’re able to bring fresh thinking and creative solutions to help clients achieve and exceed their goals at the highest levels.
“Let’s make Africa a digital Africa,” Jack Ma tells entrepreneurs
From Madagascar to Liberia, Africa’s “digital lions” are preparing to roar, speakers said at an event co-organized by UNCTAD, the Alibaba Business School and the Jack Ma Foundation at South Africa’s Wits University on 8 August. The day-long e-commerce and technology event featured an announcement by Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, of a $10 million prize fund for African internet entrepreneurs, to be known as the African Netpreneur Prize. “Let’s make Africa a digital Africa,” Mr. Ma said at the event, dubbed Netpreneurs: The Rise of Africa’s Digital Lions. Mr. Ma, who currently serves as UNCTAD special adviser for young entrepreneurs and small business, said he always believed that “when everything is ready it’s always too late” for entrepreneurs. Their role is to create the conditions to prosper, not wait for them. Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon said by video that he would sit on the African Netpreneur Prize advisory board. “All young Africans should seize the opportunity to aim high,” Mr. Ban said. “Put your best foot forward and I look forward to your application to the African Netpreneur Prize.”
Around 30 African graduates of the eFounders Fellowship Programme, launched in 2017 and run by UNCTAD and the Alibaba Business School, also attended the event. “Those of us from Africa, and friends of Africa, are facing the challenge of how to convert the young talents emerging in Africa into a dividend and not a curse,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said.
“As everyone keeps telling them ‘go and make employment for yourself,’ how can we make it possible for them to create employment?” he said.
“Since last year, UNCTAD and Alibaba have been recruiting a number of young net entrepreneurs and sending them to Alibaba Business School in Hangzhou, China, for a short intense training on the possibilities on electronic market platforms, gaining visibility on the global market through remote technology and liberating small-scale producers through a conscious, purposeful impact investment in linking them to the electronic market.”
Dr. Kituyi described these eFounders fellows as the start of “an army of impatient entrepreneurs” that will ignite a digital revolution in Africa.
Kenyan eFounder fellow Catherine Mahugu described her journey as a technology professional and entrepreneur. After her encounter with Alibaba in Hangzhou she founded an e-commerce coffee export firm.
Another, Nigerian eFounder fellow Adetayo Bamidura, founded MAX, a platform that uses mobile apps to connect businesses and commuters to safe and affordable motorcycle-taxis on demand.
South Africa’s science and technology minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said “innovation coupled with entrepreneurship is the engine of growth of any modern economy”.
“The emerging fourth industrial revolution, which will affect and change the whole world, demands that we invest in information and communication technology infrastructure – otherwise we will be spectators of this revolution and not active participants,” she said.
Wits University acting vice chancellor Tawana Kupe asked “Where is Africa in the fourth industrial revolution?”
Three panel discussions were held in answer, the first on how governments and policymakers can nurture innovation in the digital economy.
Botswana’s investment, trade and industry minister Bogolo Kenewendo said the “last mile” of internet infrastructure was often the hardest in Africa, but “policy infrastructure” in terms of laws, regulations and government awareness of the issues was at least as important.
South African economist Miriam Altman agreed, and said that digital infrastructure was often seen by African governments as “something extra” on top of traditional infrastructure needs like water and electricity.
University of Johannesburg vice-chancellor and principal Tshilidzi Marwala added that he thought governments should make provision for free Wi-Fi, as well as “virtual economic zones” to spur investment.
“I have to be honest, the digital economy concept has been so slow to catch on in governments,” Ms. Kenewendo said.
This included in “soft” policy areas like education as well as in “hard” infrastructure like broadband, she said.
For Ms. Altman, “kids get it,” but “institutions often don’t.”
She said that basic standard-setting and building a digital infrastructure was incumbent on governments – not just in Africa – and e-commerce would flow from that.
Ms. Kenewondo said that young digitally-aware Africans should not afraid to be disruptors because “what we have now clearly isn’t working for us”.
“I encourage you to throw away your caution,” she said.
Panellists agreed that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was a welcome step toward freer regional circulation of goods, but much work remained to be done on transport logistics and connectivity.
Investing in talent
A second panel addressed access to capital and investment.
Mara Corporation founder Ashish J. Thakkar said that with M-Pesa, Kenya’s mobile money system, covering 98% of that country’s GDP, Africa had proved that it could develop, use and exploit new technologies.
AfricInvest venture capital director Selma Ribica said that M-Pesa’s success, and that of Nigerian ecommerce giant Jumia and others, was itself a spur to investment capital and now it was pouring in – to the tune of $500 million in 2017.
However, she cautioned, so far this flow of investment was unevenly distributed in a few sectors and mostly to just three African countries: Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.
IFC Venture Capital’s Africa head Wale Ayeni said that “angel investing” was in its infancy in Africa but this was changing.
A third panel considered skills gaps and employment for young people.
Wambui Kinya, chief strategy officer of Andela, a full-service tech talent agency which spots, trains and places African developers and other technology professionals, urged businesses in Africa not to look outside the continent for their technology service needs.
“Africa has the tech talent they need,” she said.
Hubs and ecosystems
Mr. Kupe said Wits University had launched a digital innovation hub five years ago in partnership with the private sector with students working in areas as diverse as fintech, health and gaming.
“Our challenge is to make digital life the ‘new normal’,” Mr. Kupe said of his university’s commitment to future-forward education. “We must change our mindset.”
Anna Ekeledo, executive director of AfriLabs, a community of 100 innovation hubs in 30 African countries aiming to build technical and entrepreneurial skills and engage in policy advocacy, said that the linkage between academia and innovation hubs needs to be strengthened.
She said she was looking forward to scaling businesses as a result of trade reforms under AfCFTA, and other ways of turbocharging the “enabling environment for digital ecosystems”.
As well as the panellists, eFounders fellows, students, other participants and dignitaries, the event was also attended by UN Women’s executive director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and China’s ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian.
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