The Sauce and the Spice

DESIGN THINKING – THE INGREDIENT YOUR BUSINESS NEEDS TO KEEP UP WITH THE FAST-PACED EVOLUTION IN TODAY’S MARKET PLACE.

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The world is consistently changing and the speed can be likened to that of Arya Stark when she stealthily moved in on the Night Kind and drove a dagger through his belly in the recently concluded Game of Thrones series. Like the Night King, if businesses fail to take a hold of this speed or anticipate the next change (trend) then a dagger might be driven through its belly and put it out of business. Design Thinking is the ingredient businesses need to keep up with the pace (become agile) of customer evolution and ensure sustainability. My friend, Vin Diesel said in Riddick “if you can’t keep up, don’t step up”.

What is Design Thinking?

This is the art of adopting a process that keeps the consumer (target audience) as the focal point of your business. Many times businesses employ strategies as a result of data they dug up about their existing competitors – wrong move. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to know what your competition is doing to reach your audience but it is more important for you to watch and anticipate what your audience is doing or what they might do. This way you’ll have a more pragmatic approach to reaching them, otherwise, you’ll struggle to adopt the right strategies to reach the consumer; you’ll become reactive instead of proactive.

Design thinking makes you proactive, not reactive – it eliminates the knee jerk phenomenon.

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Why Design Thinking?

It gives your marketing communication a direction and lays emphasis on designing marketing materials on purpose – brand proposition.

Designing on purpose builds relevance and leads to a culture that will resonant with the target market. Consequently, using purposeful design will also create a connection which will broaden the impact of all brand activation programs, and brand experience. The brand that uses design thinking as a strategic advantage creates things that people have to have - Bizcommunity.

This approach really can’t be overemphasized especially in this digital age wherein everything is ‘supposed’ to be connected.

International brands like Nike, Google, Apple, and Amazon have adopted the Design Thinking strategy and it’s a no brainer how they come up with products every now and then that you and I always have to have.

Design Your Life – A Guide to Personal Branding

PEOPLE TEND TO NEGLECT THE NEED FOR PERSONAL BRANDING – WRONG MOVE. AS THE WORLD CONTINUALLY GETS SMALLER AND EVERYONE IS SEEMINGLY PUTTING OUT CONTENT, THE NEED FOR PERSONAL BRANDING BECOMES IMPERATIVE.

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What is personal branding?

Your personal brand is how you promote yourself. It is the unique combination of skills, experience, and personality that you want the world to see you. It is the telling of your story, and how it reflects your conduct, behavior, spoken and unspoken words, and attitudes – influencer’s hub.

In a nutshell, your personal branding is your identity. It is the features that exude and represents your personality. It may be in the form of colors, style of dressing, food, how you walk, choice of words, tone of voice – it is basically everything that defines you.

Why is personal branding important?

It this electronic concrete jungle in which we live in today, man is king and content is the kingmaker. Therefore, whatever content you put out must exude your personality otherwise you risk the danger of identity crisis, your audience doesn’t know who you are and worst case scenario is that you don’t know who you are.

Personal branding isn’t about living fake lives and making people believe what you are not, in fact, it is about being the best version of you and putting it out for those who care to indulge. Personal branding helps you stand out – there are over 7 billion people in the world today, trust me you don’t want to just be among the number. Don’t you want to be the modern day Achilles? So that your tale might be told for a thousand years.

Note: Personal branding requires, effort, and dedication. Like Achilles, it took him time to train, efforts in many battles, and a dedication to succeed.

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How to achieve a good personal brand in today’s modern stage?

1: Know who you are

You need to know who you are, what you love, the things you really believe, your principles, these form your character and your character translates into your brand.

2: Create your own space

You need a place from which you can interact with people as well as showcase yourself. This could be social media accounts such as YouTube, Facebook or Instagram, and a personal website.

3: Always put your best foot forward

Showcase your strengths, your unique selling proposition. Like Achilles, he never focused on his heel but his ability to win battles (skill with the sword and ability to lead).

4: Become a Subject Matter Expert (go-to-guy)

Once you know what makes you different and what your strengths are, develop it (learn as much as you can on whatever your strengths are) so that when people need someone for that reason, they’ll think of you.

6: Be consistent

Two things I’d like you to note that has already been said in this article are; remember it takes time, effort, and DEDICATION to build a personal brand – you must be willing to commit to what you are building, and remember content is the kingmaker but consistency makes the kingmaker.

Why personal branding?

The purpose of personal branding isn’t to just sell yourself or a product but to give a perception of yourself. This way you gain automatic acceptability when you walk into places that people there are familiar with your brand. It opens more opportunities to you and makes you walk under a different kind of spotlight from the other 7 billion people in the world.

Creativity With Purpose

O2 ACADEMY CREATES FIRST OF ITS KIND 3D ZEBRA CROSSING IN NIGERIA TO CURB THE RATE OF CAR ACCIDENTS.

Source: Auto Report Ng

Source: Auto Report Ng

Creativity with purpose stems from the need to address a problem. Every great advertising content that was ever put out were those which were directly aimed at addressing a need.

Driving in Nigeria can be described as formula 1 without the race tracks as it nearly seems as if the traffic rules don’t exist, thanks to the necessary authorities, all that is being addressed decisively. Well, I am of the school of thought that believes that there’s no problem on the surface of the earth that’s solely dependent on one person or body to fix, gladly, advertising shares this belief as well.

An advertising school situated in Lagos Nigeria, O2 Academy, took to problem-solving by applying design thinking to reduce the rate of accidents and mortality on a Lagos road. In April 2019, O2 Academy designed the first of its kind 3D zebra crossing – now that’s one road sign many Nigerians seem not to recognize. I remember one time I chose not to drive because I was feeling a certain way in my body. I got to a busy road in Nigeria and needed to cross over to the other side so I stood at a zebra crossing, I was there for nearly 45mins –not kidding- before someone eventually stopped to let me through.

In my opinion, this is one of the most innovative solutions I’ve seen this year.

Kudos O2 Academy.

And just so you’d know; O2 Academy is the first advertising school in the Middle East and Africa, aside from South Africa, to win the Loerie awards.” The school participated in a Facebook challenge targeting students at advertising schools across the Middle-East and Africa. The students of O2 Academy won bronze for their campaign against cholera – Thisisafrica.

Everyone Needs a Workstation

SHARED WORK SPACE HAVE BECOME THE TREND IN NIGERIA AS BUSINESSES ARE OPENING UP THEIR SPACES TO OTHERS.

Source: Dissolve

Source: Dissolve

Every superhero needs a lair, an army needs a base, a workforce needs a workstation but the trend we are beginning to notice is that these workstations are now being shared. Take a moment to imagine Batman and Iron man sharing the same lair, or the Zimbabwean army sharing a base with the Tunisian army, it might be chaotic at the beginning but for the mere fact that they are working towards a common goal, they’ll eventually find a way co-exist. Remember we’ve seen superheroes share the same lair in Justice League and The Avengers.

This workstation sharing trend is largely being observed in Nigeria as there are a number of businesses who have opened up their spaces to be used by other organizations; mostly startups. The workstation or shared workspace idea is highly appreciated by the fast-growing middle class in the country because it is a more cost-effective way of doing business as you do not have to spend so much money acquiring a space, just share it. You’ll also have ad-hoc staff as well as basic needs like the internet, office equipment at your disposal, all you need do is pay the cost the service provider has requested.

My colleague went to visit a friend of hers who just begun his startup, his organization has only one staff – him, but when she got there, there were quite a number of people. She inquired and found that the space was being shared.

Source: Xliveafrica

Source: Xliveafrica

Initially, When this trend was about to hit the ground some time ago a couple of people kicked back, saying it wasn’t going to work solely because the environment cannot be controlled. What they meant was, there’ll be more than one C.E.O; nobody would be the boss of anybody except for those who work directly with them – no holds barred. In order to curb such problems from arising, shared workspace or workstation providers made rules and policies that one must agree to before renting a space. Those policies have helped to foster peace as well as grow the business.

Just so you know, I’m writing this article from a shared workspace also known as a workstation.

Democracy or The-More-Crazy?

Will democracy in Africa become a fleeting memory or it will continually be our way of living? Not sure, what do you TINK?

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The last thirteen years have been a story declining freedom and it’s really disheartening. The most recent event being the coup d'état experienced in Sudan. Although this trend is not limited to Africa as we have seen unsettling events occur in other countries like Venezuela, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Serbia, Hungary, and so on. For the purpose of this article, I will limit concern to Africa alone.

These unsettling events are largely political and are the root cause of the civil wars experienced thus far. In a recent report released by Freedom House, Freedom in the World 2019 shows the state of many African countries today as they have journeyed from Free to partly free to not free.

Source: Freedom House

Source: Freedom House

In Uganda status declined from Partly Free to Not Free due to attempts by long-ruling president Yoweri Museveni’s government to restrict free expression, including through surveillance of electronic communications and a regressive tax on social media use.

In Zimbabwe status improved from Not Free to Partly Free because the 2018 presidential election, though deeply flawed, granted a degree of legitimacy to the rule of President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who had taken power after the military forced his predecessor’s resignation in 2017

In Angola, new president João Lourenço took notable actions against corruption and impunity, reducing the out sized influence of his long-ruling predecessor’s family and granting the courts greater independence.

In Ethiopia, the monopolistic ruling party began to loosen its grip in response to three years of protests, installing a reform-minded prime minister who oversaw the lifting of a state of emergency, the release of political prisoners, and the creation of space for more public discussion of political issues.

More often than not, political opposition in countries across the continent has met a different fate as governments have used a variety of tactics to restrict freedoms and dissent. These include shutting down the internet (Cameroon, Zimbabwe), imposing social media taxes (Uganda), and imposing blogger licenses (Tanzania). Governments have also resorted to outright violence in Burundi, Senegal, Togo, and Zambia.

Source: Bizcommunity

Source: Bizcommunity

Freedom House’s 2019 Freedom in the World Report further suggests that political liberalization in countries like Ethiopia and The Gambia belies “creeping restrictions” and a general trend toward authoritarian behavior.

This trend is confirmed in the most recent survey conducted by Afrobarometer, an independent African research network. It was conducted between late 2016 and late 2018 in 34 countries. On average across all the countries surveyed, citizens appeared to confirm that civic and political space was closing. Many also expressed a willingness to accept restrictions on their liberties in the name of security.

In a bid to secure we take steps that restrict and encage people, this is everything democracy is not. Owing to this rising trend, what would our beloved Africa be like tomorrow?