By Kin Kariisa
Innovation is the new buzz word in business and with it comes a disruption that if we are not prepared for, will leave many behind. For us in the broadcasting world, it has manifested itself through digital and social media which has seen many of us adapt to the changing times and technology. This has shrunk the market and has disrupted the way traditional media was used to doing business. We have had to innovate and learn to do more with less. With less money, less human resources and less equipment; stretching everything to its maximum limit. Where in the past we had OB (Outdoor Broadcasting) vans to gather news and cover live events, we now have smart technology and equipment that allow for a single individual to do more or less what it required close to 15 people in just a short period ago.
As it goes, this type of disruption has been good for industries across the world and we must embrace it as we strive to develop and grow our businesses in a challenging and fast changing world. Globally, we have seen innovations like the transportation mobile app, Uber and the mobile communications app WhatsApp which have led to disruption in their respective industries. Reduced costs for these services mean that the traditional ways of moving by taxi and communicating by phone have forced existing businesses in these industries to innovate and find new ways of attracting customers and compete more favourably.
They are now required to take advantage of the trends, technologies and innovations available today in order to stay in business. Make no mistake; every business will be disrupted, including politics. Some businesses will close.
Looking at today’s emerging markets made up of mostly the youth, they are tech savvy and eager to adapt. And the internet is playing a big role in this.
As of July 1 2017, Uganda is going to see internet rates drop which will lead to even more businesses being disrupted and nowhere more is this being engineered than in the agricultural sector. As Uganda’s leading sector, Agriculture is poised to be the growth driver for our economy with government providing subsidies in the form of e-vouchers to facilitate payments to suppliers for fertilisers, seeds and the like. We need a mindset change to have more tech savvy young professionals engaged in agriculture – those who can use and take advantage of technology to grow their businesses. There must be a combined effort of policy makers, government officials and the educated Ugandans who are prepared to prosper in an increasingly changing world.
In East Africa, we see Kenya leading the way with their own version of the Uber app, the widely successful mobile money app M-Pesa and the recently introduced MPost which is an innovative product that enables any mobile phone user to use his/her phone to receive letters. It allows you to make your mobile number a formal postal address. These alone have made it necessary for the existing businesses in Kenya to innovate and diversify before they are driven out of business.
During this year’s NBS/LeO Africa Economic Forum, (an annual gathering of innovators, social entrepreneurs, young and emerging leaders, and key decision makers in the private and public sectors in East Africa) which will take place on July 7, we intend to tackle a wide range of topics ranging from current trends, opportunities and the future of innovations in our market place.
The Forum will be broadcast live and I encourage all innovators, entrepreneurs and emerging leaders to attend and connect with leaders in the region.
Mr Kariisa is the chairman, National Association of Broadcasters and Chief Executive Officer, NBS TV.