Pick up a newspaper, a walk down the road, or simply mind your own business – you will not help it but there are problems everywhere. From animal poaching to potholes, the list does not end. Well at least that is the case in South Africa, and I do suspect it is the same for almost any African continent – problems are everywhere.
We awfully complain about a whole lot of issues in South Africa, or about Africa in general. On how woke Africa needs to be, how it should light up and be progressive like many other nations. And we do so, so passively, by complaining instead of properly questioning the governing systems that has led to the spills of many problems we have.
The degree of which we go about addressing these issues, has gotten so deep, we are starting to think and act like the media houses that share these very same stories with us. We can even predict what the next headliner is. Our media houses are excellent complainers in society (as they claim to be the voice of society), but what must society do with all of that. Honestly speaking, from where I stand it’s a lot to comprehend.
So many wrongs needed to be fixed at every corner.
From politics, to business, unemployment, student loans, we are so immersed in all of these, we fail to escape them. Or do we actually have to, or should we confront them?
Let’s say, for argument’s sake or for the purposes of this publication we aim at confronting them.
At what level do we approach these problems?
Allow me to introduce a Human Centred Approach to solving problems or as the Internet of things calls it, design thinking.
Has anyone noticed how we never mastered the skill of solving problems in South Africa? Not only we lack a long term outlook on a problem but for some odd reason, we fail to grasp the essence of the problem.
Let’s start with a bigger influence:
Globalisation has allowed organic systems across the world cross boundaries into other continents influencing cultures, and the way people live. As time went, Multinational companies then came, infusing their won OS into how things should be
All of those allowed us, to think global, and ignore local customs, that are uniquely special to each the country, and so we forget, and start solving local problems with an international mindset; a systematic thinking that does not allow us to get to the core root of a problem. In the longest time, we start to apply these in a way that is habitual.
We start to look but can’t see.
Listen but can’t hear.
Touch but can’t feel.
If we actually do look and really see the problem, it is often from our own perspective and not that of the problem.
If we listen and hear, it is because we choose what we want to hear. It is never genuine, and that’s how we fail to understand problems.
All of these, looking and seeing, listening and hearing, touching and feeling, are the core principles of design thinking and if utilised properly, Africa will prosper.
Design thinking forces us to feel what others feel, hear what others hear, and see what it is that people are truly going through.
How do entrepreneurs fit into this dilemma?
Entrepreneurs need to listen and hear, touch and actually feel and look and actually see things for what they truly are, and this is the beginning of a true creative revolution.
Instead of entrepreneurs designing companies or products first, they need to challenge themselves, understand with proper analysis and depth their world, their landscape, the deep problems and the system that keeps and challenge them with a design thinking intuition.