Bosun Tijani | The Diary of a Knowledge Community Organiser | Page 2

My New Year Resolution – Wearable Tech to the Rescue?

New year, new resolution we say but a major part of mine has been on “auto carry over” since 2004. That was the year I became conscious of the need to take my health & fitness seriously. The reasons for the consciousness have however evolved over the years from mundane desires for 8 packs to the need to burn body fats, stay healthy and maintain a sharp mind.

Let’s face it, fitness can be daunting – being disciplined enough to follow a strict regime amidst other demands of our fast paced world isn’t as fun as many would like. Beyond discipline, a few of the popular means of staying fit can be boring – running alone in the park or around your neighborhood aren’t the most interesting use of time for so many of us.

However, I realized that I get excited about team sports because of their social nature and if given the chance, I’ll play football, lawn tennis, squash or badminton everyday. The determinants of whether I do sports are however controlled by a few variables out of my control i.e. venues, who to play with, my current location (am I home or on the road) and in certain cases, cost. I decided these barriers wouldn’t get in my way and founded Truppr (www.truppr.com) – a social tool that helps sport lovers organize and find teammates for their favorite sports. Truppr is currently in Alpha and slated to launch formally in March 2014. I’ll write about it in a separate post (in the meantime, give it a go – use it to organize your favorite sports).

After all said and done, this is 2014 and I am desperate to keep my weight below 90 from 111kg :-) . I needed to find the motivation to exercise up to 3-5 times a week and that’s where I once again turned to technology. The regime is not the goal but a means of achieving my desired state of health – I figured I’d stay put with the regime if I were able to monitor my progress on a daily basis. Perhaps not the weight loss but a change in life style as a result of the regime. The Nike Fuel Band seems to be one incredible device that may just rescue my New Year resolution. The FuelBand is “an activity tracker that is worn on the wrist as part of quantified self movement. The band allows its wearers to track their physical activity, steps taken daily, and amount of calories burned. The information from the wristband is integrated into a Nike+ online community and phone app, allowing wearers to set their own fitness goals, monitor their progression, and compare themselves to others”.

Integrating a fitness regime into my life style is one massive advantage of the Fuel Band in my opinion. It is no longer a 3-5 day affair but strands of efforts I make on a daily basis that contributes to moving me towards my goal. My options are now limitless – walk to work, dance to my favorite Nigerian songs, play football, run in the park and Wii Tennis. I have had my Fuel Band for 22 days amassing a total of 107,592 Nike Fuel with an average of 4,800 Fuel per day from a combination of activities. Here below are some of my activities, time taken and Nike Fuel earned.

Session Duration Nike Fuel
Football 01:39:29 1929
Running 01:28:31 2830
Table Tennis 01:30:52 1385
Dancing 01:15:56 1526
Running & Dancing 01:26:01 3225

This may just be another “long thing” but time will tell. I have lost 5kg to the last 22 days burning an average of 1564 calories per day (33, 408 for the entire period) – with minor changes in diet and lifestyle.

Follow me as I share my journey and experience with the Fuel Band on a monthly basis. However, don’t wait till it is too late before finding your own regime and motivation. It is the biggest gift you can give yourself.

25. January 2014 by 'Bosun Tijani
Categories: Uncategorized | 2 comments

“First of All, Introduction” (MXLab by CcHUB)

Welcome to a new year folks. Last year was so full of grace that I couldn’t help but share how pumped I was about our future at CcHUB. Twenty-Nine months ago, we set out to help animate a community of change agents who believe in building a strong base for Nigeria through technology. We were certain we could help accelerate a movement of people who are driven by the need to disrupt the status quo in Nigeria through smart application of technology. Quite a daunting task it turned out to be but I am thrilled by the steady and impressive progress being accomplished by the fabulous crew at CcHUB.

Over the past two (2) years, CcHUB (www.cchubnigeria.com) has worked with aspiring tech entrepreneurs who are finding interesting ways to address social issues in Nigeria in areas such as Governance, Education, Trade, Entertainment, Health and Financial Literacy. It has become clear that once these tools are created, the next critical step towards scalability is to connect with end users (especially in an environment where the vast majority is still not ‘tech savvy’). Resigning the engagement of end-users to post development is becoming costly and perhaps a source of early demise for most tech ventures in Nigeria.

In our usual style, we created a first of its kind Mobile Experience Lab from the necessity to bridge the gap between users and digital service providers in Nigeria. The aim of MX Lab is to help enhance the quality of local digital solutions; improve customer satisfaction; and accelerate smart application of technology.

We plan to achieve these through:

  1. Research: to generate, process and disseminate extensive knowledge and data to aid better understanding of the end-users by our community members
  2. Usability Testing: to provide usability testing with real users to help developers avoid poor user experience which can inherently ruin a product
  3. Evangelism: to sensitise and enlighten the community on the importance of usability and user experience in product development.

For the everyday Nigerians, the lab is a place where they can experience digital tools, applications and devices from multiple OEMs without feeling the pressure to buy. We’ll like to attract over 120 end-users into the space everyday to play with products, make informed decisions and give feedbacks to our community members. If you’re developing a new tool/product, the MXLab is your friend – perfect for testing and product launch.

It is one thing to have a dream – but completely another to have the resources to make it happen. Our sincere appreciation goes to The Schmidt Family Foundation and MTN Nigeria for their invaluable support and investment in the lab.

If you’re reading this post and didn’t receive the formal invite from CcHUB for the opening ceremony, please accept this as a personal invitation from me. Join us to celebrate yet another milestone. See details below:

Date: Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Time: 12 – 1pm

Venue: Co-creation Hub. Ground Floor, 294 Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo, Yaba, Lagos

See you there!

20. January 2014 by 'Bosun Tijani
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Graceful 2013 – thanks for pivoting CcHUB

The year my life ceased to be the same, one filled with immense reasons to celebrate and the burden to stay true to a vision and myself.

2013 witnessed the arrival of our daughter; Ademide Thea Tijani – who joined us in style on the 17th of May bringing with her promises, re-assurance and a deep family bond that I’ve promised to forever protect.

Professionally, this is one hell of an elegant year where assumptions got affirmed and partly redefined. I write knowing that the decision to ditch a lot of things for Co-Creation Hub in 2010 is one I’ll forever be glad I took. With lots learned and proven, CcHUB this year quietly pivoted and in my opinion positioned to accelerate its objective of contributing to economic growth in Nigeria by empowering social entrepreneurs to deliver us from some of our shackles.

This post is an attempt to share the highlights of the year and how they contribute to a stronger CcHUB. It isn’t about stock taking but a part of my diary that shares my excitement for 2014.

a). i-HQ – Innovation City: albeit cliché, it is unique in its own way. We conceptualised the i-HQ as part of our overall goal to accelerate the application of social capital (gains from collaboration amongst citizens) and technology for social good. A virtual tour was launched early 2013 http://cchubnigeria.com/i-HQ/ giving us the chance to sample the community’s opinion and engage key stakeholders.

Why i-HQ? Simple actually, we strongly believe a smart way to jump start an industry is to build an aggregation (cluster) of businesses in that industry and empower them with resources and a platform to collaborate. i-HQ isn’t Silicon Valley but an attempt to limit the numerous barriers in the way of technology innovation in Nigeria. After several presentations, including one to the Minister of CT and the LASG Exco, the year ended with:

  1. Approval being granted by LASG to MainOne to lay Fibre Optic Cable in Yaba and its environ
  2. Agreement by the Minister to situate the IDEA Hub in Yaba thus building a stronger tech community in the area
  3. Most importantly, Fibre is now in Yaba. I have been the happiest kid in town for the last months seeing Main One lay cable in nooks and crannies of the neighbourhood.

i-HQ is real so expect to see the other elements of the project come to life in 2014 (see the tour for info). However, this isn’t about CcHUB but the community. Projects of this nature present us a platform to leapfrog growth of tech in Nigeria – it is up to us all to make it count!

b). TEF/CcHUB Innovation Grant: blindly bashed this year, this initiative lived up to the reason it was setup and set to change the game significantly in 2014. The idea was simple; how to do we empower aspiring entrepreneurs to have a go at their ideas, demonstrate viability and ultimately their ability to lead a business? We all hear stories of how friends and families wrote the first cheque or how co-founders maxed credit cards to kick-start their ideas – however, how many families in Nigeria can write a 5,000$ cheque? Credit Card is certainly out of the question anyway.

In simple terms, TEF’s 5kUSD is your family, friends and fools. 18 “start-ups” have taken advantage of the scheme with over 10 moving into revenue generation, raised angel rounds or in the process of doing so. For others, it was an opportunity to fail quickly and learn about own limitations. I know some entrepreneurs claim to disagree with “grants” being on the balance sheet of start-ups – let’s not be deceived, it is a commonly used tool to spur and grow deal pipeline in high-risk industries. Very well used in almost all developed nations on earth.

TEF has agreed to do 50 grants in 2014, get in touch if you have a great idea but no dad, mum, uncle, girl/boy friend or friends to write you 5k$ cheque.

c). CcHUB Incubation: pre-incubation was planned to be our forte – we identified a huge gap in people being able to move from idea to prototype and thought we’d focus on bridging this gap. We wanted to create a pipeline of angel worthy ventures and attract other players to contribute to building a stronger ecosystem. We however quickly realized that:

  1. There wasn’t anyone else at the time interested in incubating social tech ventures (this is still the case to the best of my knowledge)
  2. Incubation isn’t particularly attractive or easy to sustain in Nigeria. So there wasn’t any one in the market able to absorb ventures coming out of CcHUB (Spark came few months after we decided to establish our Incubation space – and yes, with a different philosophy)

The addition meant investing in a new floor pushing our capacity to 3 floors in less than 2 years. This is however already paying off with over 80% of the incubatees in income generation phase thus forming a desirable community on top of our traditional pool of early stage ideas.

In 2014, I expect us to support our work in this area with a well thought through mentorship programme that will leverage expertise from both local and foreign networks. Please get in touch if you can be of help.

d). MX Lab by CcHUB: yet another expansion in 2013, the MXLab was informed by the lack of attention to user experience amongst most efforts to apply technology in Nigeria. A new floor in addition to existing 3 that is all renovated and ready to launch in January 2014. The MXLab will bridge the gap between end-users and digital service producers by providing:

  • a state-of-the-art facility for mobile app testing across all platforms
  • open access for users to test and download mobile apps and experience devices from multiple OEMs (We have Samsung, Nokia, Microsoft and Tecno all signed up as part of the lab)
  • pre-launch usability testing with real users to help developers avoid poor user experience which can inherently ruin a product

I am uber excited by the value this new platform will add to our community and the society at large. Activities in the lab will be categorised under Evangelism, Training & Support and Experience. The lab will also officially represent and retail Raspberry Pi in Nigeria (you can pre-order your kit now to enjoy a 10% discount http://cchubnigeria.com/rpi/).

e). Social Change Lab by CcHUB: finally and at the core of it all, we are consolidating all our channels for attracting social ventures into the Social Change Lab. Starting with Health come Q1 2014, the lab will act as a cross between a workshop and an accelerator for social change ideas. We’ll engage diverse people with interest, passion and capacity to tackle social challenges in Nigeria using technology.

The lab will source funding, expertise and networks to support innovators to experiment and deliver their innovation to attain impact. 2014 will witness efforts to support ideas in Health, Environment, Security and Governance. Join us!

It’s been a fantastic year for the entire team and a blog post certainly can’t express how pumped I am about 2014. This is a journey, not a sprint.

Happy New Year!

30. December 2013 by 'Bosun Tijani
Categories: Uncategorized | 6 comments

Watch my chat with Errol Barnett of CNN on our work at CcHUB and Innovation in Nigeria

22. March 2013 by 'Bosun Tijani
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Democratising change in public service delivery – the case for LASG Public Sector Innovation Centre

Innovation is often associated with private sector organisations where the demands for return on stakeholders’ investment and consistent organisational growth are significant impetus to successfully innovate or apply new knowledge. On the contrary, innovation in the public service organisations does not in any way appear to be a critical determinant of performance or survival – mainly due to the set of pressures, interests and demands on the public sector.

However, the dilemma is that since the public sector caters for the interest of so many and entrusted with socially important tasks; the importance of public service innovation is a no-brainer. Given innovation enables new needs to be met, and old needs to be met more effectively, it can result in greater value than the gains achieved in similar improvements in private sector.

The quotes below from Governor Fashola speaks to the importance of the issue:

“The dynamics of this time dictates that public service particularly of a city like Lagos must be responsive, efficient, proactive and an instrument of development”

“Equally, the public service that a mega city requires must imbibe the culture of innovation even in seemingly routine work” – Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola (3rd of July 2012).

Persistent failure to innovate in public service delivery in Nigeria has led to years of  large surrender of the potential benefit of knowledge application for the country. We do business as usual yet expect changes in quality of education, security, unemployment, public health etc. Citizens, private sector and non-state actors are busy building novel solutions to keep the economy alive but the public sector to the contrary is stuck in the past.

Below is a proposition which I believe could help harness the creativity of civil servants, citizens, civil society and researchers to co-create solutions to the barriers to efficient delivery of public services in states like Lagos.

The LASG Public Sector Innovation Lab should be a model innovation centre dedicated to empowering change in the public service through support to development and testing of novel approaches to public service delivery. The state-of-the-art facility should enable collaboration amongst public servants, subject matter experts, civil society and citizens to co-create solutions to the barriers hindering efficient public service delivery in Lagos state.

Proposed Objectives:

  • Create networks of public sector professionals that transcend traditional organisational/institutional barriers
  • Support the development of a climate more supportive of innovation in civil service
  • Serve as a living lab for the creation, adaptation, piloting and main-streaming of innovative solutions within the public sector
  • Build a community of progressive civil servants and coordinate engagement with citizens, civil society and subject matter experts to leverage collective intelligence for economic prosperity
  • Map innovative practices: collecting and analysing examples of implemented innovations in public sector

The nature of the public sector organisations demands a unique form of leadership for innovation in public services. Public service innovation is not about product but relationships and organisational design that encourage communication. It requires collaborative practice between those who adopt and adapt the original idea or practice – it is not about a one size fits all model as practices change in each new situation. The starting point is not a disconnected ‘out of the blue’ idea, but responses to specific problems.

To be successful, executive leadership will be crucial in building a culture of innovation around public service delivery even on issues less likely to receive attention. The initiative will have to be led by a leader who places emphasis on people and encourage front line staff close to service users by motivating them to engage the users and subject matter experts in their bid to make improvement.

Credit:

Su Maddock; the Director of Whitehall Innovation Hub

NESTA, UK – (National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts)

21. March 2013 by 'Bosun Tijani
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