“MesTGhana, was recently ranked as one of Africa’s most innovative hubs by the Fast Company, Indeed MesTGhana is certainly employing an invisible driving force from ordinary creativity to profitable creativity. Few have seen this light, others are yet do so. What can we learn from MesTGhana and other local startups using this method?”
Recently, I shed light on Ghana’s startup ecosystem, how she is fairing, the rise and fall of some local startups due to many ineffective products rather than effective products which are needed to boost the local market as well as push more revenue into the technology and business sector.
If you are yet to read my piece on Ghana’s startup market, please do so now on threesixtyGh.com .
Some few weeks ago, Fast Company a New York based magazine, rated Meltwater Entreprenerial School of Technology and others as the most innovative companies in Africa using ingenuity to achieve intended goals. Definitely, such feat speaks volume for that subtle-yet-effective creativity pushing Accra’s finest entrepreneurial school to earn global recognition.
Apparently, MesT’s recent feat is not a surprise to some of us. Particularly to those who follow its activities even to the extent of spying on graduating student’s projects or works, we have much to talk about than the editors at Fast Company. Indeed, thanks to its existence in Accra for the past few years, MesT has shaped our ecosystem with the help of other hubs and startup agencies across the country.
Thus, there is surely something vital local startups could adopt from MesT and other creative startups operating in Ghana’s capital city. One of such skillset happens to be the F.OR.M operating system.
Although it is employed by product managers and business development experts from tech firms like SoftTribe, mPedigree, DreamOval, Encodev labs, Rancard, and Saya, other non-tech startups like Horseman shoes are also following the trend in their own small way. Even if some of these aforesaid startups do not explicitly use this operating system entirely in its businesses, elements of the F.O.R.M operating system can be felt in their product service delivery and the overall structure of their start-up.
I trust you still remember how AVG, Skype and other top-notch social messaging platforms struggled for the Ghanaian made Saya app some two to three years ago but it proved futile? Probably, Robert Lamptey’s, Co-founder of Saya, argument on Kirusa acquisition of Saya at Techdisrupt revealed this noble way of creating creativity not just for fun, but for profitability sake.
The Four Elements of F.O.R.M Operating System
Abbreviated as F.O.R.M, The letter ‘F’ stands for FOCUS, ‘O’ represents ORGANISATION; whilst ‘R’ means RESOURCES and ‘M’ connotes MEASUREMENT.
FOCUS : Focus in this context is knowing where you are starting from and the exact point at which you should stop for a while to grope over issues associated with your business. Better still that point might be the final end for any project you intend to run.
ORGANISATION : This is the main core of this operating system. Definitely, your structure support should match with your vision. Is collaborating part of your structure? Are you on the right path? (it could sometimes be used interchangeably with ‘FOCUS’)
Resources : Are we convincing the right people? And which group of people are we targeting? What about partnership? Are we associating with the right companies? Could we grow together with them?
Measurements : Are our goals relevant? Can we reach our goals at the end of every project?
Surely, the above explanation of each element is responsible to make the F.O.R.M operating system work. Now let’s delve into details to find out how local startups have used and are still using this particular method to achieve creativity alongside profitability.
For your information, MPower payment is not managed by Encodev Labs only, but by SMSGH too.
Here in Ghana, Encodev Labs is mainly known by locals thanks to the popularity of ego ticket, which is really doing well and making ticketing easier for event organizers. Yet one product designed and developed by Alfred Rowe obviously reveals Encodev preparedness to focus entirely on mobile (and online payment) in Ghana, resolve difficulties associated with mobile payment as well as bringing a newer experience in mobile payment on several platforms.
If you have ever used MPower to purchase a product on any ecommerce platform or initiate other means of mobile payment, its versatility is too obvious to ignore.
MPower comes with invaluable features which provide support for popular payment services like Mobile Money, SpeedBanking, and more.
This simply means (that) Encodev’s decision to place Focus solely on creating a newer (user) experience on mobile payment platforms has brought much relief to ecommerce consumers.
I recommend other startups like : TickiAir.com, SoftTribe and FarmerLine with exceptional focus skills.
Mest Ghana , I guess, is predestined for this particular skill : Organisation . Unfortunately, this great instituition is planted on a soil with ‘zig –zag’ organization. However, Mest Ghana has done arguably well for Ghana’s startup industry. From admitting individuals prepared to build their own startup, to tech entrepreneurs developing useful products like Saya, Oyyah, NevaHold and others.
Due to such well – organized structure, Ghana’s local startup ecosystem has developed, entrepreneurs have acquired the needed skills to launch valuable products and eventually, Mest Ghana has polished its image as one of Africa’s innovative companies.
In this context, Resources is worlds apart from necessary equipment needed to complete or facilitate progress of any intended project or agenda. I refer to ‘Resource’ in this piece as convincing the right people, partnership with the right companies, growing together with selected consumers or potential clients.
As for local farmers who are yet to acclimatize with the internet of things, graduate agro–experts are well familiar with FarmerLine.
Convincing its target to get on board with their vision is perhaps helping them to do well in Ghana’s startup market. Within two to four years, FarmerLine has changed Ghana’s agro–sector. Now, we are E-farming – connecting with Farmers online.
Farmerline is a mobile and web-based system that provides farmers and investors with relevant agro industry content to improve productivity and increase income.
Input dealers and traders pay for more efficient communication channels to farmers and farmers pay for information packages and services. Farmerline reaches all phones and offers both SMS and voice services.
Dropifi is an intelligent replacement for mail-tos and dumb contact forms. Dropifi seeks to clear out the era of long and scary contact forms that deny businesses of valuable feedback and leads, whiles delivering business insight and a spam-free experience to customer engagement.
Today, Dropifi has over 8,000 clients in more than 30 countries. Invisibly, Chinery Hesse and his herd of software engineers have been strictly following the ‘Measurement’ element of F.O.R.M operating system.
Probably, Chinery wanted Dropifi to attract more than a legion clients in the world’s commerce industry. Statistics reveals Softribe’s intent to reach to its targeted clients all over the world has been over-achieved. What else? There might be unknown, relevant goals achieved but Dropifi speaks a lot. Ghana’s best product ever.
If these startups have achieved impressive feat, surely other local startups can learn a lot from to boost our own startups or businesses.
Author: Michael Aboagye