News Archive: 2012

Here’s where you’ll find details of kiwanja’s 2012 activities including talks, conference attendances, media interviews, writing and other general news. Links to even earlier news items can be found at the bottom of the page. Please note: Given the age of some of these entries, some external links may now no longer work.


December 2012: kiwanja speaking at Urban Age Electric City Conference

Ken Banks will be taking part in a panel discussion on technology and cities at the Urban Age Electric City Conference in London this month. This year the conference is focusing on the ‘Electric City’ – a detailed investigation of how the combined forces of technological innovation and the global environmental crisis are affecting urban society. You can read more on the conference website here


December 2012: Guardian interview on mobile for development

In a second feature for the Guardian’s Global Development Professionals Network, Ken Banks was interviewed about the wider application of mobile technology around the world for social good, and the future of the sector. You can read the full article and his comments on the Guardian website here


November 2012: Guardian interview on mobile/agriculture

The Guardian recently interviewed kiwanja’s Ken Banks for an article on the role of mobile technology in Africa for their new Global Development Professionals Network. The full article – “Empowering farmers through SMS” – can be read on the Guardian website here


November 2012: Interview with The Heavy Chef Project

The Heavy Chef Project is “dedicated to fattening up your digital marketing skills with practical learning about Social Media, SEO, PPC, Mobile and Online Campaign Strategy”. The Project recently interviewed kiwanja’s Ken Banks about his work with mobile in Africa, his more recent work with Means of Exchange, and innovation and technology. You can read the interview here


November 2012: Ken Banks to speak at “Digital evolution, local action”

Digital evolution, local action is the UK’s only conference that supports and inspires community organisations to do more using technology. Technology has the power to change lives and bring communities together, but often local and community organisations struggle to harness its power. Ken Banks will be speaking at the opening plenary session on “A vision for technology to deliver social action”. Further details are available on the conference website here


November 2012: In-depth interview with Cambridge Business magazine

kiwanja’s work with FrontlineSMS, Means of Exchange and Cash Mobbers has been featured in a number of Cambridge newspapers over the years. Earlier last month, Ken Banks sat down with Mike Scialom and gave our first comprehensive interview to “Cambridge Business”, a widely distributed business magazine in the city.

The interview touches on a wide range of topics, including the more recent transition from FrontlineSMS. You can read a PDF of the interview here


November 2012: Pop!Tech talk on “Means of Exchange”

Pop!Tech 2012 recently featured a talk on kiwanja’s latest project, Means of Exchange. Ken, who was a Fellow in 2008 and is a current member of the Social Innovation Fellows Faculty, spoke about his new work using everyday technologies to help communities better connect with local businesses, local resources, and each other. You can watch the ten minute video on the Pop!Tech website here (or the kiwanja “Audio and Video” page)


October 2012: Ken Banks to speak at Social Business Conference 2012

“The ClearlySo seventh annual Social Business Conference will explore the movement of social investment capital and identify the opportunities for ambitious social entrepreneurs in this fast-growth, boom sector”. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to sit on a panel discussing the role of social enterprise in creating social innovation. The event will take place in London this month. Check out the conference website for further details and tickets


October 2012: Ken Banks to speak at “beinghuman” event in London

beinghuman is a cross-discipline, media and arts collective that creates unique, beautiful, inter-disciplinary art and events, and supports artists who work consciously to create a more positive world. On 31st October beinghuman are holding an event at Google’s London campus on “Creativity and Sustainability in a Digital Age” which will feature a range of speakers including kiwanja’s Ken Banks. Further details on their website here


October 2012: LSE and innovation and the base of the pyramid

Ken Banks has been invited to speak to students at the London School of Economics as part of their work on business models and innovation at the base of the pyramid. According to the LSE, “Over the past four decades the developed world has transferred around $2 trillion in aid to emerging economies. However the impact, in terms of a positive permanent transformation, has been limited. NGOs have focused on a variety of needs, but despite enormous achievements in many places around the world only a small fraction of these needs have been served”. Further details are available on the LSE website here


October 2012: kiwanja to appear at Cambridge CUTEC event

Cambridge University Technology and Enterprise Club (CUTEC) is a platform which organises events where business-minded entrepreneurs, scientists, academia and students can interact with industry professionals and early-stage investment communities. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to sit on a panel at their forthcoming “Power of Networks” event. Further details will appear on the CUTEC website in the coming days


September 2012: Social innovation at Transition Network

For the first time the Transition Network’s annual conference will feature the wider work of social innovators in a special workshop to be held on the second day of the event. kiwanja’s Ken Banks will be speaking alongside fellow Ashoka Fellows Lily Lapenna and Junior Smart. There’s a blog post about the workshop on the conference website here, and further details of the wider event here


September 2012: kiwanja to help judge innovation prize

kiwanja has been appointed one of the official judges for the Etisalat Prize for Innovation, an initiative open to African network operators, mobile virtual network operators, app developers and software service providers. Further details are available on the official prize web page


September 2012: Ken Banks speaking at Social Media Week, London

According to the event website, “The rise of social media and social technology has demonstrated its power to revolutionise industries, change governments and empower social movements. In a very literal sense, the power to connect and collaborate is quite literally changing the world. Mobile technology and social networks enable groups to self-organise and campaigns to gain worldwide momentum”. Ken Banks has been invited to sit on the Heroes of Social Media Panel at this year’s Social Media Week. Further details here


September 2012: Ken Banks keynote at Festival of Social Enterprise

Ken Banks will be giving the opening keynote address at the Festival of Social Enterprise this month, an event being held in Cambridgeshire to “help celebrate and promote the achievements of many of the social enterprises and socially minded businesses, and to provide inspirational models for a new generation of social entrepreneurs”. Further details are available on the event website


September 2012: kiwanja interviewed by Computer History Museum

kiwanja has been interviewed by the Computer History Museum for a short video they are putting together for a future mobile phone exhibit. In the interview, Ken Banks talks about his early work with mobile (starting in 2003) and the impact and growth he has witnessed over the past decade. A link to the museum’s ‘Make Software Change the World’ online exhibit is available here


September 2012: Guest “Viewpoint” for BBC Future

kiwanja was recently invited to write a guest article for the BBC Future website. His contribution – “Technology and the Democratisation of Development” – discusses the role that web and mobile technology has played in opening up opportunities in international development to the masses. International readers can get to the article here, and for those in the UK (where it’s not available due to licensing restrictions) it’s republished on the kiwanja blog here


August 2012: Ken Banks made a Fellow of the RSA

Ken Banks has been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in London. The RSA is an “enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges”. More on the Society website here


August 2012: Means of Exchange holds London’s first “cash mob”

On 9th August, Means of Exchange launched it’s first sister site with an organised “cash mob” at an independent London bookshop within earshot of the Olympic Park. During the 90 minute mob, Pages of Hackney sold 100 books, raking in �500, compared to just four books the day before. The new Cash Mobbers website is designed to allow members of the public to organise their own events. The London event was covered in the media, including the Financial Times, Daily Telegraph and Huffington Post

Means of Exchange is a new kiwanja initiative focusing on methods of economic self-sufficiency. At it’s core it looks at how emerging, everyday technologies can be used to democratise opportunities for economic self-sufficiency, rebuild local communities and promote a return to local resource use


August 2012: kiwanja interview on Smart Monkey TV

Smart Monkey TV recently interviewed kiwanja’s Ken Banks ahead of London’s first ever cash mob (see news item above). The channel offers “interesting interviews with people who know what they’re talking about for those who are curious”. You can watch the five minute interview on YouTube here


July 2012: Means of Exchange featured on BBC Future

kiwanja’s latest project, Means of Exchange, has been featured on the BBC Future website. As the technology, science, environment and health site from the BBC, BBC Future explores the ideas and innovations that are shaping our lives and the world around us

The article can be viewed outside the UK here, but is not available within the UK due to licensing restrictions. A PDF of the text of the article can be downloaded here


July 2012: kiwanja featured in Forbes

Forbes new Ashoka section has just featured kiwanja’s work in an article about social entrepreneurship. “How Ken Banks Built a Startup One Text Message at a Time” focuses on the origins of FrontlineSMS, and what it takes to build an organisation. You can read the full post on the Forbes.com website here


June 2012: Interview with BBC Click

Ken Banks and colleague Laura Walker Hudson joined Gareth Mitchell and the BBC Click team to talk about this month’s latest release of FrontlineSMS. You can listen to an audio of the programme segment here


June 2012: ClearlySo profile FrontlineSMS management transition

Following our recent announcement that kiwanja’s Ken Banks would be stepping back from day-to-day management of the FrontlineSMS project, ClearlySo – an organisation which connects social business and enterprises with potential investors and corporations looking to engage with the social economy – reported on the transition. You can read their excellent report here


June 2012: “Pimp my Cause” interview

Following his recent talk at the Ben & Jerry’s “Join Our Core” social entrepreneurship event in London (blogged here), Ken Banks was invited to talk about his work, and innovation, to members of the “Pimp my Cause” community. Read the interview here


June 2012: kiwanja helps judge Rockefeller Innovation Challenges

kiwanja has been invited to help judge the “Decoding Data” category in the Rockefeller Foundation “2012 Innovation Challenges”. The Rockefeller Foundation, which is celebrating it’s centenary this year, have created three challenges to help identify the knowledge and innovative ideas that will solve problems for the next 100 years. You can read more on the Challenges website


June 2012: kiwanja to write for Harvard International Review

Ken Banks has been invited to contribute an article on mobile innovation for the autumn edition of the Harvard International Review. According to the Review, “The HIR presents a variety of scholarly content in an accessible style and format. It makes the arguments of scholars, policymakers, and other international affairs actors available to a wider audience. The HIR seeks both academic and lay readers who wish to think seriously about international affairs”. Further details nearer the time of publication


June 2012: Interview for “100 Great Disruptive Heroes”

“Disruptive Heroes are everywhere. We are connecting the dots between what they have done and what we all could be, and should be/could be doing. Some are well known, some are not. All have lessons-learned to share”. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was recently interviewed for this new book. A short transcript and video will be made available on the main website in the next few weeks


June 2012: Ken Banks to speak at Africa Utopia

kiwanja has been invited to take part in Africa Utopia, an event which looks at how Africa shapes the Western world. “Africa Utopia explores where the continent can lead the world, including the harnessing of the science of mobile phones to bring health care to the masses, the grass roots application of sustainable technologies, the role of music and theatre to promote social responsibility and the endless spirit of innovation and hope that emanates from the continents young people”. Details of the event, which forms part of the London 2012 Olympic celebrations, can be found here


June 2012: kiwanja at the National Geographic Society

kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to take part in the National Geographic Society’s “Explorers Week” in Washington DC this month. The Emerging Explorers Program recognises and supports uniquely gifted and inspiring young adventurers, scientists, photographers, and storytellers – explorers who are already making a difference early in their careers. Ken was made an Emerging Explorer in 2010. Full details of the events this summer will be made available on the National Geographic website


June 2012: kiwanja on Africa panel at London’s SciTech4D

Ken Banks has been invited to speak on a panel at SciTech4D, a partnering and investment conference taking place in London next month. According to the event website, “A core theme at SciTech4D 2012 is sustainable development – and in particular encouraging the growth of enterprise through business partnerships, innovation, technology and enterprise. Sustainable growth is achieved through investment and access to markets for promising enterprises”. Further details are available here


May 2012: Short interview in SFR Player

SFR is a French mobile phone company with over 20 million customers. “SFR Player”, their monthly customer magazine, approached kiwanja last month asking for a short contribution to an article in this month’s magazine on what connectivity means to society, and the contribution FrontlineSMS is making. You can read the article, which is in French – “All Connected, All Stronger?” – on the SFR website here


May 2012: Ken Banks to talk at Ben & Jerry’s UK event

Ken Banks has been invited to speak to the 25 semi-finalists of Ben & Jerry’s “Join Our Core” social entrepreneurship competition later this month. At the event, each semi-finalist will pitch to a panel of judges. According to the website, “Ben & Jerry’s are on the hunt for some bright sparks in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden & the Netherlands, who are creating cool new models for sustainable business which will help make a difference in communities”. Highlights from the event will be made available online shortly after. Details of the competition are available here


May 2012: Guest piece on innovation appears in Wired

The Editor of Wired Magazine in the UK recently invited kiwanja.net to contribute a short article to their Ideas Bank column. The piece – “Genius happens when you plan something else” – focuses on the concept of reluctant innovation in the development sector

The article appeared in the June edition of the printed magazine. The online version of the article can be found here. Wired, first published in January 1993, reports on how new and developing technology affects culture, the economy, and politics


May 2012: kiwanja to speak at Mobile Convention Amsterdam

“Mobile Convention Amsterdam is the platform for mobile marketing, services and m-Commerce in North-Europe. The second edition in 2011 was an outstanding success with 800 professionals who visited the Convention”. kiwanja.net has been invited to speak at the event this year, focusing on the impact of mobile phones in Africa. Further details are available on the MCA website here


April 2012: Ken Banks appears on Voice America

“Each week on ‘Visionary Leader, Extraordinary Life,’ Kate introduces you to the amazing visionaries who are shaping our future. Explore how real visionaries are using vision to drive exceptional results. The programme features guests who open our eyes to new possibilities and whose stories inspire. Tune in and learn how and why to create your own vision. Join Kate for practical tips, wisdom, and knowledge that will take your leadership and your life to a new level”. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was interviewed for the final episode of the show. You can listen to a recording on the Voice America website, or the “Audio” section of the kiwanja.net website


April 2012: Interview with the Daily Telegraph

Ken Banks has been interviewed by James Hurley for the Daily Telegraph’s “Business Club”. The article was featured on the newspaper’s website and in print on Tuesday 24th April. Further details on the Business Club website


March 2012: Cambridge Business Awards win for kiwanja.net

kiwanja’s Founder, Ken Banks, has been given a “Special Award” at the Cambridge News Business Excellence Awards 2012. Originally a finalist in the “Businessman of the Year” category, Ken picked up the first ever CSR Award for his work with mobile and FrontlineSMS. More on the newspaper’s website here


March 2012: Interview in Ericsson Business Review

A recent interview – given during the Networked Society gathering in Hong Kong late last year – has just been published online and in the print edition of the Ericsson Business Review.

In the interview, Ken talks about how we often define innovation too narrowly. From the Review: “Ken Banks, creator of the nonprofit mobile service FrontlineSMS, says development issues such as education require us to start with the problem, not the technology”. A PDF of the interview can be downloaded from the kiwanja website here (213Kb) with a summary available on the Ericsson website here


March 2012: Grant Space Mobile chat with Ken Banks

“Have you jumped into mobile activism yet? Join us to discuss new ways to move your audience to act through wireless devices & marketing techniques, ideas for outreach, as well as a conversation about the growing trend of mobile activism, such as text campaigns, updates from the field and volunteer alerts. We will devote most of the hour to your questions!”. kiwanja has been invited to take part in this, the inaugural Grant Space Mobile online event. Further details on how to take part are available on their website


March 2012: Ken Banks tops Cambridge Tech Twitter list

kiwanja’s Ken Banks has topped the “Cambridge Tech Entrepreneurs” list on Twitter. According to the survey, “Top of the tree this time around is Ken Banks, founder of FrontlineSMS, a texting platform for the NGO community, among a number of tech-focused social enterprises. Ken is followed in second place by Dawson King, founder and CEO of How are you?, the social network for health, and Vero Pepperrell, co-founder of Mac productivity app, Alfred in third”. The full list is available on the Cambridge Business Media website here


March 2012: kiwanja to speak at agriculture conference in Canada

Later this month, Ken Banks will sit on a mobile technology panel with friends Jesse Moore and Mark Davies at an agriculture-focused event in Ottawa, Canada. Full details of the conference, “Implementing Public-Private Partnerships in Agriculture”, are available on the Syngenta Foundation website here


March 2012: FrontlineSMS keynote at London messaging event

“Credemus Associates is proud to present its debut conference for public sector professionals interested in developing their understanding of SMS and mobile based Information Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) and associated best practises. This event will feature discussions from leading authorities commentating on the quickly rising phenomenon of ICT4D being deployed to fuel campaigns, activism and fundraising”. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to make the opening keynote address at this London event. Further details on the Credemus website


January 2012: FrontlineSMS named in Global Top 100 NGOs

From the Global Journal website: “The Global Journal is proud to announce the release of its inaugural ‘Top 100 Best NGOs’ list. The first international ranking of its kind, this exclusive in-depth feature will no doubt stimulate debate, while providing academics, diplomats, policymakers, international organizations and the private sector an insight into the ever changing dynamics and innovative approaches of the non-profit world and its 100 leading actors”. More on FrontlineSMS on the Top 100 site here


January 2012: Anthropology talks at UCL and SOAS

During January and February, Ken Banks is giving two anthropology talks at universities in London. The first is at University College London as part of their “Anthropology in the Professional World Seminar Series” (details here). The second is during the first week of February at the School of Oriental and African Studies (details here)


January 2012: kiwanja helps judge 2012 Social Innovation Awards

“The 2012 Social Innovation Awards present a forum for companies and nonprofits to highlight their latest practical applications for advancing social and environmental responsibility and innovation throughout their organizations”. Ken Banks was invited to sit on the 2012 judging panel. Further details on the official website


January 2012: Ken Banks writes for The Guardian

Earlier last year Ken Banks was invited to submit a ‘reflections’ piece to The Guardian, published here. Ken was invited to write a piece again this year, reflecting on progress in the ICT4D sector in 2011 and hopes for what can be achieved in 2012. His new article can be read here


January 2012: kiwanja on the Global Mobile Awards judging panel

For the fourth year running, Ken Banks was invited to sit as a judge in the non-profit categories of the Global Mobile Awards. Full details, and details of the winners, will be announced on the official Awards website. the article can be read here


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