News Archive: 2013

Here’s where you’ll find details of kiwanja’s 2013 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 2013: Ken Banks interview with The Toolbox

The makers of The Toolbox recently interviewed Ken Banks for a feature on kiwanja’s work. The Toolbox envisions “a single platform where citizen activists can be deeply engaged in a range of issues and events around the world. This virtual space will provide easy access to the most useful information and tools for social change as well as clear avenues for taking meaningful action”. You can read the article here


December 2013: Talking SMS on BBC Click radio

The presenters of BBC Click radio, Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson, invited kiwanja’s Ken Banks to speak on the show about a proposed SMS code of conduct in humanitarian response. Representatives from the GSMA and Ushahidi were also invited to take part. The 18 minute special is available on the BBC website here


December 2013: kiwanja speaks at Cambridge Development event

Ken Banks will be speaking this month at the Cambridge International Development Conference about the future of development, and the rise of hackers, lone rangers and reluctant innovators. You can read more about this student-run event on the official website here


December 2013: Reluctant Innovators profiled in the Guardian

In a guest article for the Guardian’s new ‘Global health innovation hub’, kiwanja has contributed an article on the role of reluctant innovation in global health, discussing how some of the more interesting and impactful ideas are not coming from major multinationals or big budget development projects, but from lone innovators who doggedly set out to solve major health injustices. You can read the article on the Guardian website here


December 2013: Royal Society of Arts features ‘reluctant innovators’

The December newsletter of the Royal Society of Arts in London features a profile of kiwanja’s Ken Banks, and talks about reluctant innovation and our new book, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator”. The RSA describes itself as “an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative practical solutions to today’s social challenges”. More on the RSA website here


December 2013: kiwanja speaks at Institute of Directors event

Ken Banks has been invited to speak at a breakfast event to the Cambridge branch of the Institute of Directors. Ken’s informal talk will focus on grassroots entrepreneurship and innovation, and lead onto the theme of ‘reluctant innovation’ and his new book. Further details on the IoD website events page


November 2013: Ken Banks to speak at WWF Kathryn Fuller Symposium

kiwanja.net has been invited to speak at WWF’s 2013 Kathryn Fuller Science for Nature Symposium in Washington DC this month. The Fuller Symposium brings together a diverse set of thought leaders to share insights into the role that science, innovation, and policy can play in global conservation efforts. The 2013 Symposium will focus on how indigenous communities empower themselves to look after their own natural resources. Ken Banks will talk about how his anthropology, conservation and technology work helps further this goal. Details of the event are available here


November 2013: New book set for 20th November release!

We’re in the final stages of publishing a new book highlighting real-life stories of social innovation. “Rise of the Reluctant Innovator” aims to fill a much-needed gap in the social innovation/social entrepreneurship market. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has written the foreword for the book, which has received 24 glowing endorsements ahead of its publication

The book will highlight the personal stories of ten social innovators from around the world. Ten social innovators – ordinary people – who randomly stumbled across problems, injustices and wrongs and, armed with little more than determination and belief, decided not to turn their back but to dedicate their lives to solving them. A new website will be launched ahead of publication, set for 20th November


November 2013: kiwanja to speak at Cambridge Hub student event

Ken Banks has been invited to speak to students this month as part of Cambridge Hub’s “The Series”, which focuses on social entrepreneurship. His talk will cover a number of topics, including FrontlineSMS, Means of Exchange and his new book, “The Rise of The Reluctant Innovator” which is due out later this month. Further details on Ken’s talk, and others in the series, are available on the Cambridge Hub site here


November 2013: kiwanja to sit on government Digital Advisory Panel

kiwanja’s Founder, Ken Banks, has been invited by the British Government to join the Department for International Development’s new “Digital Advisory Panel”. The Panel will be made up of senior experts from the technology sector, academia, NGOs and government and will help DFID make best use of current and emerging technology in its international development work. Further details are available on the DFID website here


October 2013: kiwanja’s new book fully funded on Kickstarter

kiwanja recently ran a Kickstarter crowd funding campaign to help cover additional costs for our forthcoming book, “Rise of the Reluctant Innovator”. The campaign, which ended today, exceeded it’s original target allowing us to expand further on our promotion and PR activities. The Kickstarter page can be viewed here. Thanks to everyone who pledged and supported this effort. The book is due out in early December. The Amazon page is here


October 2013: Ken Banks returns to Pop!Tech Faculty

“The faculty for PopTech’s Social Innovation Fellows Program contributes to a unique training program designed to accelerate positive impact. This talented group includes relevant thought leaders in fields that are absolutely critical to success, but rarely “taught” – such as mission clarity, design thinking, social venture and philanthropic capitalization, media relations and community engagement. Their expert advice for social innovators ensures a solid framework for effectiveness and results”. A Faculty member in 2010, 2011 and 2012, kiwanja.net will return again this year to welcome and advise the latest batch of Fellows. Full details are available on the Pop!Tech website


September 2013: Ken Banks to speak at RE.WORK in London

Ken Banks has been invited to speak at RE.WORK this month. Described as the “Premier event for emerging technology and innovation”, the conference aims to bring together the most influential technologists, entrepreneurs, academics and business leaders to help collaborate and reshape the future. Ken will talk about the technical and cultural challenges of working with mobile technologies in resource-constrained environments on a panel with good friend Erik Hersman. Full details are available on the event website


September 2013: Reluctant Innovator book in the news

Things have been a little quieter on the writing and speaking front this month as we finalise the manuscript for our forthcoming book (our first) – “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator“. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was interviewed by the Cambridge Evening News about the book, and a full feature will appear in their business magazine in November.  Tweets of support have also come in from the Founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar, and author and television celebrity, Stephen Fry. You can pre-order the book, which is due out in early December, on the publisher’s website, or help us cover a few costs and support our Kickstarter campaign


August 2013: Interview with Open Innovation


Ken Banks was recently interviewed by Open Innovation, a new site covering a range of topics and issues around technology and innovation. In the interview, Ken talks about his experience working in the developing world, and touches on the thinking behind the FrontlineSMS and Means of Exchange projects. You can read the interview, and watch video segments, here


August 2013: Ken Banks one of a hundred “Disruptive heroes”

“The people who will succeed today are those who figure out how to benefit from, or take advantage of, continuous disarray, disorder and disruption. Welcome to the age of continuous personal disruption. When even the most basic daily routines get swept up in a storm of ambiguity. When nothing is certain. When there is no perfect decision to be made

Disrupt! is for everyone trying to do extraordinary things while driving through a shit-storm of relentless disruptions. Jensen uncovered these habits by going direct to the source – the very people causing those disruptions. One hundred great disruptive heroes – CEOs, inventors and scientists, entrepreneurs and freedom fighters, firefighters and doctors, geeks and a couple of freaks, all masters of disruptive innovation and change”. Last year Ken Banks was interviewed as one of the hundred ‘disruptive heroes’. You can read more about the book here


August 2013: kiwanja named Sussex University Ambassador

Ken Banks, who graduated from Sussex University in Social Anthropology with Development Studies in 1999, has been invited to become an Ambassador for their International Development Programme. Ken recently returned to Sussex for a day of filming. A link to the announcement, the video and new Ambassador page is available here


July 2013: “Inconvenient Truth” article appears in UN publication

Ken Banks’s “Inconvenient Truth” article, which first appeared on the kiwanja blog last December, has been republished on a number of occasions, this time in the latest edition of Making It, a monthly magazine published by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). UNIDO is the specialised agency of the United Nations that promotes industrial development for poverty reduction, inclusive globalisation and environmental sustainability. The article argues that the future of information communication technologies for development (ICT4D) lies with the rise of home grown solutions to development problems. You can read the original version of the article here


July 2013: kiwanja signed up by speaker agency

As part of a new effort to increase kiwanja’s writing, consultancy and speaker services, Ken Banks has been signed up by The Gordon Poole Agency, the UK’s premiere talent agency and speaker bureau. Further details are available on the bureau website


June 2013: Means of Exchange talk at Royal Society of Arts event

Ken Banks, a Fellow at the Royal Society of Arts, will be speaking about Means of Exchange at an RSA gathering this month in Cambridge. The RSA East of England Conference covers the topic of “Building a Better Society” and features the work of a number of Fellows, along with talks from Vikki Heywood, RSA Chair and John Bird, founder and editor-in-chief of The Big Issue. Further details of the event are available on the Royal Society of Arts website, here


June 2013: Means of Exchange features at County Council conference

Means of Exchange will be featured at a Cambridge County Council event – All Together Now: Opening the Digital Door – this month. The event is designed to “showcase the digital inclusion initiatives being delivered to engage public users with online services and digital information across Cambridgeshire”. Ken Banks will talk about our approach to the problem of engagement and resilience, and share details of the two tools we have already developed, including a time banking app for Facebook, due to be trialled in the county in the next month. Further details of the event are available here


June 2013: kiwanja guest chapter in new mobile book

Editors Bruck and Rao bring together an international cast of thought leaders and practitioners in this sweeping survey of mobile technology and its impacts on human life, work, and society. Thirty-one chapters examine the foundations of the worldwide mobile ecosystem and present an array of case studies and perspectives on how mobile is transforming human enterprise from business and healthcare to education, employment, entertainment, government, and the media. Contributors offer recommendations and analyses of how mobile can and is being used to expand economies, alliances, and partnerships, and assess legal, policy, and regulatory issues and challenges. With its practical coverage of the most influential technology of our lifetime, Global Mobile is a vital reference for business leaders, entrepreneurs, communications specialists, activists, journalists, researchers, educators, technologists, and public policymakers

Further details will be made available on the book’s Amazon page nearer the date of publication, set for June/July 2013


June 2013: kiwanja keynote at CUTEC’s ten year anniversary event

CUTEC’s mission is to nurture and enhance the entrepreneurial spirit among its members, and to connect the great minds of the University of Cambridge to the business community. kiwanja will be giving the closing keynote address at this year’s gathering, which marks ten years of events. Further details are available on the CUTEC website


June 2013: Ken Banks to speak at private event in California

Ken Banks has been invited to speak at a private event in Santa Monica this month, hosted by the Red Bull High Performance Team. The event looks at ways that new and emerging technologies can be used to help fulfil human potential. Some of the event may be made available online at a later date – if so links will be made available here


May 2013: kiwanja joins Gates Foundation Technology Partner Network

Ken Banks has been invited to join the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation‘s new Technology Partner Network. Designed to “further the goals of the Foundation and accelerate solutions development by leveraging technology leaders and experts as collaborative advisors to the Foundation”, it is a private social media network open by invitation only


May 2013: kiwanja opinion piece in Public Sector Digest

kiwanja’s recent post on the future of technology-for-development has been edited for republication on Public Sector Digest. The article talks about the rise of local technology and entrepreneurship capacity in the developing world, and how this will effect the power dynamic in the ICT4D sector. You can find the article on the Digest website here (requires login), or download a PDF version here


May 2013: Ken Banks to speak at London “Founders Forum” event

Founders Forum is a community for the best global entrepreneurs, select inspiring CEOs and key investors in media and technology. It brings together over 1,000 of the world’s best, brightest and most dynamic digital entrepreneurs, who engage in open debate, brainstorming, discussion and problem solving. kiwanja’s Founder, Ken Banks, has been invited to speak at this year’s London event. Further details about the Forum can be found on their website


May 2013: Means of Exchange makes Rockefeller 100

In honour of its centennial, the Rockefeller Foundation has invited the global community for nominations of innovators around the world whose work is improving the situation of poor and vulnerable people. kiwanja’s Means of Exchange project has made the final list. You can read the project profile (and vote) on the Rockefeller centennial website here


May 2013: kiwanja Ashoka’s “Fellow of the Month”

kiwanja’ work was recently profiled by Ashoka UK as Ken Banks was named “Fellow of the Month”. You can read more, and find a comprehensive interview about kiwanja’s ethos, background and work (downloadable as a PDF) on the Ashoka website


April 2013: Means of Exchange interview on Quartz

“Quartz is a digitally native news outlet, born in 2012, for business people in the new global economy. We publish bracingly creative and intelligent journalism with a broad worldview, built primarily for the devices closest at hand – tablets and mobile phones”. For a recent article on the increasing buzz around Bitcoin, kiwanja’s Ken Banks was asked to outline his thoughts based on our wider work with Means of Exchange. You can read the article – “Bitcoin is just the poster currency for a growing movement of alternative tender” – on the Quartz website here


April 2013: Panel discussion with Desmond Tutu

During his final week with Unreasonable at Sea, Ken Banks was invited by author Tori Hogan to join her on a panel discussing “How to change the world” with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. A video of the one hour session is now available on the kiwanja website here


April 2013: kiwanja at Skoll Word Forum 2013

kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to moderate a panel discussion on the role of mobile technology in social entrepreneurship and development at this year’s Skoll World Forum, due to be held in Oxford this month. According to the website, the Forum is the “premier international platform for accelerating entrepreneurial approaches and innovative solutions to the world’s social issues”. Further details available on the conference website


March 2013: Fireside chat – and Forbes – on Unreasonable at Sea

kiwanja.net recently spent over a month helping mentor eleven technology startups as they sailed around the world as part of Unreasonable at Sea. Shortly after joining the ship in Hong Kong, Ken Banks sat down for a fireside chat with Unreasonable founder, Daniel Epstein to talk technology, Africa, development, life and social entrepreneurship to faculty and students on the ship. You can watch the full 35-minute discussion here. Ken also wrote an article on the thinking behind the experiment, and what life was like for the companies – and students – aboard. You can read that article – “Social Entrepreneurship on the High Seas” – on the Forbes website here


March 2013: kiwanja interview with Danish media

AfrikaBlog recently ran an article on the potential of mobile technology in Africa, and it’s potential role in Arab Spring-style uprisings across the continent. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was interviewed for the article, which can be read here (in Danish) or here (Google translation)


March 2013: Guest article in Cambridge Evening News

Ken Banks recently wrote an article about his trip with Unreasonable at Sea, published in the business section of the Cambridge Evening News. The article discusses the thinking behind the voyage, the kinds of organisations taking part, and includes photos of his panel session with Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Click here for a PDF of the page [4.5Mb]


March 2013: FrontlineSMS named #1 global technology NGO

“In a special January/February 2012 issue, The Global Journal released its inaugural Top 100 NGOs list – the first comprehensive ranking of organizations operating within the non-profit world. We are now proud to announce the launch of the second, 2013 edition.

The only project of its kind, this exclusive feature reflects the increasing global influence of NGOs in all facets of modern life, in the process shining a light on a dynamic, innovative and inspiring sector estimated to encompass close to 10 million organizations”. In the 2013 list, FrontlineSMS was voted the number one global NGO in the Technology category. Congratulations go to the whole FrontlineSMS team, and community. Further details are available on the Global Journal website


March 2013: kiwanja writes for Harvard International Review

The (current) Winter Issue of the Harvard International Review focuses on “Leveraging Cellular Technologies for Development”. According to the website, the Review features underappreciated topics in the international affairs discourse and underappreciated perspectives on more widely discussed topics. It also aims to serve as a trend-setter among similar publications by directing rather than following the publicοΏ½s attention. You can read kiwanja’s contributing article – “A Personal Portrait of SMS”here


March 2013: Ken Banks interviewed on Unreasonable at Sea

Ken Banks was recently interviewed by the BBC for an article on his recent Unreasonable at Sea trip. Unreasonable at Sea is a “radical experiment in global entrepreneurship to combat the greatest challenges of our time. 20 Mentors. 100 days. 1 ship. 13 countries. 11 ventures. 1 belief that entrepreneurship will change the world”. Read the full article on the BBC website here


March 2013: kiwanja on Mobile Convention Amsterdam Advisory Panel

Following a successful appearance at Mobile Convention Amsterdam last year, kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to join the Advisory Panel as the organisers continue to explore the social impact of mobile technology at the event. Mobile Convention Amsterdam is the leading platform for mobile marketing, services and business in Northern Europe. Further details here


February 2013: Ken Banks mentoring with “Unreasonable at Sea”

“Unreasonable at Sea is a radical experiment in global entrepreneurship to combat the greatest challenges of our time. 20 Mentors. 100 days. 1 ship. 13 countries. 11 ventures. 1 belief that entrepreneurship will change the world”. For this venture, the Unreasonable Institute have partnered with Semester at Sea to launch an accelerator on a ship as it travels more than 25,000 nautical miles around the globe. kiwanja has been invited to join part of the voyage as one of the twenty mentors, and will board the ship for four weeks at the start of this month. Full details of the programme are available on the Unreasonable at Sea website


February 2013: National Geographic “Explorer of the Week”

kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been selected as National Geographic’s “Explorer of the Week”. In an interview on the National Geographic website, Ken talks about his new work with Means of Exchange, plans for a new edited book – “Rise of the Reluctant Innovator” – the last time he was lost, his favourite Explorer and his favourite place on the planet. You can read the full interview here


February 2013: Invitation to speak at Judge Business School

The Cambridge Africa Business Network (CABN) is a Cambridge alumni and student led initiative to promote networking and dialogue about business in Africa in Cambridge. It’s mission is to stimulate a robust dialogue about business, investment and entrepreneurship in Africa, incorporating both practitioner and academic perspectives. Ken Banks has been invited to sit on the “Technology Entrepreneurship Panel” at their June 2013 annual conference. Further details will be made available on their website nearer the time


February 2013: “Inconvenient truth” post to publish in journal

Late last year Ken Banks was approached by the editors of “e-Organisations and People” and asked to submit an article for their Spring 2013 Journal. Dealing with the wider topic of ‘open source thinking’, the Journal asks “Is our society in the midst of a huge paradigm change in how we generate and use knowledge? Are we moving more away fromproprietary thinking towards open source thinking?”. An expanded version of the December 2012 blog post – “An inconvenient truth?” – will be published as kiwanja’s contribution. The journal is due out later this month. Further details available here


January 2013: kiwanja in the Stanford Social Innovation Review

Ken Banks’ recent post on the future of technology-for-development has been edited and republished on the Stanford Social Innovation Review website. The article talks about the rise of local technology and entrepreneurship capacity in the developing world, and how this will effect the power dynamic in the ICT4D sector. You can read the Stanford post here and the original blog entry here


January 2013: kiwanja in Wired Magazine feature

Wired Magazine in the UK have just run a mini feature asking a number of technologists what’s exciting them at the moment. Given the connection with kiwanja’s new Means of Exchange initiative, Ken Banks selected Andrew Zolli’s book “Resilience: Why Things Bounce Back“. An image of the magazine entry is available here


January 2013: Africa traveller essay published in “Drunken Boat”

The latest issue of “Drunken Boat” – an online journal of art and literature – covers a number of topics, including exploration. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was approached to submit his Africaο’s Grassroots Mobile Revolution: A Travellers Perspective essay. You can read the essay – originally written for Vodafone’s receiver online journal – here


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