Latest News

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

April 2018: closes its doors after fifteen years

After a hugely successful and rewarding fifteen years, closed its doors in April. Ken Banks has now taken on the role of Head of Social Impact at Yoti, a London-based company developing a digital ID solution with considerable global development and social change potential. You can read more about the background to kiwanja’s closure, and Ken’s new role, in our final blog entry. You can read more about Yoti and the work we’ll be doing on their website

April 2018: Ken Banks appointed Visiting Fellow at Judge Business School in Cambridge

Since 1990, Cambridge Judge has forged a reputation as a centre of rigorous thinking and high-impact transformative education, situated within one of the world’s most prestigious research universities, and in the heart of the Cambridge Cluster, the most successful technology entrepreneurship cluster in Europe. Ken Banks has been appointed a Visiting Fellow at the school, and will seek out partnership and collaboration opportunities with students, other Fellows and Faculty in the technology and innovation sectors. You can read more about Judge here

April 2018: Ken Banks interviewed for magazine article on Simprints

Earlier this year, kiwanja’s Ken Banks was interviewed for an article on Simprints which is due to appear in the Winter edition of Demand magazine. Ken has been an Advisory Board member for Simprints since its early days and supports the communications and technical development teams with their work, which revolves around the development of an innovative fingerprint ID scanner. You can read the article online on Medium here and more about Simprints here

February 2018: Ken Banks to attend Ditchley Foundation round table on aid

Ken Banks has been invited to attend an invitation-only event this month looking at how aid needs to transform in order to deliver real impact on the ground. This Ditchley Foundation event brings together a select group of political and business leaders, aid practitioners and experts, technologists and opinion-formers over two days to brainstorm and make new connections on how aid must transform. kiwanja has long been active in this area with initiatives such as the Donors Charter and Hacking Development. Further details are available on the Ditchley Foundation website here

January 2018: Anthropology talk lined up at University of Edinburgh in the Spring

Ken Banks has been invited to speak to anthropology students at the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh in the Spring. kiwanja’s work has always been intensely people-focused and we have been champions for the role of anthropology in the ICT4D field for many years. Check out the University of Edinburgh website for further details

December 2017: kiwanja invited to talk social innovation at major global health event

The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, WHO, World Bank, UNDP, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, USAID, Rockefeller Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and others will be jointly co-hosting the 2018 Prince Mahidol Award Conference on the theme ‘Making the World Safe from the Threats of Emerging Infectious Diseases’. Ken Banks has been invited to share his experiences working in technology and innovation at the conference. Further details are available here

November 2017: kiwanja returns to help judge the 2017 Bond Innovation Award

Bond’s Innovation Award showcases organisations, coalitions or initiatives that are taking inventive approaches as they chart a course through a complex and changing external environment. Now more than ever organisations need to innovate to survive. Factors such as a rise in the economic and political power of emerging countries, rapid urbanisation, demographic and climate change, increasing awareness of the earth’s natural limits, changing geographies of conflict and poverty, and a changing understanding of the goals of development, all have potential to drive fundamental changes in the sector. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was invited to help judge the 2017 Innovation Award, the winner of which will be announced at Bond’s annual international development conference early next year. You can read more here

November 2017: Ken Banks to speak at LSE Social Entrepreneurship 360° event

The Innovation Co-creation Lab, the Latin America and Caribbean Centre and LSE Generate will be hosting an event series over the coming year entitled Social Entrepreneurship 360, sponsored by Santander. Each event will address one of the defining movements of our time, the rise of social entrepreneurship and the practicalities of initiating, growing, building and scaling social enterprises in Latin America and other emerging markets. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to speak on two panels at the first of these events, and to share his experiences of growing and scaling a social innovation. You can read more about the event here

November 2017: kiwanja joins National Geographic innovation expedition

“Encounter great feats of creativity and innovation on an expedition that spotlights human ingenuity – past, present, and future. From the startups of Silicon Valley and Barcelona to the pristine beaches of the Seychelles, join scientists, editors, and other thought leaders to discover how new technologies are changing the landscape in conservation, communication, transportation, and economics – and shaping the future of our planet.”

kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to join this National Geographic global expedition as an expert guide, and will be taking part in the entire three-week trip. You can read more on the National Geographic Expeditions website

September 2017: Ken Banks talks technology and skills on Voice of Islam Radio

Ken Banks was recently invited to talk about new technology and its impact on traditional skills during a drive time show on Voice of Islam Radio. You can listen to the segment just over an hour in via their Soundcloud page here

September 2017: Ken Banks to talk grassroots innovation at Inside Government Forum

The Inside Government ‘Investing in UK International Development’ Forum offers attendees a unique platform to examine how urgent challenges in international development will be addressed. Participants will hear from the Department for International Development (DfID) on what the government’s vision for foreign aid delivery is and how charities and NGOs can support the government’s development goals. Through detailed case studies attendees will learn how to get funding for their development projects, how to work in partnership with the private sector, how to effectively demonstrate impact and transparency, and how to operate in fragile states. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to speak about grassroots innovation, and how local actors are developing solutions and innovations to their own problems. You can read more about the event, and register, here

July 2017: Ken Banks interview on Finding Impact Podcast

Through his ‘Finding Impact Podcast’, Andy Narracott’s goal is to help people navigate through the social innovation landscape. His website contains an array of strategies and tactics designed to help people start, launch, finance and scale their social business anywhere in the world. Regular blog posts, interviews with successful social entrepreneurs and great content helps people better understand the world of social innovation. Andy interviewed kiwanja’s Ken Banks for the 25th episode of his ‘Finding Impact Podcast’. You can find the full interview, along with notes, summaries and links on Andy’s website here, or listen to the interview in the audio section of the kiwanja website

June 2017: kiwanja receives Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science

The Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society, uniting computing educators, researchers and professionals to inspire dialogue, share resources and address the field’s challenges. As it does each year, the ACM honours the dedication, talent and achievements of luminaries of the international computing community. Working in diverse areas, the 2016 award recipients were selected by their peers for longstanding efforts that have had far-reaching impact. This year’s ACM award recipients made contributions in areas including computer science education, technology in the developing world, preserving and sharing computing history, and supporting women in the computing field. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was awarded the Eugene L. Lawler Award for Humanitarian Contributions within Computer Science for his work developing FrontlineSMS, and his wider work promoting the use of technology for social change. You can read more about each of the Award winners on the ACM website, or via a Press Release as a PDF here

May 2017: Ken Banks talks social innovation at mGovernment Summit

mobileGov World Summit 2017 gathers public sector, NGOs and academia to discuss and share achievements and challenges of the last decade in mobile government services. High level public sector delegations from the best performing countries, including Korea, Singapore, UAE, India and Malta, share their  experiences and lessons learned in utilising mobile technologies in the public sector. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was invited to open the second day of the event to speak about the challenges of social innovation, and the role of international development. You can read more about the event on the conference website

April 2017: kiwanja launches new altruly mobile giving app website

altruly is an exciting and innovative new way of giving that helps you budget,manage and analyse the things you most care about. It combines the ability to make micro-donations with the ability to analyse your portfolio of giving in the same way that investors are able to break down their investments. The app is currently in closed Beta as we carry out further testing before seeking a final round of investment to take the app to market. As part of the process we have just re-launched the website which details who altruly is for, what it does and why it is needed. You can check out the new website here

April 2017: Nat Geo Education feature kiwanja’s technology work

‘Biology: Concepts and Applications’ applies exclusive National Geographic content to engage students and emphasise how biology is an ongoing endeavor carried out by a diverse community of scientists. Each chapter explores core concepts aligned with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) initiative to help students master associated learning objectives. By continuously challenging students to question what they read and to apply the concepts they learn, this edition helps hone critical thinking skills as students gain scientific literacy. As part of his association with National Geographic, kiwanja’s work has been included to highlight the use of technology in helping in disease monitoring and eradication, with a particular focus on the use of FrontlineSMS in a Cambodian anti-malaria programme. More on the book here

April 2017: Ken Banks interviewed for new ‘Limited Grit’ podcast

Limitless Grit is a new podcast where host Christi Gajurel has honest conversations with social entrepreneurs, thought leaders, educators, artists and anyone who she believes dares to live their life on their own terms. “Every person selected to be interviewed on this podcast has a unique and different perspective in life yet all of them have one thing is common: consciously choosing courage over fear. Some of my interviewees have impacted millions of people’s lives while others are just getting started. Throughout this podcast I will ask questions on how their ideas evolved, how they influenced people to join their vision, and even how they were able to receive funding for their work”. Ken’s work was featured in the fourth edition of the podcast, which is available on iTunes here

April 2017: Ken Banks interviewed on BBC Click discussing broadband in Africa

Ken Banks was recently invited to the BBC studios in London to discuss progress, challenges and the ongoing opportunity for broadband Internet providers across Africa with presenters Gareth Mitchell and Bill Thompson. The discussion focused primarily on the potential for satellite, which is experiencing something of a renaissance. You can listen to the entire programme on the BBC Click website (the interview starts just after the 8 minute mark), or just the interview segment at the top of the Audio/Video section of the kiwanja website

April 2017: Top tips for social innovators published on Dropbox Business blog

The Dropbox Business Blog “brings together a series of posts written by industry leaders and influencers, delivering advice, insight and tips on doing business faster, simpler and more securely”. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was recently asked to submit a short article sharing his advice for social entrepreneurs and social innovators-to-be (which were taken from his recent book). You can read the article on the Dropbox Business Blog here

March 2017: kiwanja launches a new Four-Part Manifesto for Change

Earlier this month, launched a new Manifesto, calling for disruption and new thinking in how we apply technology and innovation in global development. The Manifesto is built around four core ideas developed over the past three years, and includes a future visioning and policy-making exercise, our Donors Charter, a grassroots innovation challenge/research project, and a Global Fellowship Programme. You can read a launch blog post on the kiwanja blog, or visit the Manifesto website over at

February 2017: Ken Banks invited to join Cambridge University policy network

CSaPSince 2009, the Centre for Science and Policy at Cambridge University have pioneered new ways of bringing together public policy professionals and academics to learn from each other, building relationships based on mutual understanding, respect and trust. The experience and diversity of this unique network provides fresh perspectives and critical challenges to conventional thinking, and helps research from all disciplines contribute more effectively to society. Last month Ken Banks was invited to join the network and will provide specific help to members interested in the areas of innovation and international development. You can read more about the Centre on the CSaP website and see kiwanja’s profile here

February 2017: kiwanja to share opening comments at Innovating for Development event

ideas-to-impactHow do we enhance the pace and success of innovation for development in tackling poverty and global challenges? kiwanja’s Ken Banks will be joining other development and innovation colleagues for a two-day event this month to exchange practice and experience, and to learn from peers and counterparts bringing diverse perspectives from across the Innovation in Development community. The event will include presentations on key challenges, with space for dialogue, debate and reflection. There is no event website but you can watch a short video here

January 2017: Ken Banks to help judge the Bond International Development Awards

bond-logoMuch of the outstanding work in the development sector goes unrecognised. The Bond International Development Awards addresses this by celebrating the inspiring humanitarian and development work of the Bond network. Ken Banks has helped judge entries for the 2017 Innovation Award which showcases organisations, coalitions or initiatives that are taking inventive approaches as they chart a course through a complex and changing external environment. You can read more about the finalists and the main awards event, which takes place during Bond’s showcase international development conference in March, here

January 2017: kiwanja appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at DFID

DFID-Logokiwanja’s Ken Banks has been appointed Entrepreneur in Residence at DFID following the success of a similar role at CARE. He will work with various teams and the Department over the course of the year and provide advice and technical support on various aspects of technology and innovation. This role follows a 30-month spell as an inaugural member of DFID’s Digital Advisory Panel which provides external scrutiny and validation to the Department’s digital agenda. The new post will be officially announced in due course. You can read more about DFID’s digital work on their website

January 2017: New year. New (tighter) focus

New-kiwanja-LogoIt’s a busy start to the new year as we see the continuation of a couple of exciting initiatives and the start of two new ones. Over the next twelve months we’ll be working with DFID after our recent appointment as their Entrepreneur in Residence, continuing our ongoing work with CARE (where we’ll be leading the development of a group savings app), completing the roll-out of our altruly mobile giving app, and continuing our support to YOTI as a member of their Guardian Council. Speaking and writing engagements will be kept to a minimum for the next few months as we focus on these four areas. You can read more about all our activities here

November 2016: kiwanja launches new ‘for my children’ app has just released it’s first iOS app. ‘for my children’ lets users create their own memory book of special places so that friends, family, children – and their children – can one day walk in their footsteps and revisit them. Although not intended, the app has generated some interest among people caring for others with dementia and Alzheimers. You can read more about the launch in this blog post, or on the official app website

November 2016: Ken Banks to keynote at European Youth Awards

eya-logoThe European Youth Award (EYA) is a pan-European contest designed to motivate young people, social entrepreneurs and start-ups to produce digital projects with impact on society. It demonstrates their potential to create innovative solutions with Internet and mobile technology addressing the goals defined by the Council of Europe and Europe 2020. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to give a keynote address on social innovation at the annual winners day, a unique event combining knowledge, innovation, networking, inspiration and motivation which takes place in Graz, Austria, later this month. Further details on all the speakers are available on the EYA website

October 2016: kiwanja lined up to speak at Pop!Tech

poptechKen Banks will be joining long-time friend Erik Hersman of iHub, BRCK and Ushahidi-fame on the Pop!Tech stage this year to share stories from the first ten years of the Pop!Tech Social Innovation Fellows Programme. We joined Erik in the first cohort of Fellows back in 2008 for our work on FrontlineSMS, which at that stage was still in its infancy. Ushahidi was less than a year old. This year, the theme of Pop!Tech is ‘Culture Clash’. You can read more on the Pop!Tech website and watch proceedings online

October 2016: Ken Banks to keynote at social innovation event in Slovakia 

pontisThe International Conference on Development and Democracy is a leading event on development co-operation in Slovakia and the region. It aims to create a unique opportunity to share knowledge, creative ideas, experience, success and failure in development and innovation. By stirring the wider professional and academic debate the conference tackles the most pressing issues of democratisation, migration and global development. The Pontis Foundation, who run the event and who have already had kiwanja’s first book – The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator – translated into Slovakian for a local audience, have invited Ken Banks to give a keynote on social innovation. Full details of the event can be found here

October 2016: New partnership with the Empathy for Peace Foundation


Empathy for Peace is a registered not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the advancement of empathy research and application. They believe that empathy is the key to building peaceful, just and fair communities, and their goal is to advance empathy awareness through empathy research and education with specific applications to evidence-based conflict resolution, peace and reconciliation processes. will be working with the Foundation to explore the potential for mobile technology to help promote empathy in the context of promoting peace, but also as part of our own efforts with our Everyday Problems initiative. You can read more about the Foundation and its work here

October 2016: kiwanja to keynote at opening of Kings College Entrepreneurship Initiative

kingscollegeThis month, King’s College’s International Development Institute, Business School and Entreprenurship Institute will be launching a new Social Entrepreneurship Initiative. The initiative will enable undergraduate and graduate students, academics and practitioners to orchestrate and enhance their efforts in the systemic social change, social enterprises and profit with purpose – combining research and teaching, academic excellence together with business and community orientation. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to give a keynote at the opening event. The Initiative doesn’t yet have its own dedicated website, but further details on the wider work of Kings College in this field can be found on their Entrepreneurship Institute website

September 2016: Ken Banks interviewed for Innovations Online article


Innovations Online is a new digital magazine that offers fresh perspectives on entrepreneurial solutions to global problems. Published by the MIT Press ‘Innovations’ journal, it draws on the big ideas, lessons, and analyses from the journal’s decade of publication. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was interviewed for a recent essay on innovation in the developing world. You can read “Can Developing Countries Innovate Themselves Out of Poverty?” here

September 2016: kiwanja to judge MacArthur 100&Change $100m Challenge

macarthurA new competition launched by the MacArthur Foundation plans to award a $100 million grant to a single proposal designed to help solve a critical problem affecting people, places, or the planet. The competition, called 100&Change, is open to organisations working in any field of endeavour anywhere. Applicants must identify both the problem they are trying to solve, as well as their proposed solution, and the Foundation will consider proposals from any field or problem area. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to help judge the first round of entries. More on the 100&Change website

September 2016: kiwanja to speak at Girl Effect anniversary event


Girl Effect is an independent non-profit organisation, launched in September 2015, that works to end poverty globally. Its work is based on the common belief in the field of international development that when given the opportunity, girls and women are more effective at lifting themselves and their families out of poverty, thereby having a multiplier effect within their villages, cities, and nations. Girl Effect is celebrating its first birthday this month and Ken Banks has been invited to speak at a special, invitation-only event. You can read more about the charity on the Girl Effect website

August 2016: Ken Banks to speak at TEDxMunich on ‘ideas to action’


In 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted at the UN summit in New York. It is a pact on the world’s future, intended to enable all people in the world to live a life of dignity, a life in freedom and in a world without poverty, violent conflicts and environmental degradation. How can these ambitious ideas be put into action? How do the governments aim to tackle these goals and how can the world community and each and every one of us help to make them a reality?

The 2016 TEDxMünchenSalon theme is “From Ideas to Action”. Speakers will share their dreams and ideas, the choices that they feel we can make, and the actions that we all can take to make the 2030 goals achievable and sustainable. More on the event website here

July 2016: New kiwanja project site launches profiling ‘everyday problems’


On what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 98th birthday, launched a new project aimed at students and others interested in making the world a better place. Everyday Problems encourages people to pay attention to what’s happening in the world, particularly problems which don’t regularly make the news. The new site is part of kiwanja’s wider work helping support and mentor the next generation of change makers. You can find more on that work on the Students page of this website. You can also check out Everyday Problems here

July 2016: kiwanja’s latest social innovation book nominated for Award 


Now in its fifth year, the Management Book Of The Year competition was launched by the Chartered Management Institute in association with the British Library in February 2010. kiwanja’s latest book, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: International Case Studies and Practice has been nominated in the ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ category, which, in the opinion of the judges, “will best inspire innovation, encourage business or product development or support organisational development and adaptability”. You can read more here

June 2016: Exciting new kiwanja collaboration with National Geographic Expeditions 


National Geographic Expeditions have just announced their first ever innovation-themed expedition. According to their website, “Encounter great feats of creativity and innovation on an expedition that spotlights human ingenuity – past, present, and future. From the startups of Silicon Valley and Barcelona to the pristine beaches of the Seychelles, join scientists, editors, and other thought leaders to discover how new technologies are changing the landscape in conservation, communication, transportation, and economics – and shaping the future of our planet”. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to take part as one of the expedition Experts and will travel for the duration of the trip which will cover eight countries in just under three weeks, starting in November 2017. More on the National Geographic Expeditions website

June 2016: Interview on innovation and technology with Engineering For Change

enginner4change was recently interviewed by Engineering For Change, a hybrid organisation that believes that engineering can change the world. In the interview, Ken talks about appropriate technologies and social innovation, in addition to his earlier work on SMS in the developing world. You can read the five questions, and short answers, on the Engineering For Change website here

June 2016: Ken Banks appears on Plurrify Podcast

plurrifyThe Plurrify Podcast explores the field of social entrepreneurship through the lens of the innovators advancing the future. In Plurrify successful social entrepreneurs advancing social good with tech share their experiences and to help expand the listeners view on social innovation, development and humanity. In a special innovation edition, Mathias Antonsson talks to Ken Banks about the challenges in ICT4D, the field of social innovation, and the thinking behind his two books. The Plurrify Podcast can be found here

June 2016: kiwanja to judge and keynote at McKinsey Venture Academy 2016


McKinsey Venture Academy is a social enterprise competition for university students based in the UK and Ireland. Sponsored by McKinsey & Company, the global management consulting firm, its aim is to help students tap into their creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit, enabling them to transform their seedling ideas into social enterprises that make a difference. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to judge, and give a short keynote address on social innovation to the finalists. You can read more on the 2016 event on the Venture Academy website

May 2016: Interview with Social Innovation Exchange on ‘scale’ and Donors Charter

Following his interview with the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) as part of their research into a new paper on innovation among NGOs (see below), two segments of the interview have been turned into blog posts for the SIX website. The first of these, on issues of scale, can be read here and the second, on how donors can help (or hinder) innovation, here

May 2016: kiwanja interviewed for study on innovation among NGOs

six-logoThe Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) recently worked with Bond, the UK’s membership body for international development, and Oxfam to demysify what social innovation looks like within NGOs to help build greater common understanding of social innovation across the sector and inspire more impactful innovation efforts. The output was a paper which attempts to define social innnovation in international development by exploring the contextual drivers, the different types of innovation that exist, and the processes that faciliate it. It also highlights examples of how NGOs are creating an enabling environment that is conducive to innovation. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was interviewed about his work as part of the research. You can read more, and download the report, on the SIX website

April 2016: kiwanja’s new edited book tops Amazon’s new Business Entrepreneurship chart (again)


Our latest edited book, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: International Case Studies and Practice continues to do well, hitting the top of Amazon’s ‘Hot New Releases’ in the Business Entrepreneurship category on a number of occasions. Further details about the book can be found on the publisher’s website (as well as Amazon). A recent blog post is also available here

April 2016: Ken Banks to speak at NESTA development innovation book launch


Later this month, kiwanja’s Ken Banks will be speaking at the launch event for NESTA’s new “Innovation in International Development” book. The event will bring together leading development practitioners, experts and policy makers to debate the most important insights from the new book, share their own experiences and set a collective agenda for future efforts across and beyond the sector. The book is structured around four themes that are essential to any innovation journey – how to fund innovation, how to organise for innovation, how to harness new players and collaborations, and how to scale innovations and transform systems. In addition to speaking, Ken also co-authored a chapter in the book with Ben Ramalingam from IDS. Further details of the book and event are available on the NESTA website

March 2016: BBC Click interviews kiwanja about our new book


The team at BBC Click have invited Ken Banks to come into the studio to record an extended interview about kiwanja’s new book, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: International Case Studies and Practice. During the interview we talk about the origins of the book, the challenges of social innovation in the technology sector, and Laura Stachel of We Care Solar – who wrote one of the contributing chapters – speaks about her own work with the solar suitcase. The full programme can be played back on the BBC Click website, or for the interview segment (and post-interview podcast discussion) see the Audio & Video section of the kiwanja website

March 2016: New ODI paper on politics and innovation


kiwanja’s Ken Banks has recently completed a short piece of consultancy work with ODI looking at politics and innovation, supporting the team at ODI with research and outreach for case studies. According to the ODI website:

“In order to solve sustainable development challenges and provide universal access to basic services, we need new ideas, as well as old ideas, applied in new ways and new places. Innovation can make basic services cheaper, more accessible and more relevant for poor people. Despite innovation efforts and optimism across the development sector, few innovations lead to actual sustainable, systemic change. Too often the barriers are political – factors such as motivation, power and collective action prevent innovations from leading to real progress.

Politically smart approaches can help navigate and mitigate these challenges. This report and policy brief demonstrate how innovations can alter the balance of power in societies and markets and provoke systemic political change. The authors address when and why politics matters for innovation, and what this means for donors, foundations and impact investors backing innovations for development.”

Further details, and a link to the report, are available on the ODI website

March 2016: kiwanja’s new social innovation book hits the shelves

Case-Studies-Social-Innovation-CoverOne year in the making, kiwanja’s new edited book, “Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: International Case Studies and Practice”, has hit the shelves. Featuring the stories of thirteen social innovators working in diverse sectors across the globe, the book aims to address an imbalance in the literature which often neglects to tell the full stories of social innovators, in their own words.

The book comes with forewords by Bill Drayton, Founder and CEO of Ashoka, and Peter Gabriel, musician and humanitarian.

Using their own words to reflect upon their experiences, the case studies featured do not gloss over the setbacks and the dead-ends social entrepreneurs can face. Instead, it is designed to give readers a realistic insight into the challenges and an engaging look at the problem-solving mindset needed to overcome them. From a life-saving project to bring solar-powered lighting to midwives in Nigeria, to a news dissemination service that’s grown from small beginnings to have a global impact, each case study draws out the lessons learnt by the innovators, providing guidance and advice for those looking to follow in their footsteps. The book is available via the publishers website, or via Amazon (publication is set for later this month in the US)

March 2016: Ken Banks to speak at Practical Action ‘Tech Justice’ event


“Rub shoulders with leaders in business, development, government and research, and collaboratively workshop to explore new pathways towards pro-poor innovation, equitable tech access and sustainable use of technologies. Practical Action are keen to  forge pioneering new partnerships for change and set the world on course towards a new paradigm of sustainable and equitable technology development.” kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to speak about grassroots social innovation and technology-driven empowerment at the event. You can find out more, and get tickets, here

February 2016: Ken Banks to speak at Skoll’s Social Impact Careers Conference 


“The Social Impact Careers Conference is an interactive day of networking and the sharing of lessons learned from a range of professionals who have chosen different paths to social impact in their careers. It is an opportunity for delegates to explore careers with a positive impact and learn from some recent graduates who can share their career stories as well as some of the top movers and shakers in the sector”. Ken Banks has been invited to speak on the ‘Social Technology – Applying new technologies to social change efforts” panel. You can read more on the conference website

January 2016: kiwanja speaking at Africa All Party Parliamentary Group event

appg2016 will be a critical year for ICT in Africa.  For the first time, the digital agenda will form the centre piece of the global development agenda. The World Bank’s 2016 World Development Report ‘Digital Dividends’ looks beyond connectivity towards government services, efficiency and productivity gains. ICT takes on a different importance for the World Economic Forum – this year their Africa session ‘Connecting Africa’s Resources through Digital Transformation’ examines the potential of the digital economy to drive structural transformation and leverage pan-African capabilities. This APPG event will build on a previous ‘Tech lunch’ hosted by the Africa APPG with the Africa Union Foundation and look more deeply at the digital transformations that are changing Africa. You can see the Agenda for next month’s event, and get tickets, here

January 2016: kiwanja talks technology and capability on BBC Click 


Ken Banks has been invited to take part in the latest edition of BBC Click to discuss a recent report from the Humanitarian Technologies Project which challenges the use of technology in disaster and crisis situations. You can read the initial blog post, “Technology Without Capability is Pretty Useless, Study Finds” here. The full podcast is available on the BBC website or the shorter programme segment on the kiwanja website ‘Audio & Video‘ page

January 2016: Peter Gabriel and Bill Drayton provide Forewords to new kiwanja book

Case-Studies-Social-Innovation-Coverkiwanja’s new book, “Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation: International Case Studies and Practice“, is due for release in early March. As we apply the finishing touches we’re excited to announce that we have not one but two Forewords in the book – one from musician and humanitarian, Peter Gabriel, and the other from Bill Drayton (CEO and Founder of Ashoka). These complimentary Forewords come from two people who have made significant but different contributions to the field of social innovation. Peter Gabriel gives the ‘outsider’ humanitarian perspective, while Bill Drayton – often cited as the ‘Grandfather of social entrepreneurship’ – gives the ‘insider’ line. You can read more on the publisher website and in this recent kiwanja blog post

January 2016: kiwanja to speak at EU event on entrepreneurship


The FACE (Failure Aversion Change in Europe) Entrepreneurship project is a communications campaign financed by the European Commission aiming to boost technology-based entrepreneurship among young people across Europe. With the support of Telefónica Open Future and Microsoft Bizspark, FACE are organising seven offline events across seven European cities. The first will take place in Madrid during the South Summit on October 7th, and will mark the launch of the campaign. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been asked to speak about his work in social innovation at the Dublin event, slated for January 2016. You can read more on the FACE website

December 2015: Latest guest post for the Stanford Social Innovation Review


kiwanja’s latest guest article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review asks if international development projects designed and managed at the grassroots level perform better overall than those managed from the outside? You can read the full article on the SSIR website

December 2015: kiwanja keynote at Symposium on Computing for Development

acm-devThe sixth annual Symposium on Computing for Development (ACM DEV 2015) is due to be held in London this month and will provide a premier venue to present original and innovative work on the applications, technologies, architectures, and protocols for computing in developing regions. This year, Ken Banks has been invited to give the opening keynote on the challenges and opportunities in the technology-for-development sector. You can read more about the day’s schedule on the ACM DEV 2015 website

November 2015: Ken Banks appointed CARE International’s first ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’


kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been appointed CARE International’s first ever ‘Entrepreneur in Residence’. Based in the UK office with a global remit, Ken will help CARE navigate the technology- and innovation-for-development sectors, advising and assisting staff on a part-time basis over the next twelve months. CARE is a major international humanitarian agency delivering emergency relief and long-term international development projects for over 70 years. You can read more about the new role via a short interview on the CARE Insights website

November 2015: kiwanja to speak at Betterplace Lab in Berlin


kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to speak about technology and social innovation in Berlin this November at the annual Betterplace Lab conference. The Betterplace lab researches and experiments at the intersection of innovation and social good. You can read more on the conference website

November 2015: kiwanja co-authors new paper on technology for conservation

ambioEstablished in 1972, Ambio: Journal of the Human Environment is a peer-reviewed scientific journal published eight times a year by Springer Science+Business Media on behalf of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. In a special edition covering the use of technology in global conservation efforts, kiwanja was invited to co-author a paper in which we consider what nature conservation can learn from the introduction of digital technology in human development. From this, we derived a Charter to be used before and throughout project development, in order to help reduce replication and failure of digital innovation in nature conservation projects. Finally, we argue that the proposed Charter might promote collaboration with the development of digital tools and ensure that nature conservation projects progress appropriately with the development of new digital technologies. You can read more on the Ambio website, or download the paper here

October 2015: Ken Banks awarded Fellowship at RMIT University in Australia


RMIT is a global university of technology and design and one of Australia’s original tertiary institutions. It enjoys an international reputation for excellence in professional and vocational education and outcome-oriented research, and is a leader in engineering, accounting and finance, computer science and information systems, communication and media studies, psychology, education, law and economics. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to Melbourne as a Visiting Fellow and will be giving a number of talks to faculty and students, including a keynote address at RMIT’s College of Business ‘Research Showcase’ event in October. More on the RMIT event here

October 2015: kiwanja to speak at Google Campus event


Pitch It Africa are putting together a series of events to showcase opportunities that exist in the area of telecommunications, utilities (off grid solutions), health, education, mobile money, agriculture, investment, property management, software development, databases, security and more across the African continent. The first in the series focuses on IT and the ICT sector, and Ken Banks has been invited to speak about his technology work across Africa. You can see more, and book to attend, here

September 2015: kiwanja article published in the European Business Review


The European Business Review is the leading business intelligence magazine designed to ensure that business leaders make informed decisions. It provides them with indispensable insight, current best practices and breakthrough ideas. kiwanja’s Ken Banks was recently invited to contribute an article on social innovation and mobile technology. You can read this online here, or download a full PDF from the print version here

September 2015: Ken Banks to keynote at ‘Game Changers Summit’


Hosted by United Methodist Communications, this month’s ‘Game Changers Summit’ will demonstrate how information and communications technology can be used to improve all facets of life. The focus? Helping parts of the world left behind by the technological revolution, to solve problems in education, wellness and community development with cutting edge communications tools. Further details on the Summit, and kiwanja’s keynote, are available on the website here

August 2015: kiwanja interview with Aidpreneur now available as a podcast

torEarlier this summer, kiwanja’s Ken Banks was interviewed by Stephen Ladek as part of his Terms of Reference podcast series. In the interview, Ken spoke about his work with, his earlier technology background, the need for a people-centred approach in international development, and the rationale, history and thinking behind FrontlineSMS. You can listen to the podcast on the Audio Video page or on the Aidpreneur “Terms of Reference” web page here

August 2015: Ken Banks to take part in Buntwani 2015 in South Africa


Buntwani 2015 is a global gathering of actors from the civil society, technology, donor, research, government and policy sectors focusing on the intersection of governance and innovation. It provides a platform for reflection, analysis and candid dialogue on the impact of technology-supported initiatives aimed at empowering citizens to voice their concerns and demands, and improving governments’ responsiveness and accountability to their citizens. kiwanja’s Ken Banks will be taking part in the event, which is being held later this month in Johannesburg. Further details on the Buntwani website

August 2015: kiwanja to appear at Resource Politics event at Sussex University


Later this month, the STEPS Centre and its partners will be holding a conference can help unpack assumptions, question simplistic prescriptions and debate alternatives about the politics of resources and pathways to sustainability. The conference will present research evidence from varied locations revealing multiple pathways of change, linking conceptual challenges of understanding ‘resource politics’ with institutional and practical dimensions, from an interdisciplinary perspective. It is hoped this debate – with academics, practitioners, policymakers and activists taking part – can provide the basis for open and balanced debate about future options. You can read more on the event website

July 2015: TEDxCannes social innovation talk now online


kiwanja was recently invited to give a talk about his work, and the field of social innovation, at TEDxCannes. TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Ken’s talk, “When problems find people, amazing things can happen” can be watched on the TEDxCannes website

July 2015: Guest book review in Cambridge Business Monthly


Ken Banks was recently invited by the publishers of the Cambridge Business Monthly magazine to write a review of a new book on innovation. You can download a PDF of his article on “Dream Cafe” here

July 2015: kiwanja to present non-profit award at industry social media gathering

gadmBilled as the ultimate digital social gathering of the summer, kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to give a short talk on tech-for-good and to present the non-profit category prize at this year’s GADM Campaign Awards in London. Previous events have attracted leading brand marketers from across the industry such as Ted Baker, Expedia, Coca Cola, Barclays, Sainsburys, Harrods, British Airways, Miss Selfridge, and many more. For further details, and for tickets to the event, check out the Eventbrite page

July 2015: Ken Banks signed up by international speakers bureau


Headquartered in London and Dallas, and with offices in Hong Kong, Lagos, and Mumbai, Chartwell Speakers Bureau sources the most insightful keynote speakers from around the globe. kiwanja has recently been signed up by the bureau. You can check out our speakers page here

June 2015: kiwanja to help judge the DBS-NUS Social Venture Challenge Asia 2015

dbs-challengekiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to sit on the judging panel for this year’s Social Venture Challenge Asia. The Challenge is an Asia-wide competition for social enterprises, open to any member of the public. Organised by NUS Enterprise in partnership with the DBS Foundation, the Challenge aims to identify and support new social ventures that have the potential to generate positive, scalable and sustainable social impact. Further details are available on the official competition website

June 2015: Ken Banks to speak at Singapore Management University


Ken Banks has been invited to speak about social innovation and social entrepreneurship at the Singapore Management University this month. During his visit, he will also be attending and speaking at an awards gala at the National University of Singapore. Further details of the SMU event are available here

May 2015: kiwanja to return to the stage at Thinking Digital 2015 

Thinking Digital is an annual conference where the world’s greatest thinkers and innovators gather to inspire, entertain and discuss the latest ideas and technologies. kiwanja last appeared at the event in 2010 to talk about his ongoing work with FrontlineSMS. This year we will be returning to the stage to talk about ‘development outside the system’, and how hackers, fixers and lone rangers are taking on some of the bigger development challenges. Ken will also be talking about his new book, “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator“. Further details on the Thinking Digital website

April 2015: New Stanford Social Innovation Review article

Ken Banks has written a new article for the Stanford Social Innovation Review website. Based on an earlier blog post on the kiwanja website, “From Projects to People: Addressing a Donor Funding Imbalance” proposes that private funders and foundations consider funding individuals, as well as projects, to help social innovation flourish in the sector. You can read the SSIR piece here

April 2015: Ken Banks co-authors GSMA mobile data report

kiwanja’s Ken Banks recently carried out a short piece of consultancy work with the GSMA to help with the research, writing and production of a new report on the use, and potential, of data in mobile-for-development. The report seeks to “frame and assess the current landscape of mobile phone and other data usage by mobile services providers operating in emerging markets that serve underserved customer segments, otherwise termed Mobile for Development (M4D) services. There is a growing interest in this area of M4D as the data captured by the mobile platform offers visibility on many aspects of a mobile service’s operations”. You can download the paper from the GSMA website here

April 2015: kiwanja podcast on The Mobile Frontier

Ken Banks recently gave a one hour, wide-reaching interview with Ryan Fetterly as part of his “Entrepreneurs & Economic Development” podcast series. You can listen to the interview on Ryan’s website here, or on the kiwanja website here

April 2015: Ken Banks to sit on National Geographic Judging Panel

Following the successful conclusion of the Terra Watt Prize last year, National Geographic are planning a new social and environmental challenge for 2015. Ken Banks, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer from 2010, has been invited to sit on the Judging Panel. Further details of the challenge will be made public in the next few weeks

March 2015: kiwanja to appear at TEDx Cannes

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Ken Banks has been invited to speak at the TEDx event in Cannes at the end of March. Further details are available on the event website

February 2015: Ken Banks to help judge Young Entrepreneur Awards

Building on the success of the 2013 AwardsUnilever is inviting young people to come up with practical and innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges, and enter them in the Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneurs Awards. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited to sit on the Judging Panel. Further details of the Awards can be found on the official website here

February 2015: “The Rise” book interview

Ken Banks recently gave an interview about his work in technology, conservation and development, and the thinking behind “The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator”, to ‘Thursday Throng’, a series of interviews dedicated to profiling books of interest. You can read the interview on Linda Parkinson-Hardman’s website here

February 2015: Sussex University talk lined up for One World Week

This year, as in previous years, Sussex University will be celebrating One World Week with a series of events and talks. Ken Banks, who is Ambassador for International Development at Sussex where he studied between 1996 and 1999, will return to the university during the week to give a talk on his work in conservation, development, technology and Africa, and his new book. Further details will be made available on the Sussex website nearer the time

January 2015: New “Reluctant Innovator” book review

The Society of Business Economists recently reviewed kiwanja’s book, The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator. Described as a book that “exceeded our expectations in so many ways”, you can read the review on the kiwanja blog here. It will appear on the SBE website in the coming weeks

January 2015: kiwanja at Technology Innovation Exchange 2015

Later this month Ashoka’s Technology Innovation Exchange in Silicon Valley will bring together leading players in the technology and social change sectors through a series of networking and brainstorming events focusing on entrepreneurial solutions and opportunities for scalable social impact. kiwanja’s Ken Banks has been invited, along with two other international Ashoka Fellows, to take part in the event which includes meetings and talks at Facebook, LinkedIn, Intuit, Singularity University, Intel, Google, and Stanford University’s StartX. Further details are available on the Ashoka website here

January 2015: Ken Banks to speak at Royal Holloway

Ken Banks has been invited to speak to students and members of faculty at an evening event scheduled to take place at Royal Holloway in London. The university has a long history in ICT4D, drawing on the expertise of staff, postgraduates and undergraduates in the academic Departments and Schools of Geography, Computer Science, Management, and the New Political Communication Unit in Politics and International Relations, as well as in the Information Services Department and the Educational Development Centre

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