Travelling to Tanzania: Zanzibar |Arriving and Day 1

So the trip to Zanzibar started with a 4pm Ferry from Dar es Salaam. Myself and my new Norwegian friends Amy and Sigmund arrived at the Ferry terminal at about 14:30 and were promptly given many offers for assistance. I would not say that this is required but it did help that our bags were carried for us and the porters explained everything that was required. I would recommend finding out what they expect to be paid before letting them carry your luggage to avoid an argument after the fact. We travelled business class which I would recommend as it does make things simpler. The seating is free seating and therefore if you want a good seat you need to be quick on the draw when they start boarding. The ferry trip is 2 hours and was pretty smooth. During the trip we went and stood outside and saw a whale.

When we arrived we found the guys from Kibuki car rentals. I arranged my car before leaving for the trip and then arranged for Amy and Sigmund via WhatsApp while we were in Dar. The guys, who were called Ismail and Ismail, took us to our cars in a parking lot a short walk from the ferry terminal. The cars were old Rav4’s but in pretty good shape. They asked us to take any pictures of dents or scratches. Let us know the tank was empty and we could bring it back that way. They also organised our Zanzibar Drivers Permits. If you are going to Zanzibar I highly recommend them for an affordable car and great service.

I then drove to the Forodhani Gardens Market to meet my Couchsurfing Host, Kelvin. I drove the wrong way down the one way road but no one seemed to get too worried and luckily there were no cops. I found a parking and went to the night Market to get something to eat and to meet Kelvin. I had the famous Zanzibar Pizza with Vegetables. Kelvin took me to his place which was just behind the House of Wonder in Stone Town. I was on the third floor and had loads of space and a double bed which was much more than expected. We then went out for a drink to Taperia where there was live music and dancing. I got home just after 12 as I ate some Cashews on the Ferry that did not agree with me, so left the bar. #overshare

For my first full day in Stone Town I went out to get iced coffee and got convinced by Captain B to go to prison island to see the tortoises and to go snorkeling. This is something that I did after a bit of negotiating.

Prison island was awesome. The trip out there was on a motor boat and took about 30 minutes. On our boat we had about 10 people. There was a group from Bosnia and Serbia; a French couple; an Italian guy (Luca) and myself. We first went to the tortoises. This costs $5 or the equivalent in Shillings. Perhaps it was a little more 🤦🏻‍♂️. The tortoises were incredible with the oldest one being 194 years old. Luca and I got chatting on the boat and so we explored the island together plus we were the only who on the boat that were snorkelling. After an hour of exploring we found our Gladiator (this was the name on the boat roof) boat and went out to the reef to snorkel. The snorkelling was really great. The reef was close to the surface and therefore you could see most of the sea life without having to dive too deep. There were so many different types of coral and tropical fish I wish I just had gopro.

 

After the trip to prison island we returned to Stone Town and Luca and I had lunch and then we went for a walking tour of Stone Town. We started in the Forodhani Garden where our guide explained about Zanzibar’s history and the fact that the park was reclaimed and used to be the harbour. We then went on to the old Fort and to the slave Chambers and past the Market.

The Slave Chambers were quite chilling and I cannot understand how people allowed other people to be treated in the manner that they were.

I then went home to freshen up and I went to have dinner at Radha Food House, a vegetarian Indian restaurant, and had amazing cauliflower tikka masala. I bumped into Luca on the way to Forodhani Night Market where I went to have a sweet Zanzibar Pizza with Nutella and peanut butter. Not sure why I never took any pictures at the food market but there are enough online for you to see what it looks like :-).

I then went home and off to sleep in order to have a great day of exploring the next day

Exponential Attributes: Autonomy

Autonomy is the forth Internal Attribute in the IDEAS acronym. In Chapter 4 of Exponential Organizations you can read more about this and I suggest taking a look at the open source tool developed by the ExO Ecosystem. Also take a look at Exponential Transformation where you can learn about implementing Exponential Attributes in your current organisation.

The definition of autonomy is the right or condition of self-government. An organisation that practices autonomy is one that is self-organised with teams operating with a decentralized authority. In order to run an organisation with autonomy at the centre required a great deal of trust in the team and a very clear purpose. If you want to to have rapid innovation then autonomy is important in giving teams the authority to work and make decisions in the best interests of the organisation. In order to implement successfully you need to ensure that the organisation:

  1. has an MTP that is compelling and inspirational
  2. choses team members that are self starters who are passionate about the MTP
  3. has frameworks and tools in place that gives teams a clear understanding of the level of autonomy and how to operate and exercise accountability
  4. communicates effectively in a lateral and honest way.
  5. has transparent and data driven dashboards to insure everyone understands what is happening and how to improve.

Organisations can take on a number of different styles of “management” that work with autonomy and each of these topics can constitute separate blog entries: Agile, OKRs, Meritocracy, Holacracy, Black Ops/Edge Teams. For examples of organisations with a high level of autonomy check out Valve, MIT Media Lab, Pixar, Medium, Zappos, Morning Star Company, FAVI, share more in the comments.

In the rapidly changing environments that we find ourselves in, it is more important than ever to have autonomous teams of multidisciplinary people who are passionate about what they are doing and perform well with minimal supervision. It is a very different mode to what many large organisations are used but making the change is more important than ever. It needs to be performed with care to get it right but is vital… are you ready?

Travelling to Tanzania: Dar es Salaam Part 2

Dinner at the Slipway Hotel was great, Rotem and Rui had been in Tanzania for a few days and had already visited Zanzibar so we spoke about that and I spoke a great deal too in true Kevin style.

On the morning of the 12th I made my way to the Double Tree hotel where I met Rotem, Rui and Amy (Rotem’s Research fellow) for our trip to the university campus. We met the dean of the business school, Dr. Hawa Tundui, and the conference started with papers being presented and ended with Rotem presenting on Crowdfunding. For dinner the organisers took us to a restaurant in Dar and I got to taste Konyagi for the first time. Konyaji is amazing, it is a gin like spirit and with more premium branding I believe it could take on some gin giants!!!

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The next day we had the conference for the full day where I spoke on a panel about crowdfunding.

 

We left a little early to go to the ferry terminal to buy tickets to Zanzibar. The terminal was very busy and every person wanted to help us to buy our tickets. They ask for your passport in order to book a ticket although it is not really needed as Amy did not have hers or her husbands passports and they allowed us to still buy them. We all got into a taxi to get back to the hotel and got stuck in a massive traffic jam. Our taxi driver was very creative in his driving to try avoiding the traffic even going off road onto the beach.

That afternoon we relaxed and chatted around the pool at the hotel and then went for dinner at the Slipway.

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The next morning I woke up and went for a run, got a little lost and ended up running 12km. I got home, took a shower and packed up, I headed to the Double Tree for a meeting with the Vice Chancellor of Mzumbe University, Prof Lughano Kusiluka, where we spoke about crowdfunding and the move of university education into the 21st Century.  Amy, Sigmund (Amy’s Husband) and I then took a taxi to the Ferry Terminal to go to Zanzibar…

 

Exponential Attributes: Experimentation

Experimentation is the third Internal Attribute in the IDEAS acronym. In Chapter 4 of Exponential Organizations you can read more about this and I suggest taking a look at the open source tool developed by the ExO Ecosystem. Also take a look at Exponential Transformation where you can learn about implementing Exponential Attributes in your current organisation.

Building a culture of experimentation is something that all companies should be striving towards. We have all heard the credo fail fast, fail forward. Silicon Valley was built on good failure and many business leaders have indicated that the ability to experiment and learn from failure is vital to their success. As John Seely Brown indicated in a commencement speech given at Singapore Management University, corporate architecture is setup to withstand risk and change and to scale efficiently and predictably, meaning that they create rather static environments. This is a very dangerous environment as it is prone to disruption from smaller more agile organisations that are using experimentation through the Lean approach together with Design Thinking.

I have taken the Lean Startup and Design Thinking approaches and combined them to create a model for experimentation to be built into an organisation culture. The Lean Startup Principles are:

  1. Entrepreneurs are Everywhere
  2. Entrepreneurship is Management
  3. Validated Learning
  4. Innovation Accounting
  5. Build-measure-learn Process

The Design Thinking Principles are:

  1. Human Centered
  2. Mindful of Process
  3. Culture of Prototyping
  4. Bias Toward Action
  5. Show Don’t Tell
  6. Radical Collaboration

So if you want to build a culture of experimentation in your organisation you need to understand these principles and implement them, the diagram below has taken the two frameworks and combined them into one. (The Lean Framework is here and the Design Thinking framework here)

DESIGN THINKING + LEAN

Exponential Transformation outlines six steps to implement experimentation:

  1. Educate your team and align incentives
  2. Define your hypothesis and value proposition
  3. Build and execute experiments to evaluate your hypothesis
  4. Gather and analyse data from the results of the experiments
  5. Learn from the data
  6. Iterate your Approach

These six steps are essentially outlined in the above diagram. It is vital that the approach is data driven and scientific in nature rather than through intuition. It is time to start experimenting. If you start with ensuring that people understand the experimental culture and start with small things you will be able to get on the road to building a culture where experimentation is acceptable and therefore you can become the disruptor rather than being disrupted.

Travelling to Tanzania: Dar es Salaam Part 1

My trip to Tanzania was my first trip to East Africa. Being a South African means that I do not need a visa to enter Tanzania which was great although doing research it was recommended that I get a Yellow Fever vaccination as well as take Malaria prophylaxis whilst on my trip and on return. These were fairly simple to arrange prior to leaving. For my trip I traveled on RwandAir. They offered the most cost effective solution although my trip up to Dar es Salaam was a rather lengthy one. The Flight which I thought was Cape Town – Kigali – Dar es Salaam was actually Cape Town – Harare – Kigali – Kilimanjaro – Dar es Salaam. We left Cape Town in the Afternoon and landed in Dar es Salaam at 5am.

The trip was rather interesting. The flight to Kigali was really comfortable and the meals were great. I arranged veg meals and they were all great. We did not get off the plane in Harare and even though we were delayed out of Cape Town I was in time for the flight from Kigali. There was some important person on our plane flying from Kigali and we were told when we boarded the bus to the plane that it was free seating which did result in a bit of a rush to the 70 seater prop plane. There were guys with UN folders walking up and down and a few people were asked to switch seats. When we landed at Kilimanjaro there seemed to be negotiations going on about whether the people would get off the plane or not. We waited on the tarmac about 30min and then took off for Dar.

The customs at 5am at Julius Nyerere International was rather simple. I willed in the arrivals card showed my South African Passport and was shown directly to the customs booths. The entry procedure was very simple, they took my pic and fingerprints and I was in. It was less than 10 minutes but I do think the fact that not many planes were landing and the fact that I did not require a visa were factors. My bag was waiting, I picked it up and asked the security if the Vodacom shop was open. The guy told me that I should go to Vodacom in town. I therefore used the Airport Wifi to order an Uber. As I left the baggage claim area I lost wifi signal but did notice that the Vodacom shop was open. I went to ask about a sim card and the lady told me that they only take cash and that it would be Tsh 60 000 for a 20Gig data bundle (I cannot believe how affordable this was. Less than R20/Gig, in South Africa it is around R50/Gig on special). I had no way of cancelling my Uber so I went to the ATM to draw money and bought a sim. It was activated immediately and weirdly enough my Uber said 3min away. So I went and found him and headed into Dar es Salaam.

I had some breakfast and met a local who showed me the beach at Kigamboni. We took the Kigamboni Ferry to get there, it was very simple (no photos are allowed). I got my feet wet in the ocean but the beach was not that great. I then went to a local Tea Room for some Masala Tea and local eats and made my way to my AirBnB which was in Masaki. My AirBnB was a room on the roof of a French Families house. The room was very simple but served its purpose well. I had a shower and got to some work before the meeting Rotem and Rui for dinner.

I was in Dar es Salaam for the INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE OF BUSINESS AND
MANAGEMENT IN EMERGING MARKETS (ICBMEM) which took place on the 12th and 13th of September at Mzumbe University.