Innovation is not necessarily coming up with a completely new idea, or technology, that has never been seen before. It is also, and mainly, about joining together new technologies to create new solutions. By applying new ideas to existing problems, innovative solutions are born. It happens a lot in Africa. Uber are one example of an idea that has changed various other industries. South Africa have embraced the idea of using already existing transport to make deliveries of food and other e-commerce brought items. Other examples of this include the work and pay taxi system that many use to buy their taxis or Okadas. This system has flowed seamlessly into the renewable energy market, with many schemes out there to offer people access to solar panels and pay for them bit by bit while already utilising them.
Carter have also found away to use one idea and technology it in a completely different industry. In recent years, Tinder has become played a big role in online dating. The internet has long been a place for people to meet, but it has not always been the most accepted way of meeting people. Although other tools like Tinder have existed, Tinder quickly cornered the market and now has a massive user base, and in most countries. Tinder enables you to swipe left (for no) and right (for yes) on a persons photo, depending if you are interested in them or not. This short bursts of information is perfect for todays world and can be used cleverly in other industries.
Carter have begun to use just that in the car industry. There system uses an algorithm, which learns from the swipes of a person and helps them to find a car that suit them. They then link the car buyer with dealers who have offers on those cars. The user can then put the cars in a shortlist and compare them. Of course, the dealers are able to be rated, which is normal on most websites and apps with these kind of services nowadays. It makes the entire process of finding a car to suit you easier.
Now, this tech is not life changing stuff, but it does give a great example of how industries can utilise ideas from other sectors. I can envisage the ‘Tinder’ set up being used in many industries. It could be used to decipher symptoms of an illness, find the the best fitting insurance, or even a member of staff for your house or your team. There are endless opportunities.
Currently, Africa is beginning its innovative revolution. We are seeing a plethora of innovations and new technologies being created by in the continent, but it is far from leading the world. Many other countries have been treading this path for far longer and have an innovative head start, but Africa’s ability to leapfrog technologies, means that it is learning quickly. To do this, African innovators must take existing technologies, mix them up, apply them to African problems and spit out new innovations. By doing this, Africa can quickly join the ranks and create world changing technology.
If you have any other ideas of how existing tech could be used to solve different African problems, why not guest blog about it for Inventive Africa. Get in contact with us on Twitter @InventiveAfrica or email, and please also share the blog with your network on Twitter and Facebook.