Since inception of the company, I have always fancied the path that Ushahidi has walked and will walk…
In short, Ushahidi is developing free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping. Ushahidi was born as a website in Kenya for people on the streets to file eyewitness reports of violence (via email and sms) as a result of the disputed presidential election in 2007. The reports would then be added to Google Maps: “Changing the world. One map at the time.” as they say.
Since then Ushahidi has developed in one direction only… up, up, up!
Just now, I read an article about Ushahidi securing next round of capital ($1.9 million from Omidyar Network – well done!) and how the organization want to move away from being dependent of private foundation grant financing to revenue generation. In my lens, this is the only structure for Ushahidi to really take off and have an even greater impact on the developing world!!
In the same article three lessons are provided (I like this kind of Key Take Aways):
- Solve a Problem: Necessity & invention – ‘Make Meaning’ and chances are that money will follow
- Don’t wait for funding: Build it and they will come – start right where you are
- Patience: Progressive, predictable growth – Simply, don’t run before you can walk, and don’t walk before you can crawl
I agree with number two and three, but I do not entirely agree with the first point. It is simply a bit to idealistic in an ever-changing world. Also, I believe that “make meaning” will not be something special that will make you stand out in the nearer future: being social responsible will become a part of the foundation for doing business… if you don’t do good, you WILL stand out, but not in a desirable way!!
In the article Ushahidi compares the development of M-PESA and themselves in an interesting way; “M-PESA was somewhat the child born with a silver spoon in it’s mouth…”. No matter what, I wish you all the best, Ushahidi!
P.S. This is not a confirmed information, but I once heard that the use of Ushahidi Crowdsourcing Crisis Information in connection with an earthquake was more accurate on locating the epic center than traditional earthquake equipment – as well as faster….