By Munyaradzi Hwengwere.
Creating new business models
Assume you were highly invested in hospitality, events and entertainment, how do you prepare for a new normal? .
The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair depended on people actually coming to Bulawayo. The short to medium term indications are that this won’t be possible. Yet as this happens the purpose of ZITF to attract investors has never been greater. We need the capital and knowhow to unlock value in our country.
The same applies to the Zimbabwe Agricultural Society and its mandate to promote agricultural development. The essence of Minex has also not changed. There is need for small scale miners to be empowered with technical and financial knowledge to drive value.
These institutions have no choice but to remodel themselves . They were never events companies even though indications are that the end was now being confused with the means. Customer needs can still be met even under the ‘new normal’.
ZITF, ZAS and Minex must dig deep into their networks and data to ensure that they continue to link markets, buyers and producers.
The property industry too is likely to face serious long term consequences as people realize they do not need the offices they used to depend on.
If truth be told ,these trends were already emerging as virtual offices were becoming common and companies began depending on people working from home.
The lockdowns have just accelerated these developments. Technology hubs, in which people come in for specific time frames may just become the new normal. Most offices may even be converted into call centers and data collection units.
It was always said Africa was not ready with e-commerce yet mobile money is more pervasive in developing countries than developed ones.
What has been lacking is the link between mobile money and drivers of economy such as agriculture.
Instead of using mobile money to make life easier, Africa and Zimbabwe in particular have continued to rely on old fashioned colonial markets which forced an-entire city to secure produce from one place.
Harare still depend on Mbare Musika 40 years after independence.
Farmers in Mutoko lack the means to link with Harare based markets even though the technology to do so is readily available.
Lockdowns have made this not only possible but necessary to survive. Who prefers to buy vegetables if that may be the last you eat the food? The market is thus hungry for better, efficient and cheaper means to deliver produce.
Even the broadcasting industry which is supposed to lead change has remained impervious to taking steps to innovate.
Old fashioned models where people must converge in studios to create content, still pervade both radio and television industry. This happens despite the fact that print industry which had remained stubborn for long has realized people can do without newspapers or even magazines.
Print run across the board has sharply fallen and yet what people know has possibly increased. Digital content is still content.
It is possible to train dispersed individuals to produce content while broadcasters aggregate the same for onward distribution.
The models by Facebook and Google, were built on harnessing the power of an ecosystem. There is absolutely no need for a radio presenter for instance to be in studio to be effective.
Don’t miss the third installment of this article on GreatDykeNews24 tomorrow (29/04/20).