Posts Tagged ‘innovation’

RLabs – A Space And Atmosphere For Learning

Some of the courses for the 1st semester in the RLabs Academy are coming to an end.  I had assigned myself to the Photography class which is facilitated by Ricky Johnson. Ricky has created a very joyful and family orientated atmosphere in this particular class. Everyone seemed to be so at peace with each other and lots of laughs and jokes were shared.I also had the privilege of seeing one of the students showcase their work. She out of her own went along and printed out her pictures she took on an excursion the class had and decided to bring it with her to show the others.

Christine Herling printed her pics and showcased them in class


In Saturday’s class Ricky spoke to the students about making money from photography and how one could turn a hobby into a business.  All the students were exited at the prospect of earning money from photography.  One could literally could see the hope on their faces after hearing this good news.

After the photography class Craig Ross asked me to sit in on the Entrepreneurship class as his students were going to pitch their business ideas later that morning. I saw the opportunity and asked some of the photography students to sit in on the presentations that would be done by the entrepreneurship students so that they could draw some inspiration and ideas from them.

The entrepreneurship students pitched and presented their businesses ideas to the audience and like second nature the photography students (that was now part of the audience) whipped out their cameras and started capturing the event.  In this session the photography students could now learn the do’s and don’ts when starting a business as the audience gave feedback and constructive criticism after every business that was presented.

One of the businesses who presented

This was all in the spirit of learning and there were no hard feelings about the feedback but everyone understood that this was a learning experience. All- in- all the businesses that was represented was good and well done to the entrepreneurship students for all their hard work they had put into their projects.


I take my hat off to all the students within the Academy for stepping out and stepping up. You guys do us proud!!

I am excited to see what of this business will be hosted in our Business Incubator ,Innovia .

RLabs and TanzICT visits Kigamboni Community Centre

Jukka and me with some if the little ones

Yesterday I had the privilege of visiting Kigamboni Community Centre to go and see the great work that  they are doing there.TanzICT and RLabs are seeing how they  can assist this organisation by  providing training to some of the core team members.Also TanzICT is looking at providing data and data modems to make this training possible.



The aim of the training is to transform this community through innovation and by providing citizens opportunities to be part of a social and economic transformation.To make use of the train the trainer approach and provide new local champions for the community.


The training will have a strong social and new media component (Google,Google Docs, Gmail , Blogger, Facebook, Twitter, etc)  where these tools are used in the form of digital story telling.

It will be also be used as a breeding ground for new champions from the community to be birthed.

Will also provide the participants with innovative ways in its “undisciplined” training method using a “Play & Learn” approach.

Kristiina Lahde (TanzICT) discussing the way forward with Richard Gorvett

Kigamboni Community Centre currently has a small computer lab with 3 operating desktop computers. This however will not stop us from going in to do the training with them. There is so much that the management of this wonderful organisation wants to do but resources seems to be a bit of a challenge at this point.

If there is anyway that you or your organisation can assist with laptops,pc’s or in any other way then please contact the centre. ( )


Iringa Living Lab kicks off

This weekend RLabs together with TanzICT headed off to Iringa to do  Social Media and Facilitation training  with some of the key role players from the community.

Yusuf ,one of the locals, and also the champion for the Living Lab initiative there did a good job  of getting all the people together at the Tumaini campus where the training was conducted.The training was done in  English but had to be translated into kiSwahili .  For some of the participants present it was the first time using or working on a computer and it first they were a bit anxious and did not know what to expect. After signing  most of the participants up for their first email address on Gmail, their anxiousnous  soon developed into much excitement and enthusiasm.

At first we had some problems with connectivity and power but that did not stop us from going ahead with the training.We simply did something which Kristiina Lahde  calles the “Analogue” version of Gmail ( see picture below). This proved to be of great help as participants came back to the flip charts later to take notes even after we have finished our training.  We will now be conducting our other training in Iringa with a projector and the “Analogue” version as well.

Most of them said that that they thought that the Internet and computers were only for the elite. This is exactly the people that RLabs are looking at working with.People that needs hope and to now that there is so much good and ability  within them that needs to be discovered. We will be going back to Iringa to do some more training in August.This time around the goal is  to train up trainers so that they could train up the rest of the community in the future even if we not there.

We are looking forward to see how this all unfolds and to see what a great Living Lab will turn out to be.




“Another Journey” – A blog post by Gary Saaiman

This is a post written by my dear brother Gary Saaiman .I am amazed at how he has written this story and the revelation he got just by seeing us from behind.So encouraging.Go ahead and read for yourself….


Its Saturday at about 6:30 am and I’m woken by the sound of Brent and Bradley  talking as they walk through my room making their way to the airport. I`m so tired as I couldn’t even keep my eyes open and I wanted to shout and greet them but they moved so fast and the only thing I could see was their backs for a couple of seconds.

Well to you it might have been just a normal sight but It was something supernatural to me. A couple of years back the same scene would had a different outcome. They would probably be planning where their next fix was going to come from something, illegal that would have been no benefit to our community, it definitely would not have had a good effect.

This was a different sight though, same picture but different journey. They were on their way to the airport this time going to Nigeria to set up a Rlabs hub. Rlabs Nigeria will be a difference that people have been crying out for, for years. Its a movement of hope where communities are reconstructed using technology. No matter how devstated the lives of people are, how hopeless they may seem, how depressed they might feel.

You asked these two gentlemen their life stories and you weigh what they are now and I promise you a joy, a hope, an excitement will be birthed inside of you fuelling your dreams, encouraging you to allow GOD to carry you through your fires and then polishing you to go and shine for HIM, in your home to your family, in your street, in your neighbourhood, in your community, in your city, country or even the world.

  It really doesn’t matter where you go, taking hope to the hopeless is all that matters.

That was the glimpse I got in 5 seconds, imagine I had more time :-)

For more stories of hope go to

Reconstructing the world one community at a time

RLabs Nigeria Trip:DAY 1

The time has finally arrived for Bradley and I to go to Nigeria to set up and RLabs there. It was quite the mission just organizing the logistics to get to Nigeria but it was on the good and capable hands of  RLabs Director Rene Parker. We had three flights to catch before we   were to arrive at our final destination in Owerri,Nigeria. First we had to catch a flight to JOHANNESBURG ,from JOHANNESBURG – LAGOS and from LAGOS – OWERRI.


After a long day of travelling we finally arrived at Lagos airport in the evening and  could feel the humidity as we got off from the plane and entered the airport.  We did not have much difficulty getting through customs but it did take long however.  We met our contact Benneth, a humble gentle man, as we came out of the airport. He had a car waiting for us and we made our way through the thick traffic to guesthouse we were going to overnight at.One could see the poorness in the little run down town where the guesthouse was situated. It was then time for a good nights rest  as we had one more flight to take the following morning to our final destination,Owerri.


Back at the 4th Euro- Africa Cooperation Forum on ICT Research

Last year I was invited to speak at the 4th Euro- Africa Cooperation to speak about how RLabs is: Transferring Innovation On A Grassroots Level. This particular conference was held in Finland which meant me going over seas for seven days. This year this same conference is being held in Cape Town and I was once again invited to come and speak here.

I am so looking forward to all the presentation and to see how ICT is being utilized in Europe and Africa. The aim of today is networking as well and looking forward to meeting with potential future partners for RLabs. I am grateful for this opportunity to be able to represent RLabs at this conference. That is what RLabs is all about,it is about growth ..and this is me growing.

Day 1 of the 3rd Africa – Euro Cooperation Forum on ICT in Helsinki,Finland

Conference room slowly filling up

This morning I am at the 3rd Africa – Euro Cooperation Forum on ICT in Helsinki, Finland. I will be doing a talk tomorrow about how we as RLABS are best transferring  innovation on a Grass Roots level. There are delegates and participants from all over Europe and Africa and will be sharing what they are doing in the respective capacities.

I will be speaking about what we are doing at RLABS and how we are using not just Social Media but a lot of Innovation to transform the lives of drug addicts and a community in tension.

Read up more about the conference here.

Managing Innovation From Idea To Innovation

Last week 3 of our team members MarlonRene and Craig attended a two day seminar. The seminar, brought to us by SAFIPA,  was focused  on Innovation leadership and best practices in leading innovative expert organization around the world.

The trainer was Minna Takala from QIS. Ms Takala earlier worked for Nokia Corporation in the areas of innovation, benchmarking, industrial intelligence and competence development. We had the opportunity to learn about the attitudes and behaviors that enhance innovative leadership.

Managing innovation from idea to innovation, is  finding the right balance between values based leadership and fact based management.

RLabs Value – Based Leadership: Presenting hope through motivating and encouraging people, openness to innovation, to lead by example.

RLabs Fact – Based Management: Meeting objectives through managing prepossess and targets, nurture relationships internal and external, managing of innovation processes.
There is no shortage of people with good ideas but innovation needs good leadership and management. Open Innovation is one of the areas that we are  encouraging our team members by pitching ideas to each other and if it sounds good you get to wear a pink,”Good Idea” badge . We have a reward system in place that encourages the ‘idea to innovation process’.

You Can Make it Work

I’ve been in Amsterdam since Wednesday (15 September) to attend the 1%Eventbeing hosted by the One Percent Club. The 1%CLUB is the marketplace that connects smart development projects with people, money and knowledge around the world at Although the main event was being held in Amsterdam it was also an online co-creation between Amsterdam (Netherlands), Nairobi (Kenya) and Douala (Cameroon) where various innovators, young professionals, entrepreneurs and change-makers could invest one day of their time and expertise, experience, talent, network and energy towards International Co-operation and making a difference in real projects on the ground.

The event had a mix of amazing talks (Check out Tiina Urm from Let’s Do It!!who cleaned Estonia in 1 day), open collaboration spaces where like-minded people could work together to make things work. It was my first experience of such an event that was beyond just amazing but it was life changing. I had the opportunity to share more about the Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) and JamiiX. The talk was all about “What’s in Your Box” that could make a difference in the lives of others. There was such a buzz in the room and the people were all there to make things work. We saw so much fruitful things happening at the event with many projects receiving advice, websites and logos were created in a few hours and innovative solutions transpired in a few hours that will have an impact on society.

This was truly a life changing event that not only made an impact on those who were there but also proved that with International Co-Operation and partnerships we are able to see change and transformation in our Societies locally and globally. Thank you to the team at One Percent Club for making this event possible and for the lives you’ve changed and we are looking forward to making it work. You can read all about the event with well documented posts, videos and pictures on the One Percent Blog.


10 Days of Sex, Drugs, MXit and ISLabs

Source: Marlon Parker


Today marked the 10th day since we’ve moved our Drug Advice Support (DAS) service over to JamiiX in collaboration with MXit. It was also an opportunity for JamiiX to test out its new Virtual Machines provided by our hosting partnerISLabs. The partnership with ISLabs really brought much better performance to the DAS service therefore allowing us to enhance the support to people in need. Over the past ten days the service had an average of 8 counsellors available for each session (3 hours a day) with each taking care of 49 conversations during such a session. This collaboration with MXit and ISLabs not only provided us the opportunity to increase our support numbers but also allowed us to expand on functionallity of the JamiiX innovation. Although we still have some ground to make, we are enjoying this journey of making a difference in the lives of thousands thanks to the RLabs and Impact Direct counsellors (See image), MXit and ISLabs we were able to achieve the following in ten days:

Number of Conversations: 3953

Number of Messages: 22731

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing a number of social services being launched on the JamiiX platform in South Africa and in other parts of the world. Special thanks to MXit, RLabs, ISLabs and Impact Direct for impacting lives for good.


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