Following the conversation initiated by the Informal Economy Blog and Symposium, at Claro Partners, we recently completed a global research titled Adaptive Business & Informal Enterprise. For this research we focused on micro-businesses as bridge builders between formal and informal practices, and talked to various micro-businesses in New York, Nairobi, Sao...Read More »
Excerpts from the Informal Economy Symposium: Why Informal Enterprise Matters
from Claro Partners
During the symposium we had many conversations with the individual speakers about why informal economies matter today. This video highlights some of the reasons. You can watch the full talks of the first panel symposium speakers on...Read More »
We are still chewing on all the great presentations, panels, workshops, and discussions from last week's symposium. Some key questions we addressed were: How do we begin to make informal economies legible? Why does informality matter now? What does it indicate about the future of society and business?
The symposium brought...Read More »
Thank you everyone who participated in the Informal Economy Symposium. What an excellent 2-days of getting to know each other, sharing perspectives, and exploring new ideas surrounding the informal economy. Let's keep the conversations going here! We will of course be blogging about the event, our takeaways, and questions.
In this...Read More »
We've written before about the expansion of Spain's informal economy, which is estimated to make up 20% of the GNP. But what kind of people and businesses are involved? How do they participate? What are their motivations? Albert Cañigueral and Cristobal Gracia of www.consumocolaborativo.com
...Read More »
is an independent charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. They have a focus on developing understanding of technology and business innovation to provide policy recommendations for governments as well as to assess the viability of start ups...Read More »
A recent WIEGO report
by Martha Alter Chen calls for a fundamental rethinking of the informal economy. Chen recognises that the informal economy is integrally linked to the formal economy and states that "few informal enterprises, except perhaps some survival activities, operate in total isolation from formal firms"....Read More »
The RSA just published a new report by Benedict Dellot, Untapped Enterprise: Learning to live with the Informal Economy.
It is a timely investigation into informal entrepreneurialship. It calls on the UK government and other institutions to rethink their approach to the informal economy. The author seeks new ways "learn to...Read More »
NOS, a design consultancy based in Mexico City, won a Red Dot Award for its design concept TUME, or Top-up Mobile Electricity. It is a system that creates an accessible electricity grid. It was designed with developing countries in mind. It enables the user to obtain electricity by acquiring credit...Read More »
Data enables a business to make smarter decisions. Through data, a business can optimize its operations and understand trends and opportunities. But as the world becomes absorbed in data visualizations, Open Data, and Big Data; places without the bandwidth or the skillset to process and analyze data-sets are left out....Read More »
Robert Neuwirth spent 4 years researching in global grey markets for his book Stealth of Nations
. In it, he challenges conventional ideas about the informal economy. He dismisses terms such as “underground” or “black” and instead favors calling it “System D”. The letter D
refers to the French word...Read More »
China's Shanzai industry has proven its agility once more. While we were all waiting for Apple's launch of the iPhone 5 on the 12th of September, leaked images of the new iPhone has provided enough material for the launch of its Shanzai rival... GooPhone i5.
for interesting...Read More »
Do you want to explore informal economy ideas that come out of the symposium and put them into practical use? We are very excited to announce that we will be offering workshops on Saturday October 13, 2012, the day after the symposium. Both John Thackara
and Alexa...Read More »
Spain's economic crisis and high unemployment have made headlines across the globe. Yet, unemployment figures can be tricky. Growing hand-and-hand with the recession is the informal economy. As Spain's economic troubles deepen, more and more workers are taking jobs off the books. It is estimated that Spain's informal economy comprises...Read More »
In a recent blog post
Niti Bhan questions the validity of the idea of "fakes".
Recounting from her research in Kenya, Niti questions the assumption that the entire exercise in imitation brands and products is one of "bait and switch", and states that "in fact, this is not the case...Read More »
We see “the informal economy” as short-hand for a lot of different under-the-radar, non-recognised, untracked, unsanctioned, disregarded and often disparaged but very real and substantial commercial activities that are taking place all around the world, in both emerging and developed markets. The development of these informal commercial activities are driven...Read More »
was posted today on The New York Times about a shooting that happened near the Yankee Stadium between street vendors arguing over the best sidewalk spot. Apparently, “the gunman, who sold bottled water, fragrance oil and sunglasses, had been involved in a dispute about space on...Read More »
The informal economy is not just about being unregulated or unregistered. It is about agility, about a mindset that allows businesses - big or small - to think and act quickly, radically and with flexibility. It is a mindset of survival that requires continuous risk-taking and rapid changes in strategy....Read More »
We recently had a chat with Tomas de Lara, one of the co-founders of Engage
, a Porto Alegre based company working on strategy and technology for digital citizenship, new economies, crowdsourcing and other forms of social innovation. He gave us some nice ideas to chew on.
Tomas described the informal...Read More »
Getting my hands on Ben Hammersley's recent book, 64 Things You Need to Know Now for Then: How to Face the Digital Future without Fear
, I was pleased to see that China´s Shanzhai products have made their way into the 64!
The term "shanzhai" comes from the Chinese characters...Read More »
is a company based in Kenya, where Safari has successfully introduced M-pesa (mobile payments). Mobile money is used by 70% of the adult population today in Kenya and 20% of the country´s GDP comes through mobile payments. Kopo Kopo acts as an ISO for mobile money systems and allows small...Read More »
Defined very simply, frugal innovation is innovation in scarcity, within constraints. It is most often bottom-up, make-shift and solution-oriented. Successful frugal innovations are not only low cost but can outperform the alternative and be made available at large scale.
A recent report published by Nesta states that frugal innovation has relevance...Read More »
Businesses today have a lot to foster from the informal economy. CEO and Chairman of Renault-Nissan Carlos Ghosn, who coined the term "frugal engineering", discusses with authors of the book Jugaad Innovation,
Navi Radjou and Simone Ahuja.
"Frugal engineering is developing a product which is useful with very little resources. The constraint on resources is extreme...Read More »
Informal economy is not peculiar to developing economies. In many "developed" economies the informal is providing an alternative to formal models.
Here an example from Spain: Spaniards turning to barter and alternative banks to alleviate economic pain.
...Read More »
Is there an informal economy
emerging for the younger generations from digital new skills and resources? This article talks about the issues facing Generation Y and the subsequent new models that are borne of necessity:
"Just as they created, out of nothing, forms of protest that broke with the past, this generation is creating...Read More »