Providing a base level capacity for Design & Innovation in the DRC

We wanted to provide Ensemble with insight into Fjord’s service design methodologies.  By providing this design and innovation training we knew that Ensemble would have the capability to scale their own training to their partner businesses.  If we could help Ensemble become a service design leader in the DRC, we knew that the businesses they could mentor could become market leaders.

Systems design that is wrapped tightly around customer value is what Fjord is all about, and if the methodologies can be replicated across industry verticals across the globe via our studios, then we know it will also benefit the developing world.  By working with Ensemble, Fjord had a sandbox where we could further develop our Living Services methods. We had a green-field location with grass-roots businesses that provide truly human value where we could develop implementation solutions in places with extreme constraints.

We knew we had to invite Ensemble to the UK to pass over our methodologies and form a unique bond of design and innovation.  Between the 4th and the 16th April 2016, tying in with our internet-as-a-service prototyping mission to Scotland in order to bring internet to the island of Idjwi, we invited Patrick Byamungu, director of Ensemble to London.

It took Patrick five days to get here. Firstly he needed to bus it into Rwanda to get his visa, bus back to the DRC to get it stamped, return straight away to Kigali, Rwanda for a flight to Nairobi, then on to London Heathrow.

During his two weeks here, Malin Maki and Niklas Wiedemann, our Fjord Evolution representatives in London provided Service and Business Design workshops.  These included introductions to design and design thinking. Using real business and customer challenges that Patrick encounters in the field, we took him through the approaches, so that he could understand and apply the methods himself. We passed over the importance of story-telling techniques in customer on-boarding.


In our Business Design sessions, we introduced the concepts of developing a value proposition and a minimum viable product business model.  We also talked through the methods to evaluate directions a business could take in terms of effort & feasibility coupled with expected return.  Then we provided methods to follow to track and implement the model ensuring that if an approach fails, it can fail fast and cheaply, giving a business space to learn and pivot the business the right direction.

Patrick gave us some thrilling feedback at the end of his trip.  He said he felt that he had “been given a key, to unlock design-led innovation in the DRC.”  Our next steps are to document these sessions and provide workshops to all of Ensemble’s businesses in Bukavu.