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Listen: DYDX Partner Templar Wales Talks to ChaiFM: Working From Home

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Many people have to suddenly adapt to working or studying from home. It’s a major shift in approach for some, that will require mastering the use of new tools and methods to make sure the work gets done.

What can you do to be more effective working from home? And what have you done to help your team work better together?

Smollan and DYDX win at the 2020 Bookmarks Awards

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The COVID-19 led to the collapse of eventing worldwide and South Africa was no exception. While most events have just been cancelled, IAB Bookmark Awards joined educational institutes, musicians and niche interest meetups by creating a whole new online experience in almost no time at all.

We proud to announce that, together with the team at Smollan, DYDX ‘took home’ two Bookmark Awards. The judging panels awarded a Silver Craft Award for Excellence in Research and a Gold Pixel for Emerging Digital Technology: The Internet of Things (IoT).

“We believe the best way to fight poverty and environmental issues is to build inclusive, profitable businesses; this changes the mindset from dependent to independent, from despondent to engaged,” says David Smollan, CEO of Smollan.

“The two Bookmarks showcase our commitment to being a business with a purpose that serves our clients and the communities we work in. It is also indicative of our commitment and the quality of work achieved as a team with DYDX,” adds Smollan.

Excellence in Research Bookmark

The Bookmark was awarded to DYDX for the development of the innovative, iterative research process that enabled the rapid discovery and testing of insights into the South African informal market.

“Despite the size of the informal market (35% of all retail sales) there is very little data available and most of the data and estimates are enormously contradictory. Therefore, we needed an innovative research plan that supported the company’s ideation and experimentation flexibly and quickly,” says Smollan.

Templar Wales, Partner at DYDX, says that a hackathon was hosted as part of the research process before the final ideation session. “After weeks of ideation and further research a prototype, ‘Gcwalisa’, was created,” says Wales.

“‘Gcwalisa’, meaning ‘Fill up’ in Zulu, is an IoT product dispenser that allows customers to buy everyday products in whatever amounts they can afford, using their own containers and thereby eliminating the need for single-use packaging,” Wales adds.

“The solution was a sustainable, scalable business with a positive social and environmental impact while gathering valuable, granular purchase data for the brands,” Wales concludes.

Excellence in Emerging Technologies Bookmark

Smollan and DYDX also received a Bookmark for ‘Gcwalisa’ in the Excellence in Emerging Technologies: The Internet of Things (IoT) category, in which atypical Internet devices (not phones or computers) are used to achieve marketing and communication goals.

DyDx Partner Templar Wales talks Human Centered Design – Business Day TV

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DyDx partner Templar Wales appeared on The Big Small Business Show on Business TV, where he unpacked some of the basics that go into HCD thinking, and how businesses could be looking to innovate with this approach.

The Big Small Business Show aims to give viewers practical and down-to-earth business advice. The programme is tailor-made for entrepreneurs, giving great insight and tips to those who want to grow their ventures, as well as those who want to take the step towards entrepreneurship.

Third-Party Cookie Crumbles

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Earlier this month Google signalled that it has surrendered a key front in the secret and massively complicated nerd-war being waged by Apple and others in the name of user privacy and security. 

Google quietly announced via its developer platform that it will be phasing out the manner in which it collects, stores and sells consumer information gathered by its super-dominant Chrome browser. Unsurprisingly, given that this information is the lifeblood of its advertising business it is committing to an awfully long sunset period of two years with lots of income-statement covering caveats. 

According to Geoff Cohen, partner at DYDX and former CEO of 24.com, in theory, this is a win for consumers. “It can’t really be argued that removing weaponised data from the hands of increasingly intrusive, unequally regulated, marketing superpowers is at face value a bad thing,” says Cohen.

But like the introduction of GDPR in Europe the way this particular retreat plays out may have some significant collateral damage impacting marketers, media owners and oddly further consolidating power in the hands of established platforms.

Cohen explains the winners and losers of these changes:  

Winners 

 

  1. Consumers, kind of. Anything that protects consumers from needless exploitation is a good thing, but a large part of the functionality and frictionless when expect from our digital products is derived from the gathering of relevant data and behaviour.
  2. Facebook, Amazon and Google will be able to increase the amount they charge marketers to access their logged in, permissioned walled gardens in social, commerce and search. Other channels that have sizeable user data/registered consumers will have a marginally stronger hand, but not nearly as strong as the platforms.
  3. Adtech/Martech vendors clamouring to design, market and sell the latest technology suite and attendant three-letter acronym to increasingly swamped and confused marketers.
  4. Prospecting over remarketing. Without tracking and granular analytics, marketers will be forced to review their strategies, increasingly focusing on building top-funnel acquisition and brand building rather than aggressive remarketing and follow me everywhere ads.
  5. CRM and owned audiences. Registrations and utilizing every single available data stream will become, quite rightly, the norm. Direct communication, bypassing the platforms, will become the single largest potential for marketers in an anonymous world.

Losers

 

  1. Media owners who relied on user data to package and sell their readers in Google and Facebooks marketplace. Unless there is a concerted effort to form login, partnerships providing a scaled audience the media owners will again be forced to accept lower prices.
  2. Google, despite the long lead time it has given itself, the business is under significant regulatory pressure with competition complaints about market dominance being registered across the world. This is going to be a tricky time for them and could lead to some messy commercial outcomes.
  3. Digital analytics software is going to see a large drop in accuracy and granularity. For years business owners have relied on the insights provided by user data and behavioural tracking but in an anonymous world, these changes and we can expect to see a lot more “sample” data than the granularity we have come to expect.

Overall, these changes are overdue. The pendulum in digital marketing and user experience has swung all the way to creepy from contextually relevant and this is the impact of the broader market pushing back. Asking for a bit more respect and duty of care. “We should enjoy while it lasts before the pendulum swings back again as it inevitably will,” concludes Cohen. 

Smollan and DYDX transforming informal retail

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Retail innovation can increase revenue, reduce plastic and serve consumers’ unmet needs.

Leading international retail solutions company Smollan and DYDX, a global product and service design practice, partnered to deliver an innovative solution for the informal market that could both change how FMCG products are sold and reduce the use of single-use plastics.

The combined informal market represents 35% of all retail sales in SA. This market, however, is notoriously difficult for brands, as the unstructured distribution channels mean very little effective data can be gathered. Furthermore, due to low levels of affordability, brands have resorted to smaller packaged units to reach this market, mostly single-use plastics. This has created a gap between affordability for customers and brands’ responsibility to the environment.

The Gcwalisa dispensers, created by Smollan and DYDX, allow customers to purchase food and home care products in values from as little as R1. Spaza owners can provide the amount requested by customers quickly, thanks to onboard computers with IoT sensors measuring volume while dispensing.

Goods are dispensed into reusable containers, allowing brands to deliver bulk into the informal channel and for the shop-owners to distribute in micro sizes without single-use plastics. This takes significant costs out of the channel and creates new opportunities for consumers to purchase their preferred brands, even at very low volumes.

The dispensers are connected IoT devices, providing brands with detailed sales data from each shop, giving data granularity and insight that could revolutionise distribution, understanding of buying patterns and price points.

Using a structured design thinking and innovation process, the joint team, headed by Rudi Nienaber, Innovation Executive at Smollan, supported by DYDX, created a new way to sell products through the informal channels. “Innovation requires asking different questions and lots of on-the-ground research and prototyping.” said Nienaber, “Our starting point was to turn products into services which led to a series of new ideas, of which Gcwalisa was the best one.”

“We know that people have real affordability challenges, and price is often linked to distribution constraints of minimum-sized packaging. We wanted to change how pricing worked, allowing people to purchase FMCG products like they do airtime.

Another key factor is a positive social impact. By eradicating single-use plastic and packaging, we not only save brands and consumers money but also benefit the environment, which is critical. With major brands looking to reduce plastic usage but not impact sales this approach makes perfect sense,” says Mike Smollan, Chief Growth & Innovation Officer at Smollan.

Revealed at Smollan’s Inspire Evolve event, the project already has interest from a number of brands.  “Distribution into informal markets is not a “one size fits all” approach. While we can re-use the technology and approach, we are working with brands to understand both the unique dynamics of their market and the technical properties of their products to optimise the solution for them.” says Nevo Hadas, Managing Partner at DYDX.

 

DYDX speaks to SABC News about Smollan’s innovative new retail solution

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DYDX collaborated with retail solution company Smollan Group to create an innovative solution for the informal market.

The Gcwalisa dispenser provides a cost-effective solution for buying products, potentially changing how FMCG products are sold and helping to reduce the previous impact of the plastic packaging on the environment.

DYDX’s Templar Wales speaks to SA Today on SABC News about the dispenser, the process behind creating the solution, and how this has impacted on the community and the environment.

 

Vodacom boosts the pace of marketing through digital transformation

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While digital marketing is changing the way we advertise and communicate, some marketing and advertising processes seem stuck in the ’50s. Many agencies still use physical job bags and processes that resemble the industrial age rather than digital age ways of working, including more collaborative approaches and video conferencing replacing face-to-face meetings. As more tools, automation, and bots impact marketing departments, those that don’t adopt a future way of working will not only be left behind but become alarmingly less effective as they waste time doing tasks that can be done more efficiently.

As Vodacom SA continues its digital transformation drive, a key goal is to increase the pace of commercialisation of ideas into revenue-generating products. An important component of this is the faster turn-around of marketing from brief to campaigns deployed in market.

Knowing that a new agile marketing approach would increase demands on their marketing eco-system, the Vodacom marketing team identified the need to transform their systems and processes to increase the pace of work. Partnering with DYDX, a global product, and service design practice, a human-centered design approach was taken to reimagine how marketing could operate.

“New tools and ways of working are often scary even though they may have great benefits,” says Nevo Hadas, Partner at DYDX.  “Behavioural psychology shows that due to loss aversion, people are very sensitive to what they will lose, even if what they will lose is not really solving their problem well. We designed the onboarding and training processes to be iterative and support change management so that the users felt they had mastery over their changing environment.”

Within six months, seven agencies and four internal teams were on-boarded. The results have not only enabled better communication and faster issue resolution with agencies but are also providing key benchmarks for how efficiently the eco-system works, wastage reports and managing key SLAs. Marketers and product managers have better control over the process and save significant time from automated status views and exception reporting. Compliance also improves, reducing audit complexities.

“By mapping out the processes using service design, we saw a significant portion of time was lost in briefing, scheduling, coordinating and approving of creative work. Our new processes centered around reducing this waste.” Said Lana Strydom, Executive Head of Online and Self Service at Vodacom. While the new systems have a number of objectives and outcomes, most important is to achieve a better creative outcome by enabling agencies to spend more time in the creative processes and less time in admin or waiting for approvals. Delivering a better creative product to the market quicker.

Practical Service Design – first of its kind short course for Cape Town Creative Academy and DYDX

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Cape Town Creative Academy, in partnership with DYDX (formerly &Innovation), is launching a new short course that will equip professionals, both in the private and public sector, with the knowledge and tools to facilitate and lead service (re)design, to improve customer and employee experiences. The course will be presented in Cape Town on Tuesday evenings over 9 weeks, with two Saturday workshops.

“Service design is booming globally as a highly sought-after skill. Service designers are critical for organizations to digitize by enabling different teams to work together to solve relevant customer problems. Service design is not pretty pictures but rather how we create new service experiences that delight customers and reduce operational cost. It requires creativity but not limited to being a creative” said DYDX managing partner, Nevo Hadas. He explains that the course includes two practical research projects that participants can choose from, one focussed on fintech and financial services and the other on public sector services. These practical, hands-on learning experiences will help integrate the theory into functional examples.

“This outstanding short learning programme is, again, proof of CTCA’s commitment to offering the latest in high-quality content, in partnership with the best-in-class industry leaders, such as DYDX”, said Francisca Gebert, chief executive officer of the Cape Town Creative Academy.

The Practical Service Design short course is aimed at professionals leading change and innovation within organisations or working to improve customer and employee experience – both in the private and public sector. Participants will gain the knowledge and confidence to apply service design methods and practices to further their career. This nine-week course starts on 8 October and will cost R14,999. The deadline for applications is on 4 October. For more information or to apply, visit http://ctca.co.za/service-design/.

DYDX moves Susu from concept to customer within 18 months

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Rapid innovation in healthcare.

DYDX, a digital transformation practice based in Cape Town, partnered with Beninese-French visionary Ms Bola Bardet to create and launch Susu Healthcare. This first-of-its-kind full-service digital healthcare company was taken from concept to launch in less than 18 months with the help of the experts at DYDX.

Susu, that recently won the Sanofi in Africa Health Challenge at the Vivatech 2019 Conference in Paris, provides a combination of insurance coverage and medical services to the families of the African diaspora in Europe.

“DYDX used a service design process to develop Susu’s products and services,” said Nevo Hadas, managing partner at DYDX. “We focused on the different needs of the customer in Europe and the beneficiary in West Africa to design a system that delivers on both.”

Rolling out in Abidjan, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, Susu is meeting a real need for the Ivorian community living in France. “The African diaspora takes pride in providing financial support to their families left in their home countries, predominantly ageing parents and those with chronic diseases,” explained Bola Bardet, Susu’s founder and chief executive “Money sent back to Africa for healthcare amounts to US$8 billion per year, yet quality healthcare, medication, and insurance is still unavailable in many African countries.”

With this problem in mind, Bardet approached DYDX (then &Innovation), to support her to understand this problem better and co-design a solution.

“Susu healthcare is a game-changer in the world of healthcare services and health insurance,” Hadas concluded. “We built a cutting-edge digital platform to enhance all its operations and customer experience, but this is just the enabler. Its strength isn’t in superior artificial intelligence or crypto currency, but in its dedicated focus on the markets and people that insurance companies ignore or overcharge.”