ProductTank – April 2017


Space Hive:

  • Great product begins with solving problems
  • The statute of liberty was part crowd funded
  • This started a very early crowd funding model
  • It sparked a wave of crowd funding in the US
  • Being a change maker is a painful process
  • Demonstrate impact as you go
  • Test and learn
  • Adapt to change
  • Start small and scale

Baobab Circle:

  • Interested in how tech can improve health
  • In Africa there are 14,000 people per doctor
  • They spend a disproportionate amount of time on infectious diseases
  • Chronic conditions are becoming more of a problem
  • They have very inaccurate data on the number of people who live with chronic diseases
  • People don’t realise what chronic conditions mean, there is no consistency in medical attention to allow people to know how to manage conditions
  • But, 93% of people in Africa have a mobile phone
  • This is much higher than the number of people who have electricity or water
  • On the ground, they found people were willing to pay for live saving services
  • They knew they had to work with people who would benefit from services
  • They used phone alerts to provide information patients about their conditions
  • They gave them digital tools to manage their conditions
  • They created a Health Now app
  • They use personalisation to anticipate the information patients might need
  • They had a community and questions chat area
  • They also have a wellbeing area that promotes general health
  • The app breaks down location barriers
  • Doctors found it valuable because patients were tracking data about their health that could be shared
  • Continually test your product with users
  • Always test your assumptions
  • Exploit new areas of development, eg mental health by tracking how conversations develop in the chat areas
  • Form partnerships with people who can support progress and provide valuable data
  • Saves money in the long term by preventing escalation of health conditions
  • App alerts also help with behaviour change by fostering a long-term relationship
  • Keep measuring, keep developing


  • Online mobile payment platform in Africa
  • Doesn’t have to be a smartphone
  • A text is sent to a physical desk where people can pick up the money
  • I think I watched a Ted Talk on this a while ago
  • Find a passion and a problem, go and solve it
  • Get into startup mode, fail fast, work agile, iterate and scale
  • Getting it right was vital, people were getting killed or starving over money, they needed to get the product right
  • Focus on what’s important
  • Find a core group of users and scale from there
  • IBM and GDS did a hackathon to figure out where asthma was worse in the UK
  • They attached a raspberry pi to some inhalers and recorded the environments that were taken in, e.g. pollution, time of day, etc
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