Article One: The Innovation is now a Product
It has been a while since we last shared an update on what we are up to. The times have been busy, yet exciting, especially for our innovation team. Vipimo, a Swahili word meaning ‘measurement,’ is our flagship product - complete with its own logo and a website.
In the past few months, our focus shifted into the deployment of the Vipimo product into the market. A reorganisation of the company was therefore necessary during this deployment. The reorganisation was a strategic move to see Upande grow from a Startup Company to a Corporate SME. Previously, Upande mainly focussed on services and consultation, but is now moving into product development - thanks to the Via Water programme. As a result of this, Upande was privileged to be one of the startups in East Africa selected for the Stanford Seed Transformation Programme, in 2018 - and the Journey began.
Innovation is good, but is always better if it is easily applicable in real life, can be easily shared, scaled up, and help in changing how things are generally done by the wider populace. With this knowledge, the Upande transformation journey began in earnest.
To reach out to market for deployment and sales, roles had to change and new ones created.
A Product Manager, a Sales and Marketing Executive, an Operations Manager, the Technical Developers maintained their portfolio but now spent some more time in the field at client sites, and not just in front of their computers and work benches.
In my new role as Product Manager, tasks shifted from managing techies. I now had to think through, plan, and have a clear wider strategy for Vipimo. Some of my key tasks include:
Managing the Innovation - to ensure that it remained vibrant with new ideas and keep up with the times.
Developing the Business Model - to ensure product sustainability in the highly competitive business environment
Manage the Operations Team - to ensure proper deployment and maintenance of our products at clients sites
Customer support - to ensure that customer needs and enquiries are handled in the shortest possible time
That is our update in brief. Our consequent updates shall look at Vipimo from the perspective of individuals in the 3 roles mentioned.