4 Nigerian Indigenous Innovations That Were Inspired By Old Traditions

MTN | Inside Life
January 31, 2019

“There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations. We keep on turning and making new combinations indefinitely, but they are the same old pieces of coloured glass that have been in use through all the ages.”

– Mark Twain, Mark Twain’s own autobiography.

It might not surprise you to know that many modern-day innovations (apps and automated services) were inspired by the way things were done in the old days. Don’t believe me? Here are a few examples:

1) Saving Apps:

The new wave of fintech apps that offer to help people save and invest their money, while helpful, was born out of the need to improve the way people saved money a long time ago. Back then, people would save money by just hiding it under their beds or in a hole in the wall until rats, thieves or their own children found it.

Fintech apps offer to automate the saving process by taking a percentage of your salary automatically (i.e the second it enters to avoid you having second thoughts). Then offer to let you choose the days they can get access to said money and how much so you don’t spend it all at once.

Indigenous innovation.

2) Group Saving Apps:

Just like the Ajo/Esus/Ataje contributions of old (also known as thrift saving), certain saving apps give users the option to engage in group saving (with their own terms and conditions).

3) Food Delivery Services:

This goes for both groceries and cooked food. Innovation took away the need to actually go walking around markets to buy foodstuff or going to restaurants to buy food and brings everything you need to your doorstep.

4) Social Media:

Back in the day, news travelled strictly by word of mouth. Hell, that’s how important stories and traditions were passed down from generation to generation. News usually started with the town criers walking around screaming all the details about the latest tea. Now, getting the tea is as easy as scrolling down your TL.

All we’ve said here today shows that when it comes to making things better in a society, you don’t always have to look too far. Sometimes, the answer is within you. All you have to do is turn it up!

Speaking of turning it up, here’s an ad from MTN that perfectly expresses what the phrase means in the context described in the article. Watch and be inspired:

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