Solutionism is the idea that every possible human and real world problem can be solved by technology.
This idea is at the core of most of the innovation in Silicon Valley and is the reason why we have so many apps on the Google Playstore and the Apple App Store.
Solutionism is the reason why we have Uber, why we have AirBnb, etc.
In the western world they have a cliche that goes like this, “…there’s an app for that…” Basically, what this means is that most of our human tasks and activities can be digitized and managed by technology somehow.
The list just doesn’t end with internet-based technology services and platforms. If you look at the way we do banking nowadays, there is usually a smartphone app somewhere, or an ATM that can do most of what we want to do with our money. The classic debit or credit card that we swipe with is a good example. We have talking and smart speakers these days which can tell you the weather or the news for the day.
Zimbabwe is a country that is undergoing a major transition and most of us have heard it in the media as the “new economic dispensation”. Most of us just translate this to mean that the country is ready to move forward and to prosper once again. Cool right?
Technology is one aspect of this new dispensation that must be a vital part of the transition.
In the new Zimbabwe, we must reject mediocre processes and systems and embrace cutting-edge technology that solves the daily problems that are faced by the ordinary man.
The new electronic voter registration is a good start that I personally applaud. It’s a good move in the right direction. But there’s a whole lot more that we need to do to make things easier and better.
Imagine a Zimbabwe where you don’t need to wait long queues in a passport office because the systems just work and everything can be done electronically.
Imagine a Zimbabwe where you can request for an Uber (or a version of Uber customized to Zimbabwe’s environment. There should be a better way of doing the ‘go-faster’ transportation method right?).
Imagine a Zimbabwe where applying for university is not a pain and where graduates don’t have to physically move from one town to another dropping CVs to prospective employers.
Imagine a Zimbabwe where you can buy airtime at 12 midnight from any bank to any network.
Imagine a Zimbabwe where a farmer can forecast their crop output and control their crop yield via technological machinery.
Imagine a Zimbabwe where commuting to work isn’t a nightmare anymore.
Imagine a Zimbabwe where you can view your actual water usage on some portal and manage your consumption.
Imagine a Zimbabwe where hospitals and clinics use innovative technology to diagnose and administer treatment as well as manage patient records.
The new president has declared that Zimbabwe is “open for business” it is probably time for venture capitalists all over the world to start funding technology hubs such as B2C, and so forth.
But above and beyond, the major point to note and the reason for this article is that the locals themselves and Zimbabweans themselves should start dreaming and embrace the idea of solutionism.
We must endeavour to make the world a better place and it starts in our own backyard. We must dream of better ways of working, better ways of schooling, and better ways of managing our homes and things around us.
Let us come up with innovative technology that will solve the common problems that are faced by the ordinary man in the community.
Solutionism is a mindset we must adopt and once we do, we start seeing solutions for every problem we face and we start making lives better for ourselves and for everyone else.
Not only will life become better, solutionism creates a digital economy and that means that job creation is guaranteed as well as improved systems and processes that improve the quality of life for the ordinary Zimbabwean.
This guest article was authored by James Ritala, a software engineer living in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ritala helps companies build amazing software products that improve their business processes as well as make it easier for their customers to conduct business with them.
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