The idea that Safaricom stole has been revealed
Despite writing a very long explanation as to why ideas are worth nothing, many Kenyans still found fault with Safaricom on the accusation that the company steals ideas, terming the practice unethical. Many went ahead to accuse Safaricom of not only stealing ideas but also stealing hard earned cash in form of data bundles and airtime credit. On the accusation that Safaricom steals data bundles, I will personally run a stringent test to find out just how true this is and report my findings in this forum.
In the meantime let us delve into the details of the idea that Safaricom stole from Mwangi Chege. The hashtag #SafaricomStealsIdeas caught the attention of Cofek, prompting the consumer federation to tweet to Safaricom requesting a response to the accusations. Safaricom was kind enough to offer a candid explanation to Cofek that included, in its row form, the entire idea that Mwangi Chege had shared with them.
After explaining to Cofek that Safaricom encourages those with ideas to protect those ideas with Kenya Industrial Property Institute (KIPI) before sharing, and that Safaricom works closely with KIPI to create awareness on protection of ideas, designs and prototypes, Safaricom went ahead to state that Mwangi Chege had proposed to them an idea where Safaricom would roll out a product to allow commuters to easily access bus fare, as, today, most commuters stranded either at home or town rely on expensive shylock loans for emergency bus fare. The bus fare, if granted by Safaricom to the stranded commuters, would be paid back when the subscribers top up their airtime.
This idea, Safaricom explained further, was rejected since Safaricom already operates Mshwari and KCB MPESA platforms from which subscribers can obtain emergency cash that they “can use for any reasons they want, including bus fare”. In his idea however, Mwangi Chege had stated that few Kenyans “have access to m-shwari loans due to savings hurdle”.
Reading through the entire idea by Mwangi Chege, it is easy to infer that Mr. Chege wanted Safaricom to provide a more lenient credit terms to stranded commuters. However, as Safaricom pointed out in their response to Cofek, Mwangi Chege did not provide “any detail as to how the solution would work”. Also, Safaricom further explained, the idea was not commercially viable.
Speaking about ideas to Safaricom, I have personally recommended to Safaricom, through this platform and via social media, for them to operate bureaus either in their shops or at third party shops for collecting and returning lost National ID cards for a small fee. I assure them, if they implement the idea, I will not write an article here or elsewhere complaining of how “Safaricom stole my idea”.
The entire idea by Mwangi Chege hasn’t been shared because I didn’t receive it in a form that I can copy paste.