Giving Young Africans Agency: Building The ‘Hustler MBA’

You know that I hate hyperbole… but tomorrow, the next episode of what we’re kind of calling ‘Season 4’ of the Learning Futures Group podcast, ‘Learning Is The New Working,’ drops and I think it’s genuinely the most thought-provoking one we’ve ever done.

That’s because it’s an intense and far-reaching conversation about things that matter just as much as the future of workplace learning: ultimately, it’s a rumination on, Is the global economic system we’re all so used to actually working for enough of us any more?

To be clear: this isn’t any kind of Democrat or Republican political caucus meeting! It’s simply the thinking of an L&D practitioner right at the cutting-edge of social change in Africa – Rob Burnet, the Founder & CEO of Well Told Story, the Nairobi-based company two-times Emmy-award winning youth communications platform media and communications Shujaaz.

Well Told Story, an amazing East African-based social enterprise, is ultimately all about helping young Africans find the economic opportunities and a way to shape the futures they deserve, in a system which simply isn’t creating enough conventional jobs for them. As we’ll find, that’s no less than 8 million Kenyans and Tanzanians, for whom Burnet and his growing team see as the audience they need to speak to and help.

Conducting our engagement with Well Told Story and its very singular message of hope and achievement in a complex world this week is my esteemed co-host/co-curator of this special Global Aid-focused episode run, Lutz Ziob – long-term colleague, mentor, friend and all-round, proud and out-loud fellow ‘Learning Geek’!

 Lutz, who many of us will know from his many years at Microsoft, including at Microsoft Africa, now runs Ziob Consulting. That’s a company 100% focused on the dynamic interaction between technology innovation, skills and job transformation, and the changing approaches to learning and skills development. Just as I do, Lutz sees digital transformation, often described as the 4th Industrial Revolution, as a truly global process, which is why he is so interested on its impact right across the African continent, as well as the opportunities opening up through collaboration between Africa and Europe (and his native Germany in particular).

 You may recall that this is part of our current in-depth exploration of the global $200bn global aid sector in terms of what it can teach us in the Workplace Learning community. One of the most dynamic, intriguing, hard-pressed, for sure, but vital parts of the human story, the work that’s going on in the voluntary and NGO space to make the world a better place deserves all of our attention. From government agency to the millions of local helping hands, from the public-private partnership to the intervention of the well-funded tech benefactor, we’re trying to map how the same factors of change and disruption we have talk about in other parts of ‘Learning Is The New Working’ are playing out here.

 I really hope you agree ‘Learning 4 Good’ sounds interesting to you, and that you have enough time to listen to this discussion with Rob. I promise it’s one of the best uses of an hour you will find all year… and if you feel you want to hear more about Learning 4 Good topics, click to subscribe directly to ‘Learning Is The New Working’, where ‘Learning 4 Good’ is running on alternate 2-week cycles with our regular LITNW episodes over on Apple Podcasts Spotify GooglePlay SoundCloud


 Chris Pirie

The Learning Futures Group