Innovating from the space between the problem and the solution

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When attempting to innovate, it’s easy to fall into the trap of jumping straight to proposing a solution before fully understanding what the problem is. However, very often the gap between the issue and the answer is where the real game-changers are found. That’s why Triggerise has established an innovation sandbox.

The sandbox is designed for rapid experimentation of early-stage ideas in a real-world setting. Our platform actors, including pharmacies, clinics, community mobilisers and the girls, boys, women and men who use our platforms are all involved. Historically, it’s been a challenge for us to pilot ideas with high levels of uncertainty in the midst of implementation. The sandbox allows us to take operational, technological and other challenges into a real-world setting and trial them in a controlled environment before introducing them into our operations.


By consciously taking time to explore various facets of a problem before coming up with a solution, we can meaningfully connect theories and data insights to real life. To achieve this, rather than building a full product, we start with a prototype concept or a minimum viable product. This serves to reduce uncertainty and highlight areas for Triggerise to place big bets.

The internal launch of the innovation sandbox was held in Nairobi on the 28 and 29 September 2022. For this two-day event, members of our Kenya Field Operations, Product, Support and Engineering teams from South Africa, Portugal and beyond were brought together.

During day one, multi-departmental teams tackled two theoretical challenges, namely ‘how might we get more of our users to visit our providers for services?’ and ‘how might we increase retention and performance of mobilisers on the platform?’ Ideas from more rapid and efficient payment methods, to mobiliser motivation schemes, to testing feedback loops in the app, were suggested as possible improvements.


The four teams on the second day then took their ideas to Machakos County, Kenya to trial them within Triggerise’s ecosystem. The teams met with service providers and mobilisers who support our provision of sexual reproductive health services for adolescents.

The results were fascinating; for two of the groups, the ideas were consolidated and confirmed through user interactions. For the other two groups, however, the problem they envisaged was not what they discovered to be the core issue in reality. One group, for example, found that the greatest concern for the service provider they engaged with was not the tech (as they had originally anticipated), but was, in fact, staff turnover. The focus of solution-seeking changed from tech streamlining to how to encourage clinic staff to stay for longer.

The exercise highlighted the importance of open-mindedness, and that assumptions are challenged through interaction. It was evident that quick fixes can have a big impact, and that fostering positive relationships plays a critical role in making this possible. It demonstrated how important our own communication as an organisation is to improving our internal performance, and also the value of promoting closer external collaboration in designing interventions by bringing in actors across the complete ecosystem.

The biggest learning for many of our team members was the process itself, and the first-hand experience that solutions lie with the users and actors on our platform. The activity focused our innovation agenda, creating real-life improvements to our services for end users. By the end of the two days, half of the regional teams had already structured quarterly replica events into their working calendars in order to maintain the momentum.


The innovation sandbox is about taking intentional steps to tackling problems, and, through incremental trial and error in controlled environments, finding the big issues that will help us to continuously improve. At Triggerise, we have existing ecosystem infrastructures that are ideal spaces for such innovation.

The success of the launch event positions us to open the innovation sandbox up to external collaborators from mid-2023. Facilitated by us, you can test solutions to development problems in the Triggerise ecosystem real-world setting.

Find out more: [email protected]

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