ThoughtLab is a digital transformation advisory service built to unleash emerging market companies.

Constraints create

Innovation loves limitations. So we’ll use under 200 words to describe what we can do. That’s 20 already. Better tighten up. Right. Business transformation. We do it. Digital, tech, ventures. In emerging markets. From inside your company. If it’s simple, we don’t make it technical. No demands for huge budgets, or excuses without them. We transform what you have, we don’t transplant complexities you don’t need. In reduction, self-sufficiency and resourcefulness, we re-harness your existing powers for a digital future. There are no quick fixes, but there are clear answers. We help you figure out what they are by embedding ourselves in your day-to-day. We probe for solutions so simple, they seem obvious once they’re found. We think laterally and implement with both hands. When resources are limited, we get experimental to find efficiencies. Lk, wht f w ddnt nd vwls nymre? Npe, tht dsn’t wrk. Because not every original idea works. But we don’t stop interrogating your business until we find the one that does. We call it hacking for impact, and we use nascent technology to do it. The reward is real, sustainable digital transformation, built on emerging market smarts and a healthy disregard for buzzwords. Phew. 199.


James Scott
Chief Digital Officer In Residence

James lives for fresh problems. His 22-year career doesn’t lie. He’s gone all over the world looking for them. The early years took him from South Africa to Kenya, Tanzania, the UK and Ireland with Citi in Global Markets. After 9 years with Citi he joined Barclays to lead their African electronic trading business.

He developed a liking for the kinds of problems globally connected African markets present, so of course, James went hunting the whale. He landed it when he became Chief Digital Officer at Absa Corporate and Investment Bank. His favorite problem: digitally disentangling Absa and Barclays Plc across Africa, the biggest tech project in the Southern Hemisphere at the time. In 7 years as CDO, James led all client & colleague facing technologies for transactional products, global markets, and new digital propositions. He also oversaw product design, data, platforms and new proposition ventures…tl;dr James did a lot of digital stuff.

And then he wondered what kinds of fresh problems starting a new company would create. So he founded 2 at once. ThoughtLab is one, the other is Hive Ventures, an African seed fund for tech-forward startups. Now that the twins are up-and-running, James would appreciate it if someone could finally set him an impossible digital transformation ask.


Digital Transformation

This is ThoughtLab in residence. Whichever project leader you get, they won’t be a consultant. Instead, they’ll be something a lot more like an embedded Chief Digital Officer. Their sleeves are always rolled up, ready to transform your company with both hands. Expect audacious problem-solving, and the creative use of nascent technologies. The advisory period only concludes when the digital transformation proves its integrity in real world conditions – or when the custom outcome is achieved.

Product Build

You’ve had an idea for a digital product that you know could revolutionise your process, open up a whole new revenue stream or launch a new business venture. But you don’t have the internal capacity to build it. So you keep doing what you’ve been doing, until your next genius product concept comes along. Enter ThoughtLab. We’ll build it for you. We’ll implement it for you. It will actually exist.

Strategic Advisory

There’s a very good chance that your business already holds the answer to its own digital transformation questions. The strategic advisory service is not embedded like full digital transformation advisory. Instead, the approach is efficiency and economy of effort. ThoughtLab consults with you on the simplest way to optimise resources and structures for maximum impact. This is all about modern, resilient, growth strategies for a digital era.

Business Venture Building

ThoughtLab is a tech-focused African startup. That’s not the only thing that qualifies us to help African startups build products or scale up their business ventures. We have the experience of building the digital infrastructure for companies from all sectors, at all stages of growth. If you want to grow from seed to tech multinational, we know how it looks in Africa.

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