Keep It Simple Stupid



We won! 

What a way to start 2021.

Over the years, on my journey in the Game Development Industry, I have been blessed with great friends. So when I found out that we as the Moran StoryLab would be participating in an all-female XR Hackathon this month I reached out to my friend Roy for some advice. 

Roy had participated in the previous XR (extended reality) Hackathon by the same company BlackRhinoVR and their team had won an award. I went through some ideas with Roy after which he gave me a task to research a few things. And one of those was the parable of the talents in the Bible.

I found this a strange way to approach finding Tech solutions but I trust Roy so I went ahead and looked for the parable to refresh my memory. That is when I saw the correlation between the message of the parable and the theme of the XR Hackathon which was "Eradication of Systemic Corruption using VR/AR Solutions".

The Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:14-30

For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. 

Then he went away. He who had received the five talents made five talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money.

Now after a long time, the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, "Master, you delivered to me five talents; here, I have made five talents more."

His master said to him, "Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master."

He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying. "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here, you have what is yours."

But his master answered him, " You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming, I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents.

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

The overarching issue we noted as a team when it comes to corruption is mismanagement of funds so this parable resonated. However, while we went through our ideas as the Moran StoryLab team, we realized there is a need for people to be educated on various important issues such as the fact that we have paid taxes since we were children through everyday goods. Therefore even if some of us don't pay taxes directly from our salary, we still need to care how the funds are used. 

Another learning opportunity was that there are ways unknown by most that one can report corrupt officials anonymously while protecting themselves and their loved ones.

At first, our idea was jumbled up. We had so many problems we wanted the solution to solve. But thanks to the witty message by Brian Afande the Managing Director of BlackRhinoVR keep it simple stupid we decided to simplify our solution. So on the first day of the Hackathon when all the other teams hacked away, we went back to the drawing board to simplify our solution and bring some form of clarity.


The team going back to the drawing board

These were the most trying moments during the Hackathon but we somehow pulled through. Using the resources we had at our disposal, we saw it fit to make an educational augmented reality experience that teaches the user how to report corruption cases anonymously so as to protect their identities as witnesses.


We called our solution Whistle Blowing 101

As we've learnt from the parable we are all given responsibilities according to our abilities. We as a team,  after the short training we had received from BlackRhinoVR mentors, were able to come up with a simple solution that would help in solving a crucial problem. A problem so crucial that lives have been lost as a result.

During the presentation of our solutions, we made sure to mention a few of the many lives that were affected due to lack of knowledge on how to protect themselves. Those examples included John Githongo, David Munyakei and Boniface Mwangi who upon revealing corruption underwent some grave repercussions. 

Upon revealing the Anglo Leasing scandal, John Githongo sought exile in the UK due to claims of a threat to his life. After exposing the Goldenberg scandal, David Munyakei was sacked from his job at the Central Bank of Kenya. As a result, he was not able to buy some medicine he needed and later succumbed to the illness. 

Boniface Mwangi, on the other hand, had to send his family to the United States because his activism against corruption put them all in danger. As seen in his award-winning documentary film Softie the move affected his relationship with his family including his firstborn son almost denouncing him as a father.

It is as a result of such stories that people turn a blind eye to corruption because we do not know how to protect ourselves. There is so much to lose as individuals. However, now with our solution, people will know there are more secure ways of reporting corruption cases such as going through the Ethics and Anti-Corruption (EACC) website and filling in forms anonymously. 

In the parable, the "unfaithful servant" accused their master of some form of impunity but did not seem to have any evidence. Such accusations even to date fall on deaf ears; that is why to further our solutions upon funding, we would like to come up with a platform where people can upload videos and photos as evidence which will go through some form of fact-checking among other procedures.

In the spirit of keeping things simple stupid, we made our prototype the simplest and most straight forward way we could. We avoided making a prototype of how we envisioned the future software solution to look and resorted to stating it during the presentation. I loved how easy it was to explain what our solution was about and how when the judges sent questions our way we were all able to assist one another in answering them. 

The synergy throughout the Hackathon was amazing. Our bond as a team grew in leaps and bounds and now I look forward to working on a 360-degree video shoot together later this year. 

After the Hackathon, we had a Protecting Your Intellectual Property talk organized by BlackRhinoVR on the following Tuesday to prepare us for the future should our projects get funding for further development. 





We won 600 dollars by practising simplicity and now our 2021 is off to a great start. I would like to challenge you to find ways to simplify the things you do. Ease into them and find ways to relieve stress. Simplify the goals you have so that you have tiny little habits you do regularly towards the achievement of the larger goal. When you get the chance read the book Atomic Habits. And on that note. I wish you the very best this new year and remember to keep it simple stupid

11 comments:

Unknown said...

I love this

Wendi Ndaki said...

Thank you for reading :)

Nyla Nyairo said...

Love this. It was lovely working with you...

Joseph Obel said...

Simple and stupid is the way to go! This is so vivid. Thanks Wendi!

Unknown said...

Good Wendy.... We wouldn't have made it without you.

Unknown said...

Good Wendy.... We wouldn't have made it without you.

Wendi Ndaki said...

It was lovely working with you too Nyla :)

Wendi Ndaki said...

Thanks for reading and for your kind words Joseph

Wendi Ndaki said...

Thank you! we did it together :) the highlight of the whole Hackathon experience for me was the synergy our team had. It was a great way to strengthen our bond.

Lilian Adhiambo said...

Thanks wendy ... Can't find a better way that this could have been passed across ...well done..

Wendi Ndaki said...

Thanks Lilian. It was fun working with you, keep those good vibes flowing.

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