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How James Mwangi Taps 20-Year-Olds to Make Billions

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He’s just been ranked among the world’s Top 50 business leaders.

In November, he reported a Ksh17 billion nine-month profit for the period ended September 30 and is the epitome of success in Corporate Kenya but as it turns out, millennials could stake claim to Equity Group’s CEO James Mwangi resounding success.

With business dynamics shifting every now and then, Dr Mwangi finds himself turning to young people to confirm an intuition about a business idea, a major company decision or an exciting business idea.

Speaking during an interview with audit and financial services firm KPMG in its Agile or Irrelevant 2019 CEO Outlook, Dr Mwangi says that business leaders have no option but to use both traditional and non-traditional sources of information as they conduct their due diligence and as they critically analyze trends in the market.

According to Dr Mwangi, in the world of borderless organizations, information comes from multiple industries and thus a CEO must seek information from outside the company’s sectors. He maintains that these are the sources that give you a different perspective on the state of the industry, innovations and business models.

“The information doesn’t respect age and so one goes to seek information from those who, have it, including the millennials / Gen Z who may not be in Senior Management and Boards of Directors,”

Eqity Group CEO James Mwangi

Mwangi adds that a bank has to be a learning organization that seeks knowledge from anywhere and anyone in the world via site visits to the best of breed companies, sourcing new technologies and staff from any company globally, learning and using business models borrowed from the very best in the industry.

Idea Management System

With CEOs now accepting ideas from any quarters, Mwangi is convinced that corporates should invest in idea management systems to manage the flow of ideas coming from multiple directions.

He avers that in order to learn, business leaders need to get out of their comfort zones and acquire companies in or outside their industry and continuously recruit staff that brings onboard new competencies that will scale the business to new heights.

“Apple buys 40 to 50 new companies every year, almost a new company every week just to keep up with competition and adopt new technologies much faster,” says Dr Mwangi.


Mwangi also says it’s important for organizations to have a strong innovation culture and management must take responsibility for failure and shield staff to ensure that the culture of innovation is embedded without fear of repercussions.

” Companies need a failing fast culture where lessons from failure are meticulously and quickly documented and widely shared so that the institution doesn’t suffer from ignorance of past failures, management takes 100 percent responsibility and the taskforces learns and moves to the next innovation,

Dr Mwangi

He opines that learning from failures helps the company mature much faster in terms of innovations management, maturity and increasing return on investment from innovations.

See Also: KCB’s Sh1bn Annual Gamble That Yields Fat Profits

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