Blog Post #4

  1. Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like?

We want our unique design process to integrate with the people living in Almaty.  It has to be a process that is sustainable, and that will promote entrepreneurial growth in Kazakhstan.The process has to be driven by the people’s needs, and our opinion will be complementary.

  1. Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them.

The students at KazNu that we are partnering with are definitely one of our most important stakeholders. Their unique attributes include their lifestyle. Since they are students in the city of Almaty, they see what is happening there everyday. Their personality is also an important attribute because they are a younger generation so they will see issues differently from some other adults living there. Their opinions are very important because they are the ones living there, so we are trying to improve their lives with our innovation. Where they reside is clearly important because they are in the city of Almaty, but they are also living in dorms which is unique. Their social class is also unique because some of them could be coming from different backgrounds with various family wealth, but now they are all studying to attain their own job and social class.


The citizens of Almaty are other important stakeholders to us. They live in one of the fastest growing cities (urban) in the southern part of the country. They use a lot of energy throughout the year (interests) especially during hot and cold months. Their motives, to move into Almaty, we can assume was to attain a well paying job (possibly in manufacturing). Their social class is also important, because there are sectors of the city that are much more wealthy than others. They also live in an area where they are exposed to a decent amount of air pollution (the climate).


Another stakeholder will be the manufacturer. Depending on if our manufacturer will be in Kazakhstan, or in another country will affect the attributes of this stakeholder. For now let’s say it is a manufacturer in Kazakhstan. Their interests are a unique attribute because they will mostly be interested in making the most money they can. Their motives are also therefore unique because they might not see the same end game we see; they will only see the product or innovation leave their factory. Their personality traits are also important because they may be set on doing things a certain way, and we may have to convince them otherwise (or visa versa). The benefits sought are also important because again they may have a different goal than us. The market density is important because we will be entering an already busy market.

  1. Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model.

Once we have a concept/technology for our project, we will validate it by getting a paper published about it. Through academic publishments, we can establish our concepts in a professional manner and we make sure that we benefit the scientific community through what we will accomplish. To measure our impact, we will collect a lot of data from our product in use in Almaty to have numbers to support its success (or failure). Depending on the product, we can also try to validate it by intelligently translating it to other parts of Kazakhstan (if applicable). To measure that, we can collect data on the effects of that issue before our innovation, and hopefully the improvements on that issue after. When it comes to the final phase (when our product is approved by the public), we will implement a suite of systems and innovations around the product to ensure its long term establishment. 

  1. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

I was in about 7th grade when I was first introduced to the concept of Fair Trade. I had never known the power I had as a consumer purchasing products at stores. I had never thought about the people who grew the crops, or stitched the cloth. Now that I am more aware, I try to make smarter purchasing decisions and think before I buy the cheapest option. 

When I went to Guatemala with a group from my church to visit our partner parish there, I was told that giving handouts was not an effective way of lessening poverty. This was the first time I really thought about that and began to understand. Giving someone food will not help them not be hungry the next day. It is more important to empower people and create a sustainable solution.

The first time that a friend recommended that I should run (as a sport), instead of playing soccer and softball (which I have grown up with), was a completely absurd idea to me. However, I tried it and it turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. 



Blog Post #3

  1. Top 20 questions team needs to answer to advance the venture forward. Categorize.


  1. What are the best ways of approaching sustainability goals?
  2. Can this project be implemented in other countries?
  3. Is this a long term solution to the problems we are currently facing?
  4. Will this project inspire similar initiatives/be recreated by other people?
  5. Is developing smart technology environmentally detrimental?
  6. How do we make the project sustainable?
  7. Will this project lead to lasting change?


  1. How big is the impact?
  2. Is change even possible without government help?
  3. Are the problems we are addressing a priority?
  4. What issues do they see that need to be solved?
  5. Will our solutions impact their market?
  6. Are we doing just as much harm as good?
  7. Do we have the depth to really make a difference?
  8. Are we inhibiting domestic social entrepreneurship?


  1. What kinds of partners are we looking for?
  2. Will culture halt our progress?
  3. What social barriers will inhibit our project?
  4. How can we affect different kinds of people?
  5. Is there a technology education and access gap?


2. Develop and Visualize the Theory of Change (Logic Model) for your venture.


  • 2-3 Publications 
    • Smart City Innovations
      • Engineering for Change
    • How smart innovations are integrated in cities
      • Discuss the impact of smart technology on cities 
        • The benefits, possible cons, social acceptance, cultural impacts, etc
        • Longevity of the device (how long does it stay relevant and impactful
    • How smart cities grow and adapt
      • Discuss the interaction between people and technology
        • How it affects daily life, city efficiency, etc
  • 3 practical products/solutions that we plan to test and potentially deploy to impact people in Almaty.


  • Publications allow for expanded outreach
    • More people on board with implementing smart technology in cities brings more awareness to the power and potential these solutions hold
      • Inspires others cities to implement them based on existing statistics that are included in the publications
  • A viable device that will improve human life in Almaty but can be applied generally to other growing cities



  • Develop an (2-3) MVPs (minimum viable product) or solutions to address real issues in Almaty.
  • Identify focus groups to test products on.
    • Record how the product was perceived by the people
  • Gather data to predict the projected impact our products would have.
  • Propose future publication titles
    • How our products were designed and perceived
    • Potential ways to avoid future mistakes and further the cause of the project.
  • Establishing what not to do for future teams.


  • Grow relations with partners in Kazakhstan.
  • Spur entrepreneurial spirit in the market.
  • Establish solutions to address problems. 
  • Improve (established goal)

Blog Post #2

  1. Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project.

Some cultural issues that might affect our project are ethnicity divide, education/language divide, and occupational gaps. There are many different ethnicities that make up the country of Kazakhstan. The two main groups are Russian and Kazakh. Since Kazakhstan used to be controlled by the Soviet Union, until recently, Russians were the majority. Since Kazakhstan has become independent, that has shifted. However, there are still many lasting impacts. Russians and Kazakhs speak different languages, often have different religions, and have different beliefs. So it may be difficult to work with everyone there to get our project done if we have to please two cultures. Also, that divide means that there are two dominant languages. Although Kazakh is the national language, Russian is most widely spoken. Schools used to be taught in Russian, but recently the government has placed regulations on schools to ensure that Kazakh is the language being used and taught, and that Kazakh history and culture is being taught instead. We will be staying at KazNU, so Kazakh will be the main language used and spoken, but many people will still speak Russian. We will need to make sure that we take into account Russian and Kazakh norms and culture when we begin our project. Another issue that may arise is that in Kazakhstan, there is a disproportionate spread of degrees being attained in higher education. Most students are pursuing the humanities, social sciences, and business. However, there is a lack in engineers, scientists, technicians, and professional managerial types. We will need to keep this in mind when we are trying to build our smart cities, that there may be less people who specialize as scientists or engineers.

2. Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home? Describe at least three such situations.

In the United States, there are also many ethnicities. I would say more so even than in Kazakhstan. Although there are parts of the US where cities or communities are divided based on their ethnicity, the country is strongly united still with the “American” culture. This may be because practically all schools speak and teach in English, and they teach primarily American history. So although we pride ourselves on being a country of many cultures, we are still strongly unified in one identity. There are educational differences between different schools across the nation (because it is so big), but the general curricula is relatively similar in the US. English is either spoken or taught at the schools here, which makes it easier for everyone to be able to work together in both the professional realm, and educational realm. In regards to an occupational gap, I think that the US has a wide spread of degrees that students are currently pursuing, and therefore there is a pretty good balance. However, some universities teach STEM better than others that may specialize in the arts. So depending on where a student goes to school can depend on the type of degree they are likely to pursue. Although certain occupations do have more people working in it, we still have a wide array of specialists.

3. Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to address community/market problems.

Standardizing education is a good step that can eliminate occupation/knowledge gaps. If everyone is taught the same major subjects, then everyone will be well rounded and able to pursue many different occupations that can benefit society. In addition, having one language that serves as a common language for trade transactions, job interactions, or economic interactions, would help things not get lost in translation. That does not mean that everyone has to speak only one language (the same as everyone else), but if one language is taught in schools (possibly in addition to others), that will help the country/community be united. In addition, teaching about many cultures in schools can help leverage problems. If people are taught from a very young age about different cultures, languages and beliefs, then they will be more understanding when they are older. The community will be inherently more accepting and inclusive. There will be less conflicts in a community if people understand each other better. However, I think that is important to let many cultures exist in a community. A community can be united and problem free without everyone having to be “the same.” Differences are good, but it is important to understand and accept them.

Blog Post #1

I applied to be a Global Social Impact Fellow because it is the exact first step I was looking for to help me fulfill my passion. My dream/goal when I graduate Lehigh is to work for a non-profit that works with people in need, either domestically or internationally, to help better their lives. I was fortunate enough to be born into a stable life, and because of that, I want to do everything in my power to help others achieve a safe life as well. I have the resources, so it is only right that I use it to help others. I also really value the impact of making a sustainable difference. I believe that in order to make a lasting difference, you have to change a process. You have to dig deeper than just the surface level issue to change it for good. Handing out food to a community that is starving is not going to stop them from being hungry next week. Building a school for a town is not going to help them pay for and locate teachers to educate the youth. In order to truly make a difference, you have to get to know the people within the country, or location, you are working with. You have to see what their lifestyle is like and how they believe things could be better.

I learned this the fall of my Junior year in high school. That year I traveled with my church to Guatemala to a small aldea with whom we have had a partnership with for over 10 years. The people of La Morena (the aldea) live in extreme poverty, and our parish’s goal was to figure out a way to make their lives better. So the initial trip (over 10 years ago) was just to meet the villagers, talk to them, see what their daily life was like, and ask them what they thought would make their lives better. After a few more trips, our parish decided that establishing a microfinace program with the villagers would serve the best. Through our program, we give out loans to the villagers, with very minimal interest rates, to help them start their businesses. Then, we stand with them every step of the way to help them make their company thrive if they need us. On my visit, I was able to see the impact these loans have had. For many people there, pig farming is a major source of income, and with the loans they were able to build that up. People also used their loans for their coffee farms, or to start selling merchandise. It was really neat to hear their stories about how it empowered them to make their lives better. That is why I wanted to join GSIF because it has the same goal: to initiate a long lasting change that finds the root of the cause, empowers locals, and works collaboratively to make a huge difference.

As I mentioned, I envision this course making me a better International Relations/Economics student by preparing me for the type of work that I want to do after college. Part of the work I want to do for a non-profit is learning about a country, doing research, and working with locals to enact a lasting and meaningful change. GSIF will begin to give me the experience and tools I need to do this later in life.

In places where eye care is likely most needed, is also where there are the fewest optometrists and specialists in the field. That is why I believe a good place to begin to solve this crisis is to place optometrists from developed countries, into clinics in countries that are underdeveloped. By putting an experienced optometrist in clinics all around the world, it will increase the knowledge about the importance of eye check ups. Once the optometrists are stationed at clinics, they can teach the doctors there about eye health. In addition, the optometrists can perform eye checks on patients that arrive for other issues, which will broaden their reach. Hopefully, that will begin to set a standard of eye check ups annually, or bi-annually at clinics. Therefore, once the specialized optometrists return home, the doctors they taught will be able to continue to check people. In regards to supplying the physical glasses, the optometrists that are sent to the underdeveloped countries should bring some lenses and frames with them. But while they are there, they can also educate locals on how to make glasses themselves. So while they will be provided eye glasses for the first few months/years, they will soon learn how to make them on their own, which will in turn create more jobs and continue to broaden the knowledge about basic eye care.