1) To me, a perfect design process starts will nature. I have found that through my life both personally and academically, the design of everything tends to mimic nature. An ideal process for me starts with the things that you can learn from the environment around you. I actually took this into account when we first started to do work on the malnutrition project. We knew that we would have to first identify the available foods that we could purchase in large quantities in Sierra Leone. There is essentially no point in making a product out of a resource that won’t be available in the place we intend to implement it. After accounting for nature the next important step in my design process is always functionality. The product needs to be as efficient as possible for it to be a viable option in my opinion. I really dislike the phrase, “It’s good enough” because to me that means that the product or end result could have been better, but the people working on the product cut corners or were lazy in the completion of the project. After I’ve taken into account nature, and the functionality, then I move onto the beauty of the product. Now, personally, beauty isn’t important to me in most aspects of life. I would much rather have a car that works and gets me from point A to point B than have a Ferrari that breaks down every 5 minutes. I do, however, understand the importance of beautifying a said product in order to increase the ability to sell it by having more people desire the product. All life is attracted to shiny things, from fish in the sea being attracted to the shiny lure in the water, to humans wanting also striving for nicer and nicer processions.
2) We have been able to validate the concept in a few ways by ensuring the product can be made in Sierra Leone by working with Professor Khanjan and Jawara, a resource on the ground in Sierra Leone. In order to fully be able to validate the project, however, a few more steps must be taken in order to achieve that goal. A business model is another step we need to take in order to ensure that the product we decide on is profitable for all involved. It needs to be profitable for the employees we have work in our cake factory, it must be profitable to the street vendor selling the product, so he/she has an incentive to sell our product on their cart. Finally, it must be profitable to us, the team developing it, as the money we could potentially gain could go into more research and possibly an expansion to other developing countries. Another aspect of the project we need to validate will have to wait until we get to Sierra Leone. We need validation from the mothers in Sierra Leone in order to get approval to sell the product there. The culture in Sierra Leone is very matriarchal and mothers have the final decision on what they feed the children. We are going to do our best to be sure they like our product and in doing this we are contacting a sensory expert that can provide us with key information about the likes and dislikes of the people in Sierra Leone to ensure we are matching the common values that they have in their foods taste, texture, color, size, and smell. Once we are able to accomplish these goals, we can properly validate the project.
3) My philosophy of engagement with communities, partners, and markets is the same it is in my everyday. First of all, I was a Boy Scout for many years and eventually earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 2016. In that program there is a reoccurring theme which is “leave no trace” and the motto is ” Always be prepared”. These two sayings are what I live by and they apply to every aspect of my life. When it comes to communities it is important to leave no trace. What this means is that the only way people should know we were there is because of the positive outcomes we produced, and to leave to negative side-effects from our venture. This is really important to me because I don’t want to introduce new issues into a developing country just to cause a different issue. When it comes to partners and markets, the second saying comes in handy. All all of those interactions, I feel it is of utmost importance to ensure that we come into these meetings and relationships fully prepared so we appear knowledgeable and passionate. I find it incredibly unprofessional when people aren’t prepared for meetings and ventures, so we will be sure to have all of our homework done.