CINQ 396: Blog 8

Guy Kawasaki’s ‘The Art of the Start’ talk was extremely interesting and thought provoking. While the talk is referring to start up businesses, the entrepreneurial spirit associated with it applies well to our research projects here at Lehigh. One point that stood out to me was the idea that you should start your company (or project in our case) with the idea of creating meaning. Two ways he mentioned to do so which apply to our project would be to increase the quality of life or keep something good from ending. In our case, the results of our data collection and analysis could result in preventative policies or allocation of resources which would certainly increase the quality of life in Sierra Leone. If Ebola outbreaks can be predicted, their spread could be mitigated, which would keep the health of many Sierra Leoneans from deteriorating, i.e. maintain something good. Another point made was to get going and think differently. I think this strategy is applied to our project already- we have already set our trip for fieldwork in Sierra Leone. The idea of thinking differently has also been explored in our project meetings. For example, we are considering administering the survey to children in schools as opposed to our original idea of community health workers surveying adults. In addition, we are considering partnering with Statistics SL, an organization that may be able to assist in the data collection process. Guy Kawasaki also mentioned finding a few soulmates. I also think this is important in our project. I think this point has been applied in terms of our current team but should also be applied in Sierra Leone. Currently, I think our team is driven and consists of individuals who bring value in different areas to the table. Going forward, I think it is important to find a few soulmates in Sierra Leone as well in order to create and maintain contacts and assist generally with our project as the data collection must occur in Sierra Leone. The suggestion of weaving a MAT for the project also resonated with me as well. This is listing the milestones, assumptions, and tasks for the project. For example, when we complete our IRB approval that would be a milestone in our project. We are also making a few assumptions regarding our fieldwork in Sierra Leone. For one thing, we are assuming that between the 3 of us we can essentially survey a village in a day. We are also assuming that we will be able to travel for at least 4 days during our time in Sierra Leone. Based on these assumptions, all of us on the team will have to complete certain tasks during the fieldwork such as administering the survey. Lastly, Guy’s point to hire infected people stuck with me as well. By this he meant individuals who are passionate about the project and do not just meet the relevant background and experience requirements. I think this will be extremely important for us in Sierra Leone. If we expect individuals to complete the tasks we are looking for, one of the best ways to drive them is their own interest and motivation for the project. It is much less of a chore or job for individuals to do things that they are passionate about. With these ideas in mind, we have created a business model canvas for our project:

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