Blog Post #8

Five compelling Take Aways from Art of the Start

  1. That we need to find soul mates. This in a way relates to how our team was created. The Copra team was an all engineering team that was more focused how designing something but they hadn’t thought of how they were going to put their product on the market effectively. This is why our team exists we will show them effective ways they can put a product on the market effectively.
  2. Having a specific Business model. How is what we are doing unique or different from another companies.
  3. Not being afraid to reinvent something. Just because something is already made does not mean you would not be able to design a better product because of it.
  4. Weave a MAT. Just having something planned out already will make it easier for someone to execute their plan on time and to its full potential.
  5. Creating a mission statement that is unique to you. Anyone can have a generic mission statement but if you have one that speaks true to you and your intentions it will make stand out.

My vale propositions is a more cost effective way of drying their copra. We are alleviating a financial burden for them by cutting out the middle man. As a result of this we are becoming a support for these farmers who previously did not have a voice.

Our Total Available Market are

  • copra farmers
    • received very little education
    • who live in rural areas
    • Philippino
    • Probably Married
  • Coconut processing plants

Our Total Addressable Market is

  • We will reach out specifically to the small copra farmers who do not have the means to keep up with the copra market.
  • There is a value of 10.1 billion dollars in the coconut market
  • The Philippines is the world’s second largest copra producer
    • 14.5 million tons of coconuts are produced by the Philippines
    • a quarter of total farmland of the Philippines is dedicated to the coconut

Blog #7

  1. Summarize and report out on the results of the SKS exercise. 
    1. Start: Begin to communicate with each other better and with the engineering copra team. While the transition to another project has been difficult, if our team begins to collaborate more with the engineering team, this will help us not only with our research but with moving our project alongside with theirs. Having constant communication with their team can also help us to not have overlapping research on both ends. 
    2. Stop: Leaving things for the last minute has been a difficult challenge for our team to overcome. We tend to think we have more time than we do to meet deadlines or to perform our own research. A way for us to stop leaving things for the last minute could be to hold each other accountable for the work they are in charge of for the week, or even check in and make sure the workload they have for the week or reasonable for the time they have to dedicate to the project. 
    3. Keep: weekly meetings. Our weekly meetings are important because this is where we share the research that we have done for the week and we also have the chance to get feedback and ask each other clarifying questions if we do not understand something that is going on. Apart from research these weekly meetings allow us to build a relationship with the others on our team both socially and academic, which in the long run help move the project along because it is easier to work with people that you enjoy being around and trust. 
  2. Develop a detailed Collaboration Plan for your team clearly articulating your goals (Small g and Big G), Roles, Procedures, and Relationships. 
    1. Small g: 
      1. Create an informative presentation that shows the importance of the work our team is attempting to and to effectively work alongside the engineering team in order to support the process they are taking to change the system that we are also attempting to change.  
    2. Big G: 
      1. Find a way to preserve the color and texture of the copra as well as prevent aflatoxin formation by the end of the fellowship and leave the necessary information for the next team to get started on either refining our process to preserve color and texture in a more efficient way or work on more methods that prevent aflatoxin. 
    3. Roles: 
      1. Michelle: As a biology major, I have found my role on the team as looking for a way to better preserve the copra. I have researched that the main reason why people don’t buy “bad” copra is due to the appearance of it. However the copra is perfect fine to use and eat.I have found that if we are able to find a way to stop the copra from turning “brown” copra farmers would be able to still make a profit on copra that people would not have previously bought. 
      2. Rozhin: As a Molecular Biology major, I want to research ways to stop the breakdown of the enzymes that create browning in the copra as well as methods to preserve its texture and prevent aflatoxins from forming, which are carcinogens found in molds that can be very dangerous to living organisms if consumed.
      3. Bri: 
      4. Larissa: As a cognitive science major I want to focus on how the current processing system is affecting the farmers that use it and then compare how much better or worse off they will be with the product that both the engineering team and our team will come up with. Apart from the effective the device will have, the device will require some new education on how to properly use it to its full potential and this is also a role I will play, finding the best ways to educate the farmers who will be using the device in a way that is easy for them to understand but also efficient as they may not have the time to take a long course to use the device.  
    4. Procedures: 
      1. Since everyone has different majors and focuses in this team, decision making will be depending on each person’s expertise and a final decision will be made by the person that the subject relates most to. If questions arise or a consensus is not determined then a majority vote or the involvement of the faculty will be made.
      2. In order to have effective meetings, we will be having status updates on each person’s focus and each person will be writing a brief summary of what their update is on the meeting notes section in OneNote before the meeting and can add more notes to it if any more research is needed, etc during or after the meeting.
      3. We will be meeting twice a week: once with the advisor and once with just the team members. Meeting times will be determined on a group decision every week since everyone has different schedules and we will be having meetings on Google Docs and Zoom/Facetime. 
    5. Relationships: 
      1. The Engineering Copra team is one of our relationships because we are working on different aspects of the same problem. 
      2. The University in the Philippines who will help us better when we are conducting research. They are more knowledgeable of the area and who we should speak to if we need certain data. They can also help us as our translators if that is necessary.


Blog #6

Does your work require IRB approvals?

If Yes, articulate your detailed IRB strategy.

If No, explain why you don’t need IRB approval and

identify situations when you might need IRB approval.

  1. Our work with copra farmers does not require IRB approval. The only thing we need to perform our research and project will be a letter from officials in the Philippines which states what we are doing and that it is okay for us to do our project. A situation that would need IRB Approval could be a project where we are directly working with the farmers and doing research on their direct lives, collecting identifiable information from them. This would require IRB approval because we would collect this information and then have to make sure it won’t be accessible to others who could identify the people that we have surveyed. 


Develop an outline for your mid-semester presentations.

What supporting evidence will you provide for each point?

How will you boost your credibility every step of the way?

An outline of our mid-semester presentations will first start with an outline of what the copra project is. The project that Professor Jedlicka’s team is doing and how this will then impact our project. We can talk about how we are collaborating with the engineers on the team to see what the needs of the people are. We could also work alongside their team to learn about what vendors look for when buying the copra product. From our side of the project, we will be researching many articles regarding the best ways to design and what to include in the copra project creation as well as how the business process of copra in and outside of the Philippines, so that we can make the most efficient item for the farmers.


Blog Post #5

List ten things that make you human

  1. The mistakes I make
    1. These mistakes I make allow me to learn. It teaches me that I am not perfect. These mistakes teach me that I am responsible for everything I do in life and if I were to make a mistake it is something I have to take responsibility for it.
  2. That I do not know everything
    1. No one knows everything about the World. I have to be open to others to learn about the World and about things I have never known.
  3. My ability to forgive
    1. In life I have been through many instances where I have been wronged. In these instances I wanted to stay mad at them but I knew I had to forgive them. Once I was able to forgive it would feel like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.
  4. My constant need for attention
    1. All humans crave attention and in order to receive attention I need to do something so people are able to notice me. This then pushes me to do things that I would never do. It brings me opportunities that allow me to better myself as a person and the World.
  5. My problem solving skills
    1. My brain works in a way when I am faced with a problem of how am I able to fix this and if I were able to fix it what would be the effects of that
  6. Constantly asking why
    1. Humans are naturally curious and I am similar in this way. When observing the World I constantly ask why. Why does this machine work the way it does? Why do certain people interact this way? Why are we able to do these things but not others.
  7.  My senses
    1. The ability for me to smell, see, taste touch and listen all allow me be to be human. They allow me to be immersed in the world and fully understand what is happening. It allows me to notice things that others may not be able to observe.
  8. My ability to imagine
    1. It allows me to think more about what I am just seeing. I am able to look deeper into things and form my own thoughts from this imagination. I would be able to make connections to things.
  9. My insecurities
    1. My insecurities could be thought of as my weakness. Everyone has weaknesses and they are considered the downfalls of them. However I embraces them and can better myself from them. It humbles me as a person and teaches me that I am not perfect.
  10. My values
    1. Everyone has different values. Their values sometime dictates how a person reacts to things in their life. It pushes them to find their true passions or what they want to do in life. My values shape me into the person I am today.

Articulate to your philosophy of engagement as it pertains to your work with the GSIF

I want to engage because I care about this topic because it is something that is personal to me. I want to work within the medical field and this project helps me learn more about it. It also allows me to empower women, especially being a woman of color. This project allows me to work with women who are of color that are not being correctly treated by the medical field. In order to engage I have to work with the different clinics and doctors in the area. I also have to work with the mothers and navigate around the cultural aspects of it. I sit also work with the students from the Philippines so that we will be able to work efficiently and effectively. When talking to these people I must be aware that I am not here to change anything but improve it. I can not put my values or ideals on to it but work alongside them. My epitaph would read “Here lies Michelle Hu a mother, daughter, Physician whose left he mark on the World.”

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? 


A design process that is both uniquely ours and effective would look like first doing a thorough and deep research about the needs of the patients and making sure that they are culturally appropriate according to Philippine culture and then going to do fieldwork in the Philippines to do interviews of our stakeholders and making sure that we are fulfilling the appropriate needs and wants of the patients and healthcare staff that are involved in the process of birthing. Afterwards, we will be coming back to create a business model for our product since the other birthing team in the Philippines will be creating the design for the birthing chairs this year. 


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


  • Region of Country
  • Social Class
  • Health
  • Religion
  • Income

Healthcare Network

  • Money
  • Region of Country
  • Partnerships
  • Need for new birthing chairs
  • Amount/number of staff in hospital (under/over staffed)

Doctors/ Physicians 

  • Education Level
  • Region of Country
  • Skill
  • Understanding of different cultures
  • Teamwork


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


  • Help decrease maternal and infant mortality
  • A durable and comfortable birthing table
  • Affordable


  • Technology/ product platform
  • Technology is not usable in our product however infrastructure is
  • Sizing ability (ability to change to different sizes for the mothers)


  • Durability
  • Comfortability
  • Sizable (able to withhold mothers of different sizes and adjust accordingly)

Business Model

  • Helps alleviate potential risks when women give birth
  • The Philippines is a developing country so the birthing table will have to be an affordable cost
  • A culturally appropriate birthing table design
  1. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

Three things I have learned from my friends is that my experiences that I have experienced I can apply to the things I am working on. I use to think it was only the things I learn from are able to resolve the issues that I am trying to solve. However sometimes it is things from my experiences that are able to help me solve these problems. Another one is to never assume anything from a person. When meeting someone from the first time never assume anything. The last thing is that people will have different views from you. You can not be expect everyone to see the same point of view as you. Even if they do not share the same point of view as you you still have to treat them with the same respect as you would with someone who has the views as you. These are three things that I have been able to learn from friends.

Blog Post #3

  1. List the top 20 questions your team needs to answer to advance the venture forward. Categorize the questions if necessary. 


Cultural:  Financial:  Aftermath:  General Impact 
  1. Will this impact affect religious or cultural beliefs? 
  2. Do they want to be impacted? 
  3. Will the government accept this impact? 
  4. Will there be backlash on our impact? 
  5. Will others adapt to this impact? 
  6. In what ways does in impact benefit people and communities? 
  7. Will this impact indigenous cultures? 
  1. Will this impact be costly? 
  2. Where will we get funding for this impact? 
  3. How will we continue to get funding after we leave the site of impact? 
  1. Will this impact change birthing practices directly? 
  2. Will this impact benefit people besides mothers and children? 
  3. Will this impact be world wide? 
  4. Will others be inspired to create more impact? 
  1. Will making this impact be 
  2. difficult? 
  3. In what ways can we impact? 
  4. How can we measure this impact? 
  5. Can this impact be negative? 
  6. How can we look at this impact in a broader sense? 
  7. In what ways does our help impact? 


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


Stakeholders Inputs Outputs Outcomes
  • Mothers/Children
  • Healthcare workers
  • Healthcare Network
  • Money
  • Product
  • Hospital/Vendor partnerships
  • Work and Time that the team puts into the project
  • Decrease in number of non-violent births
  • Mortality rate of mothers and infants at the time of childbirth
  • Number of birthing chairs bought and successfully used
  • Better connections with field professionals and mothers who are willing to participate.
  • More knowledgeable about birthing practices and how they are different within the US. 
  • Less birthing 


  • Less suffering for the mother and faster recovery time
  • More comfortable births that are aligned with cultural norms 


  1. Develop a M&E plan for your venture. – Clearly list all assumptions. – Identify short-term and long-term success metrics. – (Optional) identify specific methods to measure the metrics.


Long Term Metrics

  • A decrease in complications while birthing
  • Spreading our birthing chairs to other East Asian countries
  • Our birthing chairs being available in most hospitals and health centers in the Philippines
  • A decrease in infant and mother mortality


Short Term Metrics

  • A deep understanding of current birthing methods / practices in different areas of the Philippines (ex: rural, suburban, urban) 
  • Connections made to the people for the Philippines (doctors/ nurses/ physicians/ mothers)
  • A better understanding of the religion such as is there any restrictions that do not allow people to do certain thing


We will measure our metrics by distributing surveys to mothers on how comfortable birthing chairs are and if their design align with their cultural beliefs. Additionally, we will ask hospitals and other health clinics on how many mothers preferred using our birthing chairs instead of the regular ones or other traditional and cultural birthing chairs (like the bamboo-made birthing chairs of the Austronesian people in the Philippines). Other forms of measurement would be gathering statistics on how much less birthing complications were able to occur because of more comfortability and easier access that our birthing chairs provide. Then we can gather data on how much birthing chairs we have sold as well as in how many hospitals and health centers they are provided.


Blog Post #2

Give three compelling examples of how cultural issues affect your project?

In the Philippines, especially the rural parts, they typically turn toward eastern medicines to tackle their problems. The reasoning for this is the Philippines is one of the few Asian countries that are catholic. Due to this they believe these herbal remedies, massages or healing by spiritual means are derived from the devotion of Christian saints. As a result of turning to herbal medicines they rarely receive routine check ups and vaccines. This affects our project because when a women is giving birth many complications may occur. The baby’s placenta could be stuck on the uterine wall of the mother or the mother may have severe bleeding. All these problems could be quickly solve by surgery but because many Filipino people do not turn to western medicine they could potentially die.

People in the Philippines very rarely go to the doctor and when they do they are not very vocal about the health. This affects our projects because if the people we are working with are not forthcoming to people of authority how will they be forthcoming to us. If an expecting mother does not feel comfortable talking about her pregnancy to someone who is able to help her it is understandable that she may not trust a group of college students who are conducting research. She could possibly see this as an invasion of privacy and she may not see it as helping her. This could hinder our research because we will not be able to gather what expecting mothers of the Philippines need.

Instead of going to the hospital many Filipino women choose to have natural home births. This affects our project because where would conducting our research may be more difficult. Typically we would go to the local hospitals and doctors offices but if many of the Filipino women do not go there how will know what we need. If we do not know the needs of the women then making a product to help them will be more difficult.

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

Growing up my mother was wary about doctors, especially vaccines. Her belief was that if I was not sick I did not necessarily need it. Although I got all the necessary shots that are typically required in the United States I would not receive the ones that I did not really need. My mother would never nag me about getting the flu shot like other mothers. Especially when I was required to receive shots my mother would question the doctor endlessly just to make sure the shot would be doing good instead of bad.

My mother also would see herbalists when she never felt well. I remember at a young age I was taken to a doctors office but it did not look like a real doctor’s office. There were the first times I witnessed cupping and acupuncture. Also when ever I had stomaches or had a fever my mother would never hand me Advil but instead she would make soups and teas. She would wrap me in blankets and force me to drink these soups/teas and tell me that I would need to sweat out her toxins. If I was sick she would rarely take me to the doctors unless it was serious.


Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to addressed community/market problems?

Our product that we are making will help with the birthing process at home. If expected mothers are unable or unwilling to go to the hospitals for extra help they will be able to receive it from our device.

It is also would not pose as a potential threat that they could possibly view vaccines as. It is a product that helps them with the birthing process. It in no way induces labor or helps with the pain that comes along with the birthing process. It is there just to hopefully help them avoid complications that could possibly occur that may have occurred without the use of the device.

Also from a religious aspect, the typically do not want other things interfering with the birthing process and they believe that it should natural process. With this device it would still be considered a natural process because there is no medication being injected or surgery happening.


Blog Post #1

I am currently a freshman at Lehigh University studying biology with a minor in health medicine and society. At a very young age I always dreamed of working in the medical field because I want to make an impact on someone’s life by making them feel better. So when I heard of an opportunity that would allow me to do that I jumped at the opportunity. The project I am on is Cultural Appropriate Birthing Places in the Philippines and I am drawn to this because the project works within the medical realm. It is also a project that affects me deeply. My mother told me that I was a c-section as a baby and when the doctors told her that she was scared. In the rural town that my mother was born in they were technological behind. Most women died when giving birth or the child would come out with many complications. Also the culture in my mother’s village did not allow women to travel to hospitals or take medications. This was my mother’s  understanding of birth and it stuck with her. However when she came to the United States it was completely different. The United States was more advanced with technology and with any little complication in surgery they would fix it with medicine. The fear that my mother had when she was informed is what made me so drawn to this particular project. I believe that no women should be giving birth in fear because they are not informed of the different birthing practices.

I envision this course making me a better student because I will be able to learn  things I typically would not learn in a classroom. I will learn how to properly conduct a research, how to write a published paper, create a proper presentation and learn how to become a leader. Besides all the possible things I will learn in this course. I think the one thing that this course will change me in a better student than other courses is the people I meet. I will be able to meet other students from different majors, areas of the world and background. In other classrooms I will never be able to experience this because typically all the students in the class would be the same major. Although they may be different areas of the world and from different backgrounds but when communicating with people from different majors. People from different majors will bring different insights that I would not be able to have if I were communicating with people of the same major. I will be able to communicate with others better and know how to interact with people. Also the class will allow me to talk to people who are in the job field, who are at the top of their profession, and publish papers. It will teach me how to interact in a professional manner and will allow me to make connections.

I believe a way to tackle this problem is to create  cheap glasses. People believe that glasses are intricate to make and cost a lot. This however is not true. Yes most glasses are not made with plastic and metal and although metal is not readily accessible in Kenya, plastic is. They could take plastic that could have potentially ended up in landfills and create them to fit in the design of a basic glasses.The other issue is how will they be able to access different prescription. I believe that we give a bunch of lens that most people typically need such as nearsightedness and farsightedness at a very low degree. That way even though the prescription is not the correct prescription it is not too strong that it could possible damage the person more. I believe that the lens can be distributed to local hospitals. If someone were in need of glasses the person could go to their local hospital but before going they will need to create the frame of the glasses. After the glasses are made they will be able to go to the local doctor and they will be able to check up on their eyes. When the doctor has determined the prescription of the eye they will give the person one higher or one of lesser prescription.