Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like?
Personally, the design process for me begins with empathizing for the stakeholders I intend to affect and include in this project. Beginning with the children, I want a network that is focused on not only the success of the business venture, but creating a product that kids will enjoy and benefit from nutritionally. In order for this to work, we have to design a product that is culturally appropriate regarding the resources native to Sierra Leone meanwhile taking into consideration how our diets differentiate the sensitivity our taste buds have compared to theirs. From testing out different recipes in the states to gathering the feedback of locals in country, we also have to consider how the product can be integrated into a daily diet and how the product will be delivered / presented from bakery to vendor, and vendor to customer/consumer. By training our bakery and introducing a product that they like and benefits the community, we create a potential form of satisfaction that will motivate the workers to put forth their best effort. For accountability purposes, introducing payment dependent on the yield quality of the products can help instill quality control and effective use of resources. It’s important that when vendors receive the products, they can present something they are proud to sell and has a visual appeal that can attract our target customers/consumers, mothers and their children. Aiding with packaging and preservatives helps with the shelf life our products will have during transport and in the market. The more we can legitimize and commit our supply chain to their job, the less problems we should have with launching the product and the more success we may have spreading and building our clientele.
Identify your three most important stakeholders and list five UNIQUE attributes for each one of them.
- Mothers and their kids:
- Will be the ones using our product the most, even though it’s available to everyone in Sierra Leone
- Their feedback will be most important
- Greatest need for product
- Their feedback will help us make ingredient choices and create successful business and marketing plans
- Main drive/motivation behind our entire project
- Mothers with children will be approached and asked if they are interested in participating in our research
- Children are critical to our research because they are the target audience of the products
- Will be selling our product and getting it out into the market
- Will be our partners in this venture
- Are going to help a lot in marketing the product
- The vendors will be those who are responsible for integrating our product into the village’s culture
- They will be the image of our product when mothers buy them
- Will be making our product before it goes to be sold
- Partnership with them is one of the most valuable because without them, we can’t move forward in our venture at all
- Provide them with our ingredients/recipes/preservatives
- Our best insight on local cuisine and our first impression of the products; they legitimize the cultural immersion we are trying to instill with our project
- Responsible for the quality control of the product
Identify three ways in which you will validate your project concept, technology, usability, and business model.
Three ways in which we will validate our project concept is through the usage of human subjects research– provide information on the reliability and validity of each measure; we will have references or results prior to each measure; and we will work towards stating the details of the statistical or qualitative analysis that we will use to analyze this data
The purpose of our research is to nutrient-dense foods to alleviate malnutrition in Sierra Leone in children 6 months to 5 years. We want to see if women and children in Sierra Leone like our products and if they would be successful as a treatment for chronic malnutrition in children. Their feedback will help us make ingredient choices and create successful business and marketing plans.
Furthermore, we will have a questionnaire that we will use for mothers in Sierra Leone that will be used to get a better understanding of their family’s daily lives and whether they would buy our products. The questionnaire will give us feedback on the recipes and cost needs to answer our two main questions of our research.
Taste-Testing: During each interview, we will ask participants’ children to try our three products. For the children, we will observe their facial expression and reaction to each food. For children 18 months and younger, we will rely on behavioral observations and the help of their mothers to gauge whether or not they like each food they try. Children that are a little older can make decisive ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, but we will most likely still need to observe their behavior to understand if they like or dislike our recipes. Children are critical to our research because they are the target audience of the products. Our recipes are designed to treat micronutrient deficiencies in children between six months and five years old. It is essential that we have a better understanding of whether or not children in Sierra Leone like our products before we finalize our recipes. Mothers will be asked to consent to the children’s taste-testing.
Our plan is to recruit participants through the help of World Hope International (WHI), a non profit organization located in Makeni, Sierra Leone. We have worked most closely with Allieu Bangura, Global Director of Health and Nutrition at WHI. The pre-established relationship will help us build trust with members of the community. WHI and previous student researchers in Sierra Leone have recommended that this be our plan for recruiting participants, and they have explained that this is the most effective way to interact with people in Makeni.
Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.
- One thing I learned through my host mother this summer was the way she coped with caring for her family amidst the Idi Amin regime while her husband taught in Kenya. Because of inflation in Uganda, shillings were worth next to nothing, however Kenyan currency during the time had a high exchange rate for shillings, so many Ugandans during this time would work in Kenya and send money across the border to provide for their families who stayed home. When her husband went on the run from Kenyan authorities who were looking to deport foreigners, she made a journey while pregnant to find him and get the money she needed. Crawling across a bridge via the escort fellow Ugandan who was working the Kenyan border patrol and having to attempt to blend amongst others in broken Swahili until she found others who spoke her clan’s language describe a situation I could never imagine going through in the United States, let alone many places today. In 2 days she found her husband who was hiding in a church, got the money she needed, and snuck the money by letting mud cake and dry the bills underneath her sandals so that when the border patrol searched her on her way back into Uganda, they would find nothing and let her pass without trouble or harm. Her story was her way of demonstrating the role God has played in her life, and one that resembles the strength of faith and cultural awareness which helped her not only gain the trust of Ugandans in hiding, but to blend in and befriend Kenyans who sympathized for her along the way.
- Another thing I learned this past summer was the process behind the creation of what my host father called “bio-gas”. In the cow pen, his cow is positioned so its head sticks out into an opening where it can feed off piles of banana tree leaves, and a hole behind the pen allows for the cow manure to collect and feed into a cauldron underneath the dirt. From this cauldron, Papa would dig out the manure into another opening where manure would be stirred and feed through pipes into a digester underneath the earth, where the methane would collect and feed through underground piping into the stove which could be turned on with a valve. I had never heard of cow manure being used as a renewable source of energy up until then, and to learn he saved about $100 dollars a year on gas opened my eyes to environmentally sustainable practices that are possible in lower-middle income countries and the potential applications and implications such could have on large-scale dairy farms. If one cow powered his stove, I could only imagine what 100 cows could power!
- Lastly, my experience with moshing culture in middle school taught me a form of expression that I was unable to understand until I actually interacted with concertogers who partook in this form of dance. During my first Ska concert, I had never understood why people who voluntarily push each other and risk injury until my best friend pulled me into a pit. Being 13 I was about as scrawny as one could be and despite my size, my ability to push the people around me was laughable. Despite my insecurity, the people I danced with would go out of their way to help me up during times I would fall and even cleared the crowd for me to find my glasses. After every song, the crowd would cheer and we could hug and celebrate each other’s presence, ensuring that the rowdiness others may perceive as aggressiveness had pure intentions and that participants felt mutual respect for one another. Although I was frightened initially, I left that concert feeling a renowned humanization and understanding for what moshing portrays and does for the concertgoers of different genres. Conventionally it isn’t the best way to get to know people, but if you are okay sharing sweat with one another, you are more than fine reflecting upon a performance afterwards and developing new relationships that would have never formed otherwise.