The design Process

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

The design process that I have used in the past involved working backward from the idea itself. That way, it has always been easy to lay up a plan and develop a step by step execution. A measurable and implementable idea is the first step. From then on, the question is always, who will likely participate in this idea given that it is implemented? This question looks at consumers or customers to the end product of the idea. After answering this question, I would then move a step back into question just how exactly I can deliver the product to the same customers/consumers or how I can get the prospect participants to gain awareness of this product. This requires figuring out the marketing strategies such as advertisement and possible distribution points of the product. After reaching a certain number of possible outlets, the next question would be to look at potential, influential people to buy into this idea and then later up develop a team with certain traits and share the same vision for the possibility of this idea. The last step would be then the actual development of the product and part of it entails analyzing the costs of production and potential mark up price for the product. At that point, at least a strategy is laid out with certain contingencies and flexibility for dynamics that might alter the original strategy.


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


  1. Possible Sickle Cell Patients in Sierra Leone
  • They are the direct recipients of the work we are doing
  • However, some of them are unreceptive to the device and Western medicine
  • They have the greatest need for our product
  • Possible Sickle Cell patients and their families do not have the resources to pay for alternative solutions
  • Their feedback will be crucial towards the project’s success
  1. World Hope 
  • Our creation of the Sickle Cell Test Strips also aligns with their main mission of providing and protecting those who are under-served.
  • We are not the only group who is working through the World Hope Organization or in Sierra Leone
  • Working through World Hope allows us to give hope to others
  • World Hope can give us connections in Sierra Leone 
  • Their connections can help to improve the design, implementation, and efficacy of our product
  1. Lehigh University
  • As Lehigh students, we have a unique opportunity to display the Lehigh brand
  • Also, as students, we have to handle ourselves professionally domestically, in conferences, and in-field at Sierra Leone
  • Lehigh is one of our funding sources and one organization we have to answer to
  • They will receive part of the research’s prestige
  • Lehigh faculty and teammates will supply us with much of the technical knowledge for our product


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

In order to ensure that the diagnostic device will be in optimal use for low and middle-income countries (LMICs), the team will build partnerships and connections with World Hope International and Lehigh Valley hospital to receive feedback from medical experts on the operational aspects of the device, and learn how to address implementation challenges. By considering these context-specific frameworks for the diagnostic device, together with integrating the Sierra Leone local’s knowledge to guarantee a functioning device, these factors will indicate an overall validation of our project. This is especially significant when validation is given from the locals of Sierra Leone themselves because they are the ones who will be utilizing the device and will incorporate value in the device. The people’s acceptance is the ultimate goal because the technology can be promoted to be amazing and all, but will have no worth unless the acceptance of the device is established. Therefore, another process of validating our project is educating the public about the device’s concept and usability. To do so, every patient must fill out forms that consist of the process of the diagnosis, background information of Sickle Cell Anemia, explanation of risks, waiver of liability and a signature to signify consent. Patients who are still unsure can under-go a walk-through with the assisting health provider to visualize the process first-hand. The goal is to have patients understand what they are being tested for, why it is important to be diagnosed and where they could receive immediate treatment if tested positive of the Sickle Cell trait.


  1. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.
  • I once had a conversation with one of my teachers in high school about politics. I had the opinion of how politics is a dirty game and I do not want to get involved at all but he had a different perspective. He told me and illustrated how politics affects everything else despite being in the stem field. He was right.
  • One of my colleagues in a place I worked in told me how his friend got rich, his means being somewhat not ordinary. He would go to the dumpsters near a fresh market area and collect avocado seeds from rotten produce. He would then make the avocado seedlings from these and sell them to the German Embassy and ended up growing this project into a big business idea even though it started as a method to live just by the day.
  • I had no idea about some very historical moments in America until my friend told me about it. it was just a moment of ‘wow’.

Theory of Change and advancing the project forward

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


  1. We are able to diagnose Sickle Cell Anemia, so what?
  2. How can we implement our project, so that it stays relevant?
  3. Why hasn’t an initiative for this project not yet been started?
  4. If our project is successful, where can we go from there?
  5. How will the locals react or perceive our device?
  6. How do we work with individuals who are unsupportive of our research?
  7. What can we learn from the locals that could help us with the device?
  8. How will their culture affect our project?
  9. How will our project affect their culture?
  10. How is our project going to change Sierra Leone?
  11. What are other treatment or care options if they decide not to participate?
  12. If this project is successful, where can we go from there?
  13. How will we establish the operation from one clinic to millions of clinics?
  14. Is this a project that we will continue providing assistance to? Or do we pass this responsibility onto the locals?
  15. How will the devices be distributed?
  16. How will we make this project affordable to the locals?
  17. What’s this project’s incentive for Lehigh?
  18. How will the locals welcome this project?
  19. Is there a way where we can train the locals, in order to sustain the system?
  20. Are there problems or aspects of the research we don’t know about?

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


Spring Semester Goals:

  • Prove the detection of the HbS and HbA hemoglobin with our test strip (antibodies GS5 and GS4)
  • Optimizing the amounts of antibodies, beads and running buffer for the device (cost-effectiveness in consideration)
  • Prove the functionality of the Conveyor Belt with attached Syringe Pump
  • Finding the optimal dimension for test strips
  • Manufacturing/producing large amounts (~100) of test strips efficiently
  • Complete IRB/SLA forms for Lehigh Health Valley and Sierra Leone at Lehigh (Discuss with other Sierra Leone groups)
  • Receive IRB approval for obtaining HbS blood samples from the Lehigh Valley Health Network

Summer Goals (Mountaintop):

  • Prepare 100+ test strips and reagents for clinical trial and demonstration purposes.
  • Run shelf life experiments 
  • Develop interview and questionnaire questions for Sierra Leone 

Sierra Leone Field Trip:

  • Carry out clinical trials with locals who are confirmed as sickle cell patients through one of the programs: SCCAN or Sickle Cell Society
  • Carry out interviews with recruited patients about their livelihood after being diagnosed with sickle cell (perception)
  • Research for a potential Case Study publication for the Fall 2020 semester







Social and cultural norms can affect the Impact of a project!

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


As much as our drive is ‘Impact’, there social issues that might affect the Sierra Leone Sickle cell disease diagnostic device project if not navigated with much respect and understanding they deserve. 

One of these would be the direct impact our project will have within the medical circles that are currently in existence right now. The economy in the country is mainly informal and there are members in the community that hold traditional medicinal practices with high regard for reasons that vary from religion to socioeconomic status. Taking that into account, if our project gets to be successfully implemented and expanded to areas outside of Makeni, there are people who are likely to lose a lot of customers due to our project. This fact taken into account, there is bound to be some resistance from the elders within various tribes as they will envision this come to play.

Secondly, the project might face one of its big hurdles when it comes to getting people in the country educated about the nature and motive behind the initiative. Looking back at the history of Sierra Leone, the country has had bad experiences with outside countries trying to influence their politics and economy only for their gain. That fact gives room for suspicion and questioning of our true objective which might not seem convincing to the majority. Human resistance will be a hurdle as we try to make a positive impact. Hence, the spreading of the word of the device and people accepting it might be a tard situation that needs careful handling.

Last, but not least, Sierra Leone’s economy is informal as mentioned before and this informal sector is mostly filled with women. One challenge that this poses for our initiative is that these people will think they don’t have the time to visit the medical institute where sickle cell diagnostics will be administered. Besides the time factor, about 40% of the population lives in urban areas and the rest in rural areas. This presents a barrier of distance and accessibility to the remote that are far away from medical institutes.

These are some of the many social hindrances to the Sickle Cell disease initiative. For some insight about Sierra Leone at a glance, this a good piece to look at,


  1. Have you experienced or observed any of these social situations at home?


For me, home is back home in Zimbabwe. I personally experienced and observed some of these happen. One that stands out the most began around 2014 when China and Zimbabwe had an alliance that resulted in Chinese people coming in to build roads and certain infrastructure within the country. Although their actions would benefit the citizens as well, people got about their intentions. With such a history of being a colony and being controlled from outside, it’s a norm for the nation to be not accepting of help that comes in ways that are not clearly stated and proved.

Another social situation that is blurry but exists is very much involved in politics. In Zimbabwe, there are two main big tribes, namely the Shona and the Ndebele. Although ideas and projects are good, there are always those in politics that will always have something to say for their own politicals reasons. For example, when a road development project was initiated, it began in the main capital, which is mostly Shona populated and the Ndebele people felt neglected by that initiative and as a result of a few protests and some other factors, the program stopped after the completion of the road to the former president’s hometown. Although the idea was good, the choice of the starting point was politically influenced and resulted in somewhat resistance between the tribes. The social scene being the coexistence of more than one tribe in one country.


  1. Give two examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to addressed community/market problems.


One way to leverage cultural practices is to form alliances with people of Sierra Leone. Due to unfortunate complications of the white savior complexes, making connections with preexisting local communities dedicated to deal with sickle cell is one way to get accepted into the community. It’s easier to have the people who have grown up together in the same struggles to come together and be able to share the relevance of this project than to have foreigners come in and take the complete lead without the host country’s assistance. We can educate a select few talented members of the community and have them understand the idea behind this education. They will then go into various districts and educate the community on some of the real issues their community is facing and that way, they would be advertising and spreading the word of our product.

Another one that might be a bit tricky to navigate will be one that actually incorporates the traditional healers that I have mention earlier on as a way into marketing and also giving people the correct help they need. In this strategy, it would involve teaching the traditional healers about the diseases and make their workplaces points of sickle cell diagnosis. This is even more effective because 1) they don’t lose a lot of customers but instead, they get more 2) they are usually found in all places including remote places and having them as primary medical care providers for sickle cell would decrease the distances that people (who live in rural areas) have to walk to get help 3) Because they are already highly regarded in the community, they will be more effective in spreading and teaching people o better ways to live with sickle cell disease or traits.

Why I joined GSIF!

I am proudly Zimbabwean and I also identify myself as a citizen of the world. I first came to Lehigh in search of credibility, resources, and networks that I can utilize to bring change to my nation and Africa at large. I didn’t just come about all this about myself just to be good. I have lived my whole life in Africa and I got fed up with seeing everything happen around me and yet feel powerless to do anything about it all. I have lost a considerable number of individuals to otherwise very simple treatable conditions due to the medical costs around the country. The word that Prof. Mehta uses, Impact, spoke to me directly and I just realized this was my chance to start breaking the cycle of meaningless in Africa. Me being at Lehigh is a privilege that I have been afforded and by my own terms, I have the responsibility to make a change when I can to where I come from. I joined GSIF because the system that it’s trying to influence and change, I have lived it, I have survived it and I need to change it so that more can survive. I joined GSIF because it aligns perfectly with my personal vision, and that is to improve the health system everywhere starting with Africa.

I am currently undecided about which exact major I will be doing, but this project will definitely play a major role in which major I will end up studying (BioE and ChemE). Working with different aspects of the sickle cell project will motivate me to know more of how both the two major can be put into play and from that, I will be able to make a first-hand decision as well as an informed one. As I am still a freshman, embarking and taking in these research credits now will give me a slight edge on my course schedule later one and definitely it will give me an upper hand when I apply for the Iacocca Internships and any other when I am a sophomore. Being a part of GSIF will improve my research skills and make me a more knowledgeable, expanding how I think in general, and by that, I will definitely stop thinking major orientated and start thinking of all the aspects that come into play when with regards to my major as well.

Looking at the developing countries aspect of this situation, Kenya in this case, I have a couple of solutions that I would want to implement this eyesight issue. Firstly, before taking any action, I would need all the information I can get about eyesight issues besides just a survey carried out by WHO. A field trip is necessary to get as much information about the possible origins of the vast increasing eye problems. Within my own survey, I will have questions that would investigate tow major branches. One would be those who were born with eyesight problems and the second would be asking of specific age groups when eyesight became a problem for those that were born with good vision. Following the second aspect, it ould be a good idea to look at Kenya’s history to find out whether there were any major changes in the environment that could have somehow impaired the eyes of many. As of such, if anything is found, my team would try to bring to light this issue to the government officials who can see to it that these changes are somehow limited to stop the further worsening of bad eyesight in the future.

The second part of the course to improve eyesight for those already in bad shape would simply be to provide affordable eyeglasses. Again, having enough information is key to this. That being said, my team and I will set up a meeting with eyeglasses manufacturing firms and hope to find out just how much it costs to make a pair of glasses. From there on, we will have a better goal. The next stage will be making appointments with plastic recycling firms. The agenda of this meeting would be to get the information on which kind of plastic among those that get recycled will be better suited to making eyeglass frames. This is because using plastic will be cheap for both making and selling. And as for the glass, a team will be assigned to be able to carry out experiments of different glasses that are very possible. After we find the right glass to use, the next step will be to figure out different glasses lenses at different visions for different frames. Once we have samples for all of these, We will try to test them out and see how they are accepted by general consensus, taking into account that these will be very relatively cheap; say $20 for these eyeglasses as opposed to paying $500. The key to solving this issue will be to implement reverse innovation and get into the eyeglass making business to cut down these costs drastically. After this, if the field tests are successful, we will scale this project up and have everyone have better access to good eyesight by the end of the following year.

Something to consider just looking at  ~ ( )