Week 14 Blog Post

Samantha Powers

1.Refine the detailed income statement for your venture for two years (at six month intervals) or a more appropriate time scale. Explicitly state the assumptions that underlie your financial model. 

See the assumptions listed in Question 3.



2.Refine the Business Model for your venture based on your revenue model. You may use the Osterwalder BMC to refine your business model but prepare one or more visuals that explain how your venture will work and accomplish your BHAG.


Partner network

  • Shipping/Transportation services


  • UPD
Key Activities

Processing Copra to create value added products

  • Coconut Milk, Flour, Oil, Vinegar, Wine
  • etc.

Increase the income of smallholder filipino coconut farmers by providing them with faster, efficient, and value-added drying systems for their copra.

Customer Relationship

  • Personal Assistance with technology use and finances 
  • User Communities 
Customer Segments

  • Filipino Entrepreneurs
  • Low Income Coconut Farmers
Key Resources

  • Engineers and employees to operate the machinery
  • Machinery required to process coconuts
  • Money to fund R&D
Distribution Channels

  • Local processing plants
  • Farmers
Cost structure

  • Fixed Costs: Communications, Utilities, Transportation, Marketing/Managing Staff
  • Variable Costs: Raw Materials for machinery / value-added product, Shipping, Production costs of product
  • Economies of Scale: Reduce average cost/unit with increased sales due to lower fixed costs.
  • Economies of Scope:  Leverage resources for more operations, Ex. Make more profits by using same machinery for two different value added products, instead of two different machines  
Revenue Streams

  • Asset sales from selling the machine to entrepreneurs in the Philippines (2 Options: $23,999.95 upfront or payback option of $2000  every 2 months over 24 months)  
  • Maintenance Contract (entrepreneurs only), $2799.95 for an annual subscription
  1. Develop an M&E plan for your venture.
  • Clearly list all assumptions.


+Assume that our venture will be launched in 2 years from now

+Assume that the cost of production is $17,000 per machine 

+Assume that we will be able to sell our product at a price of ~$24,000

+Assume that we will be able to scale production

+Assume that 1 machine can impact 100 coconut farmers (entrepreneurs will be able to network to this amount of farmers)

+Assume the copra farmers will want to use our technology

+As of right now we are assuming exponential growth of overhead costs


  • Identify short-term and long-term success metrics.



  • Total number of machines sold
  • Efficiency of the machine (ie. Quality of copra, value-added products produced, robustness)
  • Net profit after one year (*MOST IMPORTANT)


  • Percent increase in average income of copra farmers (*MOST IMPORTANT)
  • Total number of coconut farmers that use the machine
  • Steady growth in number of machines manufactured and sold


  • Identify specific methods to measure the metrics.
  • Track additional income generated for smallholder farmers (method to be determined)
  • Track additional income generated for local entrepreneurs (method to be determined)
  • Track number of machines sold annually
  • Consumer input (from both the entrepreneur and customers of the entrepreneur)
  • Measure volume of products produced



Week 13 Blog Post

Samantha Powers


1. Develop a detailed income statement for your venture for two years (at six month intervals). Explicit state the assumptions that underlie your financial model.

I could not get these images to be clear once inserted into the blog. If you would like to see these images not blurry, I suggest going onto the blog post of one of my team members.





2. Identify two SPECIFIC funding sources for the design phase of your project and two SPECIFIC funding sources for the dissemination (implementation / distribution / commercialization) phase of your project. For each funding source, explain why this is a good fit for your project, and what SPECIFIC aspect of your project might the funding source support.


Design Phase:


USAID: $35 Million Water and Energy for Food Challenge (WE4F)

This initiative aims to increase sustainable agricultural and food value-chains, food security, and climate resilience in developing countries and emerging markets – with a focus on the poor and women by investing in small enterprises that work in combinations of food, water, and energy. This grant seems like a good fit to our project because our coconut processing in the Philippines lies in the perfect intersection of energy, water, and technology.

Source: https://www.usaid.gov/news-information/press-releases/oct-23-2019-usaid-announces-35-million-water-and-energy-food-challenge  


The Global Innovation Fund supports the development of social impact ventures by investing in innovations that aim to improve the lives and opportunities of millions of people in the developing world. This investment is an appropriate fit for our project because our goal is to improve the lives of coconut farmers in the Philippines by generating additional income through the innovation of a new technology that processes value-added coconut products. 



Dissemination Phase:


SOW Asia is a charitable foundation based in Hong Kong that supports early-stage social enterprises working to scale their social impact. They have an accelerator program that supports social enterprises by providing investments through opening networks to help build connections and find funds. Their goal and vision is to help local social enterprises attract external funding and become self-sustaining. Due to the fact that SOW Asia is looking to increase impact, we believe that they could be a perfect match for our project when we reach the point where we are ready for dissemination and scaling.



DBS supports over 100 social enterprises in Asia since 2012. They support social enterprises that are looking to scale their business to increase social impact by improving operational capacity, innovation capabilities, and geographical reach. Specifically, they look to support social enterprises that not only have a market validated business product/solution with clear plans to scale up business, but are also committed towards scaling social impact. We believe that once our venture is up and running, financial support from DBS will prove very helpful as we try to scale up.


3. Identify five specific partnerships that you need to forge to advance your project forward with the ultimate goal of positively impacting at least one million people. Describe exactly how that partnership might help you achieve scale and why that entity might be willing to work with you.


Philippines Coconut Authority (PCA)

PCA is an agency of the Philippine government under the Department of Agriculture mainly responsible for developing the coconut industry to “its full potential in line with the new vision of a united, globally competitive and efficient industry.” The PCA might be willing to work with us, because our goal aligns well with their mission – we aim to develop a novel value-added coconut processing that will improve the livelihood of coconut farmers. If our technology and products are approved and endorsed by the PCA, this will help increase our credibility and improve our product’s marketability. In addition, our partnership with PCA will give us the opportunity to reach out to a rigorous network of coconut companies and, of course, a community of 3.5 million coconut farmers.



Our partnership with UPD will allow us to leverage the proximity of the HEED students working on the project in the Philippines to the copra farmers. Their ability to access stakeholders who can be easily reached in the Philippines will help drive our project forward by allowing us to utilize important stakeholder information without physically being there. This partnership will also provide us with additional research from UPD students and will act as a resource for getting to know specific aspects of the Philippines that influence our project.


The Philippines Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture (PPSA)

PPSA brings together companies, government agencies, civil society organizations, farmer groups, and financial institutions to link smallholder farmers to the market. Their main goal is to improve farmers’ profitability and productivity while increasing environmental sustainability. As our project aims to improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers, partnering with this organization will give us more direct access to the smallholder farmers and allow us to have a larger impact on their lives.


Axelum Resources Corporation 

Axelum Resources Corporation is a Filipino company with a global mindset. They deliver premium products to the global market while maintaining a spirit of communal unity, work, and cooperation. A partnership with Axelum would prove beneficial for both sides. We would trade our processed goods to them, which would provide both sides with security. In addition, by partnering with us they would be able to continue to support local communities as that is part of our mission as well.


Innovation For Social Impact Partnership (isip)


This partnership aims to support innovative social enterprises in the Philippines to collectively contribute to the achievement, acceleration, and sustainability of sustainable development goals. They provide targeted assistance to SE’s in becoming scalable and sustainable ventures that create a positive social change through workshops and mentorship programs. This partnership would be willing to work with us because our goals align and we are also focused on creating a novel, sustainable, and social change for copra farmers in the Philippines.



Blog Post #10

Samantha Powers

1. Refine your Business Model Canvas:

  1. Include a Visual Canvas
  2. Extremely specific notes for each block

*****LET IT BE KNOWN – We do not have A SPECIFIC PRODUCT in mind yet*****


Partner network

  • Shipping/Transportation services
  • PCA
  • UPD
Key Activities

Processing Copra to create value added products

  • Coconut Milk, Flour, Oil, Vinegar, Wine etc.

Increase the income of smallholder filipino coconut farmers by providing them a faster, efficient, and value-added drying systems for their copra.

Customer Relationship

  • Personal Assistance with technology use and finances 
  • User Communities 
Customer Segments

  • Filipino Entrepreneurs
  • Low Income Coconut Farmers
Key Resources

  • Engineers and employees to operate the machinery
  • Machinery required to process coconuts
  • Money to fund R&D
Distribution Channels

  • Local processing plants
  • Farmers
Cost structure

  • Fixed Costs: Staff Wages, Utilities
  • Variable Costs: Raw Materials for machinery / value-added product, Shipping, Production costs of product
  • Economics of Scales: Reduce average cost/unit with increased sales due to lower fixed costs.
  • Economies of Scope:  Leverage resources for more operations, Ex. Make more profits by using same machinery for two different value added products, instead of two different machines  
Revenue Streams

  • Asset sales from selling the machine to entrepreneurs in the Philippines (2 Options: $349 upfront or payback option of $29 every 2 months over 24 months)  
  • Subscription for maintenance fees (entrepreneurs only), $99 for an annual subscription


3.Explain how exactly you will deliver an end-to-end solution.

We design and manufacture a machine that we then sell to Filipino entrepreneurs, who will then maintain and provide services for farmers at a centralized location.


2.Ten practical lessons from the business (revenue) models of ventures we reviewed today (or others you research) as they relate to your venture.


1. Envirofit found success by designing devices that are practically price, easy to use, environmentally friendly, and provide health benefits for its users. By doing this they’ve created a desirable product for low income individuals, which is something that we are looking to do.


2. Envirofit has done an excellent job of getting their product out there. The way they use international distributors and local businesses to get their product to the people that need it is something that we can learn from and apply to our project.


3. Reel Gardening found success by making their device incredibly easy to use. Our project, along with probably every venture, needs to consider how consumers will use our product and how we can make it easier.

4. The way Reel Gardening paired their seed strips with an app to provide additional instruction is a great way to integrate simple technology into their design. Additionally, it shows that they’ve put a great deal of thought as to how to optimize user experience, which is something we will need to do when designing our product.


5. Greyston Bakery’s business model is to crow about hiring people who’ve been marginalized from the workforce. They do not pay attention to what people have done in the past. They are interested in what they’re going to do in the future, and they invest money and support into helping them to be successful into helping them to be successful in the future. 


6. Greyston Bakery creates a business model such that it both made profits but also contributed positively to the community.


7. The partnership with Ben & Jerry’s allowed Greyston to transition from a small local business to a supplier for a well-known company. However, Greystone adopts a Benefit Corporation model to allow it to keep implementing its social and environmental agenda. 


8. This venture was very unique because it was an educational system that allowed the students to be teachers and the teachers to be students. The indigenous knowledge of the Students was then cultivated by the teachers to improve crops on the land, design solar cookers, install solar panels and so on. This example emphasizes the importance of indigenous knowledge which will be very crucial to the success of our final product. 


9. This method although it was not sustainable as it relied on the grants for materials and construction it created a wealth of knowledge that could be shared and spread to benefit more areas that are similar. Creating a wealth of knowledge that is applicable to other communities is something we hope to replicate when we scale our final product to other communities. 


10. This venture also focused on empowering women as they can have a huge impact on the progression of a community. Instead of giving women a certificate such as a degree, they are given knowledge to solar electrify homes/entire villages. From the speaker it was mentioned that men generally want a degree and to move to a big city to apply their knowledge whereas the women stay behind. These women can be empowered with knowledge and make an impact on their own community which is a strategy we could use for the low income copra farmers in the Philippines.

Blog Post Week 11

Samantha Powers


  1. Develop a Business Model for your venture using the Osterwalder Business Model Canvas.


Note: We don’t have a specific product yet, so the following model is made based on our best assumption.


Partner network

  • Shipping/Transportation services
  • PCA
  • UPD
Key Activities

Processing Copra to create value added products


Increase the income of smallholder filipino coconut farmers by improving their access to a faster, efficient, and more effective drying systems for their copra.

Customer Relationship

  • Personal Assistance
  • User Communities 
Customer Segments

  • Filipino Entrepreneurs
  • Low Income Coconut Farmers
Key Resources

  • Engineers and employees to operate the machinery
  • Machinery required to process coconuts
  • Money to operate
Distribution Channels

  • Local processing plants
  • Farmers
Cost structure

  • Risk Management
  • Machinery maintenance
  • Fixed price for machinery
  • Three month subscription for farmers to use the machinery,this subscription could help regulate the amount of copra produced.
Revenue Streams

  • Asset sales 
  • Usage fees, $1 to process 1kg of copra, first three times are free 
  • Subscription fees, $30 for 3 month subscription



2. List ten lessons from the Business and Operations model of the Aravind Eye Hospital.



1. They got inspired from McDonald’s business model that carry out activities systematically, reproducibly, and to a high quality, consistent standard but at a low cost. 


2. Aravind has developed a sustainable healthcare delivery model where it generates value for its entire customer but captures the value from part of it. Aravind is capable of providing free, high-quality service for 50-60% for its patients who are poor or “non-paying” by using the profits earned from the 40-50% of the paying patients. 


3. The surgery techniques have been refined to handle high volume of patients without sacrificing the quality. 


4. The hospitals make their own intraocular lenses, which helps reduce the price significantly.


5. The clinic provides buses that pick up many people at once early in the morning and drive them back to the community once the day is done. 


6. The hospital staff is specialized and each person has a role they perform to handle a huge amount of daily input and convert it to output.  


7. Aravind recruited girls, who should have a high level of empathy and enjoy talking, and trained them to be patient counsellors. The patient counsellors play a vital role in ensuring patient compliance to surgery, medication and regular follow-ups. This not only empowers women but also allows the organization to meet its enhanced target by implementing a more efficient and patient-centric approach. 


8. They harmonize wireless technology for the provision of eye care. This enables Aravind to screen and provide counselling to patients who are underserved for multiple reasons, including economic and access problems. 


9. Aravind Eye Care is able to deliver eye care at a significantly lower price when compared to the prices for eye care in the UK.


10. In India, 200 million people need eye care, yet less than 10% have been reached. 

Blog Post #9

Samantha Powers

  1. List five compelling take-aways from the Art of the Start.


  1. Learning to create our own “MAT” – Milestones, Assumptions, and Tasks. This format has allowed us to better understand our goals within the project and as a team. MAT has done this by helping us better divide the tasks needed to get done and making sure the tasks that we accomplish are better geared towards our overall milestones, helping us work more effectively on the project as a team.
  2. The overall topic of “making meaning” was really compelling for us because it relates directly to our project work within the GSIF and how our product has the ultimate goal of increasing the quality of life for coconut farmers in the Philippines. By having the overall goal of increasing their income through a better coconut drying method and system, we found it compelling that our venture’s main focus was to ultimately “make meaning”.
  3. The overall concept and idea that the 10/20/30 (10 slides, 20 minutes, 30 pt. font) rule articulates helped us with crafting our upcoming presentation. Although we have to present over five minutes, and not ten, the overall ideas of keeping the slides concise, with specifics on problem, solution, business model, etc.., and the underlying message of keeping a presentation short and to the point helped us navigate how we wanted to approach presenting. The “30” part also helped to remind us that words should be limited, and instead helpful visuals should be implemented.
  4. Being niche was also a point that Guy Kawasaki emphasized, which we thought was a very important and significant point. The graph that showed us the “ability to provide a unique product or service” and the “value to the customer” was really helpful in terms of helping us rethink our engineering solution and overall business model. In order to separate ourselves from others, we have concluded that having a better, more efficient and effective drying solution and a coop business model will most definitely give us both the ability to provide a unique product or service and a value to the customer.
  5. Adding on to the former point being made, Kawasaki’s slide on defining a business model really helped us understand what is needed to create a more self-sustaining system that would be of benefit for all of our stakeholders. This was especially compelling because this allowed for us to better our idea of the coop business model by being more specific in the systems that would be put in place but also helping us to portray the model simply so others could better understand it. 


  1. Articulate your value propositions for your diverse customer segments. 

In short, we help copra farmers in the Philippines increase their income by creating a faster, efficient, and more effective drying system.

We solve the problem of consistency in copra quality for farmers in the Philippines by creating a system in which farmers can come to a central location to have their copra dried using a faster and more effective drying technique that yields better copra quality. We deliver value in our model’s convenience for farmers, as they do not have to learn to operate the machinery or buy the device themselves, allowing them to dry their coconuts using the machine without experiencing the burden of the high cost of the dryer, and thus reducing risk for the farmers. By placing the plant at a central location between farms, there is high accessibility to the machine as well as reduced risk regarding farmer income due to the method’s all-weather usability. The system is also founded upon a self – sustaining business model, which incorporates a centralized machine, increasing the potential to scale. Farmers will experience less added cost, cheaper prices, and  increased revenue resulting in an improved livelihood. On the buyer’s end, the copra quality will be drastically better and more consistent, allowing them to create higher quality products. In addition, buyer’s will have a centralized location for obtaining copra, resulting in less time wasted, less costs, and therefore better efficiency. 


  1. Discuss your Total Available Market and Total Addressable Market. List all your assumptions and hypothesis


Our total available market is the total population of copra farmers in the Philippines, about 3.5 million. By assuming the bottom-up approach, our total addressable market is 80 percent of coconut farmers within the AREA OF PHILIPPINES.

Week 8 Blog Post

Samantha Powers

  1. Summarize and report out on the results of the SKS exercise. 



  • Working more hands on with each other, we were planning on working together to begin prototyping processing techniques (may be unrealistic now given new developments)
  • Keep in better contact with UPD team and other resources on and off campus we can utilize (Maybe assign a communications role to someone)
  • Be more specific in our research efforts (devote our efforts to a common idea)



  • Communicating with each other
  • Weekly debriefs (notes and agendas really help)
  • Focusing our research efforts on copra processing
  • Keep bringing positive energy
  • Stay on top of things as much as possible 



  • Stop researching for the sake of researching, all focus on one pathway, or maybe even like evaluating what we need, what we have, and therefore what pathway we need to go towards
  • In-person meeting → Need to set up a virtual meeting that works for all of us. Make sure everyone is motivated and feels supportive too.
  • Getting snacks for each other when we’re late bc it’s “hard” to know who’s late. Instead, Ami sometimes brings snacks for all us, which is appreciated :)), but now with this remote environment, snacks are going to be less accessible 
  1. Develop a detailed Collaboration Plan for your team clearly articulating your Goals (Small g and Big G), Roles,Procedures, and Relationships.


Team Name: COPDRY                                                                            Date: 03/20/2020
Goals Personal goals:


Make as much useful contribution as possible, positively influence the group, create strong relationships, Improve my group work skills, research ability, and engineering mindset. Then I hope to use all these personal improvements to make a social impact that matters.


Become a well-rounded researcher who can advance the knowledge of humanity and at the same time apply my knowledge and experience to make a social impact. Build life-long friendship with peers at Lehigh and those in the Philippines


Learn how to conduct meaningful, professional research that will help move our project forward. Help to develop a solution that encompasses all aspects of the problem at hand. Improve how I conduct myself in a professional setting (including public speaking and presenting in front of large audiences). Practice and improve designing and engineering skills and build and expand my professional network.


Gain experience in conducting meaningful research and working on an interdisciplinary team. Make valuable contributions to move the project forward and create sustainable impact. Improve my interpersonal skills and develop a new mindset 


Contribute to the project in a meaningful way, understanding my own strengths and weaknesses , and learning how I can efficiently and effectively work within a diverse team. Help to better enforce communications within the team and outside the team, and become a better researcher and writer. Improve my own hard and soft skill sets including communications, and better understanding design thinking, engineering design, and supply chain.

Project Goal:

The project aims to improve copra processing and process streamlining for elevating the livelihoods of copra farmers by generating additional income.

Is our Project Goal scaled to our resources (dreams, materials, skills, differences, etc.) and constraints (assignment, time, skills, etc.)?

As a team, we have the given resources and knowledge needed to design and prototype a device that can better process copra. Unfortunately, due to given circumstances, our access to both each other and the tools required are constraining the timetable for which this project will operate on.  

Since COPRA is a multi-year project, we as a team will lay up a strong foundation so that we can transfer the knowledge to other teams. The hope is that future teams will be able to scale upon the ideas and designs we come up with throughout this year.


Metrics for Success

    • Design, energy efficiency, and sustainability of the processing technique
    • Amount of high-quality copra that can be produced using new methods
    • Amount of additional income that can be generated for copra farmers
    • Scalability and Sustainability of the business model (can we actually get people to use this)
Roles Who is responsible for which deliverables?

  • All of the team members will be responsible for all of the deliverables until further notices regarding the format of the presentations and posters
  • Our project is still in the very early stages, it is likely every group member will be contributing to the same deliverables at this point in time

Which deliverables that require collaboration, subgroups & individual work? Who does each person depend upon to succeed?


  • Presentation – Collaboration
  • Poster for the lehigh expo – Sub group/ Collaboration
  • Preliminary Design Concepts – Sub group/Collaboration
  • Testing Data – Sub group/Individual
  • Final report – Collaboration

Do we need a project manager to coordinate? 

  • Yes, we do need one. However, specific to our group, we decide to rotate our project manager once every three weeks so that everyone has a chance to step up and take responsible for the group’s success
  • We realize the importance of having a manager to help organize and coordinate group work and research, but believe that having a rotating leadership position helps alleviate the stress from one individual
Procedures Decision-making 

  • Consensus, our group has had very few disagreements
    • If consensus can’t be achieved we will default to majority rules/the advice of our project advisor

Effective meetings

  • We’ve conducting weekly meetings (along with multiple weekly sub meetings) to keep everyone on track and updated with all the key information regarding our project
    • Before each meeting we lay out an agenda to increase efficiency of meetings and help steer the conversation in the right direction
    • We write weekly briefs (in accordance with our TE 211 course work) to keep documented records on what work and research we do each week
  • We plan to continue holding these weekly meetings over Zoom at the same time and in the same fashion
  • Keep track of time during meetings
  • At the end of every meeting we make sure to assign weekly work to each group member to ensure that we can hold each other accountable

Meeting roles

  •  During meetings the leader will facilitate the meeting and assign a different scribe for each meeting.
  • The leader role will be rotated every 3 weeks


  • Up until this week we had planned, in person meetings once a week on Fridays from 3:00 – 4:00 PM
    • Given the situation we will transition our weekly meetings to Zoom. They will continue to be held at the same time
Relationships Teamwork

  • Our team has been very agreeable up to this point – we’ve had few disagreements if any
    • Our assumption is that transitioning to video chatting as our primary form of communication will not be a problem
  • We’re all engineers, meaning we all tend to learn through hands on experiences
    • We have backgrounds in Materials Science Engineering, Mechanical Engineerings, Industrial Systems Engineering and Product Design
    • The team also consists of different backgrounds such as athletics, international, cultural, and greek life.
    • We have different interests outside of engineering: make-up and sports, band music, music composition, nature, and chess.

Listening – As team we enter group meetings with an open mindset and are ready listen to each other 

Team Name– Copdry / Copra Processing

Blog Post #6

Samantha Powers

  1. 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. 


We decided that our project needs IRB approval (exempt status). Specifically, our project falls into Exempt Category 2: Surveys, interviews, educational tests, and public observations.


Our project meets the definition of research; we are performing a systematic investigation which will include testing and evaluating copra dryers. While researching, we will indeed further generalizable knowledge pertaining to the coconut industry. 


In order to get a better sense of what our design really needs to be, we will be talking to and questioning human subjects. Most of the information that we will be collecting will not be personal or private; we want to know about their agricultural practices. Essentially, we want to know how they conduct their work so we can better fit our design to their needs. In order to gauge the success of our project, we may need to gather information regarding income, to measure how much additional income our processing technique is generating. We might interview Filipino family households, therefore, we might need to get informed consent. We will have to consider whether our informed consents will be conducted in Filipino instead of English and how the process of obtaining signed informed consent looks like in the Philippines.


The research we are conducting on human subjects involves little to no risk at all. The product we are designing is to be used by the people we are researching, not on them. The product causes no physical injuries or mental distress to stakeholders. 


We’ll also need to apply for Philippines Ethics Board if necessary: http://www.ethics.healthresearch.ph/index.php/phoca-downloads/category/4-neg


  1. 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?


Time: 5 minutes → Number of slides to present: <10. Number of slides to back-up for questions part: 10-15? 


Strategy: simple story, go to product quickly, make sure to build up credibility as well.




“How long does it take to dry your hair in the morning? We can all agree that the faster you can dry your hair the better. Incidentally, the same is true for drying coconut meat into copra.”

  • Connect drying coconuts with a process people do daily

[Slide 1]: Define the overall problem using facts (3.5 million coconut farmers, earn less than $2/day) – small landowner farmers aren’t making enough money

  • Explain problems with current drying techniques and how it is hurting farmers
    • The dryers being take multiple days, are susceptible to molds and bacterial growth, and produce inconsistently dried copra (facts here)
  • Explain problems with the copra/coconut market and how that is hurting farmers
    • Lack of consistency in the moisture content of copra produced by small landowner farmers is causing a lot of pricing issues, thus causing market problems (facts here)

[Slide 2]: Discuss and display potential designs/solutions – explain how our product is avoiding problems found in current drying techniques

  • Target specifications – potential prototypes that we have

[Slide 3]: Discuss partners / Stakeholders that are involved with the project: list stakeholders and emphasize on our connection with UPD (credibility boost).

  • Explain how UPD has already been doing research for half a year and has connections on the ground over there with valuable stakeholders (farmers)

[Slide 4]: Explain the potential scalability – Whatever we make in the Philippines has a high likelihood of being replicable in other coconut producing countries (fact here) 

[Slide 5]: We are working closely with a group of students from UPD to design/prototype a device that processes and produces higher quality copra in the Philippines 

[Slide 6]: Introduce the team, major, name, connect experience with project

Blog Post #5

Samantha Powers


List ten things that make you feel human.

  1. Relationships
  2. Hardship
  3. Learning
  4. Feeling of purpose
  5. Complexity and ambiguity 
  6. Emotion, particularly fear
  7. Fulfillment 
  8. Religion
  9. Language
  10. Ethics


Articulate your philosophy of engagement as it pertains to your work with the GSIF / LVSIF. Specifically discuss: Why should I engage? How must I engage? With whom must I engage? What kinds of challenges, opportunities, and approaches should I care about? What might my epitaph read?


A vital factor in creating a solution to an issue is taking into account the context of the environment you are working in. This is necessary in creating a solution that is wanted and applicable to the community. Without listening to the needs of the community and using indigenous knowledge to alter a system, a solution that is technically flawless in isolation can fail when put into action in another country. While I am both in-country and at Lehigh, I should engage because I see value and potential in the project. I should engage because I want to create systemic change and ultimately increase the income and livelihood of copra farmers in the Philippines. While I am doing fieldwork, I must engage with specific care in knowing the societal context in which I am working, as the dynamics or expectations familiar to me may not be the same in another country. The idea can be seen in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Though the needs are stacked in a particular order in which certain needs are necessary in reaching the highest need, every situation is different in reality as some may consider one above the other depending on the context. In order to discover the particular needs of my project, I must engage with copra farmers and the community to listen to the flaws of their current system and what they want to be done differently to increase their yield and improve their copra quality. I must engage with the intent of creating a sustainable solution to improve current processing techniques that will act as a cradle-to-cradle design while functioning without constant intervention. In addition to engaging with the copra farmers, I must engage with the students at UPD, as they are more familiar with the Filipino culture and can help us create a solution that fits its context. They may also know particular connections that are beneficial for accessing the right information and making the right relationships to move our project forward. As we work on our project, we will inevitably face challenges along the way in finding the appropriate solution. We should care about these challenges because learning from them is what will allow us to make necessary changes to our solution. Instead of viewing the group’s challenges as hindrances, we should view them as opportunities to improve our project. Without them, progress would be stagnant and our project would never reach the success that we dream it will. In addition to challenges and opportunities, I should care about the approach in which I work and interact with the farmers and community in the Philippines. This is especially important because it is the gateway to gaining indigenoius knowledge and improving our project. Throughout our fieldwork, my group and I may have to change our approach in the way that we communicate with the community based on recognition of what works and what does not work. My epitaph might read something like, “did what she loved while helping others in the process.”

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?


Our group will look to learn from and build off of other projects that have already attempted to improve the processing of copra. It has already been shown by other research groups that there is a way to improve the system that is currently being used. Where our design process will differ from these groups, however, is in the approach of the problem. Our goal is to improve the livelihood and income of small landowner coconut farmers in the Philippines. Simply designing a cutting edge, all-weather drying technique to generate more consistent quality copra (based on moisture percentage) is a major step in the right direction. However, to truly achieve our goal our product needs to do more than just produce better copra. It needs to be easy to use, affordable, and durable. Additionally, our design process will look to, in any way we can, give the smallholder farmers the ability to generate additional income other than just coconuts. We’ve looked into ways to add value to waste copra, such as copra snacks. We’re exploring ways to allow coconut farmers to add value to their finished product as well; smallholder coconut farmers usually sell raw copra, which sells for much less than refined coconut oil itself. If our product in some way enabled farmers to process their copra into a finished coconut oil product, they could feasibly earn much more for their product. 

This design process will follow a cradle-to-cradle strategy in which our goal will be for all outputs to enter into another system as inputs. In order to do so, we must change the way we view sustainable systems. In nature, the fallen blossoms of a cherry tree can be seen as waste/output or they can be seen as input for the next generation of cherry blossom trees. By applying this analogy to our project, we will plan a design process that creates economic growth rather than restricts it. Instead of minimizing consumption to create a cradle-to-grave design process, we will work to improve methods that will allow for increased consumption of coconut products while also creating a system that is sustainable. 


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

  1. Copra Farmers
    1. Directly using copra processing techniques
    2. Feels the effects of their business (efficient/non-efficient process)
    3. Major Coconut producers
    4. Will feel the direct impact of our work
    5. People that we will be working with the closest
  2. Philippine Coconut Authority
    1. In charge of developing the coconut industry to its full potential
    2. Has a say in the regulations of copra farming
    3. Is researching and trying to develop ways to increase copra quality
    4. Working to develop and expand foreign markets
    5. Works to ensure the socio-economic welfare of coconut farmers
  3. Coconut Consumers
    1. The consumption of the product keeps the farmers in business
    2. Consuming coconut products puts money back into the economy
    3. Their needs are working to be met  
    4. Their demand quantifies the amount of copra that needs to be produced
    5. Consumerism has a major effect on the pricing of coconut goods


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


“Are we building the right product…with valid requirements, features & performance?” This is the question that we should ask ourselves as we validate our project design and model. Three possible validation pathways that we come up with are:


  • Write down our basic assumptions and test: Who are our customers/consumers? Who are the stakeholders?  What problems are we solving? What is the economic problem? What is the engineering problem? Does addressing the engineering problem solves the economic problem? How does our product/design/approach solve the problem(s)? What are the key features of the products?


  • Reach out and interview our networks, including friends, mentors, investors, partners, and others for feedback. The interview questions should be (1) open-ended, (2) help uncover pain, value, or motivation, and (3) challenge our previously held assumptions. Come to the interview with a curious mindset about the stakeholder’s problems and needs instead of a sense of cursory will help us gain valuable insight.


  • Find the value(s) proposition of our product/design/approach. A value proposition is the expected gains that our customer/consumer will gain from using our product/design/approach. Values can be both quantitative and qualitative, and by thoroughly understanding and documenting these quantitative and qualitative values through the fieldwork and stakeholders interviews, we can push our design closer to the correct features, performance, functionality, and other requirements.

4. Give three examples of something very interesting you learned from a friend that was a completely alien concept to you.

A friend told me that more than half of all new PhDs in the U.S. each year are fake. Another friend told me about the beauty standards in Korea and I was surprised to learn how different they are from what the U.S. defines as beauty. Lastly, a friend who went on a Peeps factory tour told me that Hot Tamales candy is made from all the reject Mike and Ikes after the factory reworks them and uses cinnamon to cover up the flavor.

GSIF Post #3

Samantha Powers

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

  1. What are we impacting?
  2. How are we impacting?
  3. Where/why are we impacting?
  4. What makes copra so important?
  5. How many lives can we impact?
  6. How will our work have an impact outside of the Philippines?
  7. What are the different ways we can have an impact?
  8. How do we make our impact sustainable?
  9. How do we quantify impact?
  10. Can we generate a negative impact as well?
  11. Will the people in the Philippines be open to our ideas?
  12. What will be the obstacles that prevent us from making an impact?
  13. How long until we are able to deliver impact?
  14. How will we adopt their cultural habits?
  15. What are people doing to create an impact now?
  16. Who are these people?
  17. How personal is the process to them?
  18. How do we adjust our solution to their culture?
  19. How can we make people happy?
  20. How can we improve ourselves through this project?


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

Inputs:                    Activities:                                Outputs:

– money                   – research                                 – consistency in copra quality (and higher quality)

– time                       – prototyping                           – reduced copra waste

– knowledge            – designing                              – maximized use of the whole coconut

– expertise               – networking                           – increased nutritional value in copra

– materials               – visit farms                             – value-added products from coconut

– equipment            – educate                                 – (down the road) social venture focused on 

– partners                – propose ideas                        introducing and implementing sustainable,

                                                                                     state-of-the-art copra processing methods to 

                                                                                     copra farmers


Short term:

– knowledge and awareness of current drying processes and their shortcomings


– reduced the popular use of sun-drying and smoke-drying methods


– elevate the livelihoods and increase income for copra farmers

– benefit the economy and communities in the Philippines

– sustainability and positive environmental impact