Business Model

Based on your life experience, skills and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like?

How will you validate your project concept, technology, usability, operational / business model?

Articulate your philosophy of engagement with communities, partners, and markets.

I think like most people, my design process will probably have a waves of messiness and organization. When we were brainstorming during the Saturday workshop, we started just by asking a lot of questions. We wrote down all of the questions we had on the white board, and then we divided up the process we would go through to research and answer those questions. The first part of our research process, before we go to India, included doing deeper research into the Indian legal and financial system, which will probably lead to more questions. We will also engage in preliminary research by speaking with companies before we to India. This will deepen our understanding of what it takes to get answers from people in Indian companies. The next two phases include the questions we will answer when we are in India, and then finally how we will make it come together in a deliverable afterwards.

I think our design process will be messy because there is not a clear cut problem. Our job is to define the problems. So first we need to know what has been answered by previous researchers, what information previously researched needs to be deepened or updated, and what questions of our own will we be able to pursue for a fresh perspective on the issue. Because we will be categorizing, defining, and updating our information throughout the process, it will be difficult to stay by one process. However, I think personally, developing a constant list of questions I have, definitions and examples we have, and then blank spaces of information we are lacking to keep things organized will be effective for me in continuing research and creating deliverables. We also have a general timeline of when we would like to have certain information by that we will do our best to stick to as well.

To me, this project is inherently validated by the importance of the issue. However, to those who may not be fond of the law or those who aren’t able to clearly see the issues that can arise with this kind of a law, or to stakeholders who see little room or need for improvement in how they are managing their CSR relationships, our project must be validated. An important peace of information that I have found is that many companies have reduced spending on marketing because they are engaged with more CSR. This kind of communal engagement may not work for companies of all industries, but many companies can certainly benefit from becoming involved in CSR. Particularly for companies that give aid to local non-profits, this law has been somewhat of a blessing in disguise. Local customers look on these companies more favorable when they see that they are a positive force within their community. As I have learned from my marketing courses, many companies work tirelessly on marketing efforts to make customers associate their product with happiness or a good feeling. Many successful marketing efforts are indirect, and corporate engagement with CSR are an example of indirectly creating a positive brand association among customers. I think showing these companies the benefits they will experience as a result of CSR engage will be key to motivating them to engage with our research. We will also validate our research just by organizing it in a format that is engaging, professional, accessible, and specific.

It is difficult for me to dedicate myself to a ‘philosophy of engagement’ because I usually prefer not to set expectations for the unknown. I think I worry too much that developing my own standards is wasteful because they may be let down or changed in the process depending on the types of people or situations I encounter.  However, this project obviously requires a degree of planning, and we will need to anticipate our interactions with these companies. I think areas that will come more naturally to me in terms of working with these companies are remaining open-minded and inquisitive about the types of CSR these companies are engaged with or their reasons for not choosing to engage with CSR (it turns out this is a common problem based on the research we have done so far). What may come less naturally is maintaining a serious composure in developing relationships with these companies, because it is usually my nature to build relationships with others based on humor. I think it will also be hard for me to let go of other research routes we could have gone down once ours becomes very narrow. I think the primary values I will try to stick by for this project are curiosity, a dedication to results, and open-mindedness.

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