Blog 4

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

We want our unique design process to integrate with the people living in Almaty.  It has to be a process that is sustainable, and that will promote entrepreneurial growth in Kazakhstan.The process has to be driven by the people’s needs, and our opinion will be complementary.

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

The students at KazNu that we are partnering with are definitely one of our most important stakeholders. Their unique attributes include their lifestyle. Since they are students in the city of Almaty, they see what is happening there everyday. Their personality is also an important attribute because they are a younger generation so they will see issues differently from some other adults living there. Their opinions are very important because they are the ones living there, so we are trying to improve their lives with our innovation. Where they reside is clearly important because they are in the city of Almaty, but they are also living in dorms which is unique. Their social class is also unique because some of them could be coming from different backgrounds with various family wealth, but now they are all studying to attain their own job and social class.

The citizens of Almaty are other important stakeholders to us. They live in one of the fastest growing cities (urban) in the southern part of the country. They use a lot of energy throughout the year (interests) especially during hot and cold months. Their motives, to move into Almaty, we can assume was to attain a well paying job (possibly in manufacturing). Their social class is also important, because there are sectors of the city that are much more wealthy than others. They also live in an area where they are exposed to a decent amount of air pollution (the climate).

Another stakeholder will be the manufacturer. Depending on if our manufacturer will be in Kazakhstan, or in another country will affect the attributes of this stakeholder. For now let’s say it is a manufacturer in Kazakhstan. Their interests are a unique attribute because they will mostly be interested in making the most money they can. Their motives are also therefore unique because they might not see the same end game we see; they will only see the product or innovation leave their factory. Their personality traits are also important because they may be set on doing things a certain way, and we may have to convince them otherwise (or visa versa). The benefits sought are also important because again they may have a different goal than us. The market density is important because we will be entering an already busy market.

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

Once we have a concept/technology for our project, we will validate it by getting a paper published about it. Through academic publications, we can establish our concepts in a professional manner and we make sure that we benefit the scientific community through what we will accomplish. To measure our impact, we will collect a lot of data from our product in use in Almaty to have numbers to support its success (or failure). Depending on the product, we can also try to validate it by intelligently translating it to other parts of Kazakhstan (if applicable). To measure that, we can collect data on the effects of that issue before our innovation, and hopefully the improvements on that issue after. When it comes to the final phase (when our product is approved by the public), we will implement a suite of systems and innovations around the product to ensure its long term establishment. 

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

My parents always told me of their stories in Guyana, from living on a farm and raising cattle to wearing the same clothes for days on end. One of the most interesting things they told me about was the food they ate; eating iguanas and pigeons were normal to them. This came as a shock to me as I’ve lived in the United States all my life. I remember going to Florida to visit my Dad’s brother and sister and we fishing near the everglades for a fish they normally called Hassa in Guyana which is known as armored catfish. After catching enough of hassa we decided to walk around the nearby area. My uncle spotted an iguana and used a mango to lure and catch it. After catching the iguana, my uncle later that day proceeded to kill it and cook it. It was the first time eating an animal so different from the food I was used to eating. Another time, my Dad would tell me stories about how he caught pigeons in Guyana. He would use chewing gum and put them in bushes and when the sun heated the gum up it became hot and sticky which was used to catch the pigeons that would rest in the bushes. He would also tell me about how he used slingshots and rocks to shoot the pigeons out of the sky. These concepts were so bizzare to me at the time because of how different life in the United States was. My friend would tell me about the home remedies his parents would use to treat injuries. Among them were treating bee stings by rubbing garlic and using salt water to heal strep throat. These home remedies were so different from the normal use of antibiotics and medical ointments. 


Blog 3

1)Top 20 questions team needs to answer to advance the venture forward. Categorize.


  1. What are the best ways of approaching sustainability goals?
  2. Can this project be implemented in other countries?
  3. Is this a long term solution to the problems we are currently facing?
  4. Will this project inspire similar initiatives/be recreated by other people?
  5. Is developing smart technology environmentally detrimental?
  6. How do we make the project sustainable?
  7. Will this project lead to lasting change?


  1. How big is the impact?
  2. Is change even possible without government help?
  3. Are the problems we are addressing a priority?
  4. What issues do they see that need to be solved?
  5. Will our solutions impact their market?
  6. Are we doing just as much harm as good?
  7. Do we have the depth to really make a difference?
  8. Are we inhibiting domestic social entrepreneurship?


  1. What kinds of partners are we looking for?
  2. Will culture halt our progress?
  3. What social barriers will inhibit our project?
  4. How can we affect different kinds of people?
  5. Is there a technology education and access gap?

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



  • 2-3 Publications 
    • Smart City Innovations
      • Engineering for Change
    • How smart innovations are integrated in cities
      • Discuss the impact of smart technology on cities 
        • The benefits, possible cons, social acceptance, cultural impacts, etc
        • Longevity of the device (how long does it stay relevant and impactful
    • How smart cities grow and adapt
      • Discuss the interaction between people and technology
        • How it affects daily life, city efficiency, etc
  • 3 practical products/solutions that we plan to test and potentially deploy to impact people in Almaty.


  • Publications allow for expanded outreach
    • More people on board with implementing smart technology in cities brings more awareness to the power and potential these solutions hold
      • Inspires others cities to implement them based on existing statistics that are included in the publications
  • A viable device that will improve human life in Almaty but can be applied generally to other growing cities



  • Develop an (2-3) MVPs (minimum viable product) or solutions to address real issues in Almaty.
  • Identify focus groups to test products on.
    • Record how the product was perceived by the people
  • Gather data to predict the projected impact our products would have.
  • Propose future publication titles
    • How our products were designed and perceived
    • Potential ways to avoid future mistakes and further the cause of the project.
  • Establishing what not to do for future teams.


  • Grow relations with partners in Kazakhstan.
  • Spur entrepreneurial spirit in the market.
  • Establish solutions to address problems. 
  • Improve (established goal)

3) Develop an M&E plan for your venture.

    1. Clearly list all assumptions
      1. We will be able to go and do fieldwork in Kazakhstan 
      2. Our 2-3 publications will be accepted 
      3. Our product will be well-received 
      4. Our partners at KazNU will be able to help us implement the innovation and make it widespread 
      5. Our product will be implemented and used sustainably
    2. Identify short-term and long-term success metrics
      1. Short term:
        1. Number of journals and papers published/in conferences 
        2. Create prototypes 
      2. Long term: 
        1. Focus on one innovation and create a sustainable product that can be used by all residents in Almaty 
    3. (Optional) identify specific methods to measure the metrics
      1. Number of publications
      2. Number of innovations that are generally accepted by the people in Almaty 

Blog 2

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

The possible disbelief in technology or being superstitious about the effects of technology would be a main inhibiting factor in our project. Since we are focusing on the creation and implementation of technological devices to improve sustainability and overall way of life in Almaty, we would need to ensure the product we want to implement is widely accepted. There can also be a distrust that can be created when using devices that monitor and collect data to improve human life. The idea of stealing data is a huge issue with a lot of people, so being aware of the cultural ties to technology is important. Subsequently, if religious or old practices are more dominant than science and medical practices we would have difficulty implementing a device that would improve the quality of life of those in Almaty. We need to be able to see eye to eye with the people of Almaty to ensure the implementation of a device is accepted and trusted. Even more so, the lack of using geographical resources because of cultural ties to the land might dissuade the people of Almaty from possibly taking advantage of their resources. One example would be to use the runoff of glacier water to produce hydroelectric energy, to allow for a cleaner environment. 

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

I have personally experienced my older relatives not believing in the power of technology and medicine because of the way they were raised. Instead of using medicine such as antibiotics to cure a cold they would revert to herbal remedies. Overall, there is a fair amount of distrust with the American government spying and collecting data on their citizens. This would be analogous to the idea of distrusting devices that collect data to improve the way of life for the people of Almaty because of the threat of their personal information being lost. The Dakota Access Pipeline would be an example of native citizens not wanting to implement any geographical change because of the possibility of harmful effects on the environment. This pipeline also intrudes on sacred land that means a lot to Native Americans. Overall, there are similar issues that persist at home that would most likely also persist in Almaty because of their cultural and social beliefs. 

Give three examples of cultural practices that can be leveraged to address community / market problems.

Kazakhs are very proud people who care deeply about their land. We can use this mentality to produce a marketable device that helps improve their environmental conditions. As Almaty grows in size and density, pollution is becoming a huge environmental issue that not only degrades the natural land and wildlife, but also affects the general health of the people. In fact, 40% of households use coal for heating. The consequence of this is the rising number of people getting carbon monoxide poisoning. We can use the idea of cultural preservation to implement smart devices to help better monitor and regulate the effects of human life on the environment. This ranges from learning the effects of increasing population and the new demands that need to be met. The increase in energy consumption, waste production, and water usage are just some of the issues that would need to be monitored to learn more about the solutions that can be created from these problems. Kazakhs strictly prohibits the creation of roads on their mountains with glaciers to preserve the history and nature of their land. Given that they care a lot about the preservation of glaciers we can use this to manufacture a device that helps monitor and track carbon emissions being released and the rate at which these glaciers are melting. By doing so we can show the people of Almaty that their direct actions and daily lives are affecting the land they care so much about. This might incentivise them to be more environmentally conscious and would want to turn to green energy and more renewable sources. Seeing the actual effects of their lifestyles in some sort of quantified data might be a large enough influence to make them want to change their current lifestyles. 

GSIF Week 1

From the very beginning of my journey at Lehigh I wanted to be apart of a bigger global community that promotes intercultural relations and exemplifies the beauty of cultural interactions. This drove me to be a member of not only the global Lehigh themed housing community, but as well as an ambassador for Global Union and a member of the Global Citizenship Program. Being raised by immigrant parents whom had no formal education has instilled the values of not only signifying the importance of education but aiding those who need help. Despite growing up living from paycheck to paycheck, my parents always donated food and clothing to families back in Guyana. Consequently, hearing about the progress and impact GSIF is making and attempting to make in various countries greatly propels me to become apart of something that is far bigger than myself. GSIF provides me a platform that will help me make an impact far greater than one that I can make on my own. In summary, I want to make a lasting impact on the world, especially in the countries where people struggle the most. 

Engineers are generally thought to be logical, problem solving oriented, and analytical. By taking part in a program such a GSIF I can expand my skill set to become someone who is more distinguished than my peers, someone who can think of more creative and innovative solutions to problems that aren’t necessarily focused on innovations in consumerist and capital markets but social problems that are often overlooked. This is partly the reason I joined the Global Citizenship program as well, I want to use my skill set in every way imaginable to make this world a better place. Even more so, GSIF is my foundation is doing that. This class will expose me to social issues that are seemingly out of my educational focus but will allow me to use my skills in different applications such as understanding the social issues that come with constructing new computers and the effects that such innovations may have on people. Being a member of the Smart Cities group helps me understand how developing technological innovations that have direct involvement in people’s daily lives can be just as detrimental as beneficial. 

To begin to solve this issue we must realize that the method to ensuring a long term solution begins by providing education to future generations to create a better standard of healthcare, even so for areas outside of that. Even more so, for this to happen we must allocate funding that might not currently exist towards national healthcare and education. In fact, studies by organizations such as School and Health show that education is one of the strongest instruments for reducing poverty and improving health, enabling people to not only be productive and earn a better living but to also allow them to contribute to their country’s overall economic growth. This initiative would not only break the inherent poverty cycle, but also, provide a foundation that allows to solve future systemic problems that may occur. Additionally, when it comes to the short term side of the solution we would have to import certified optometrists from external sources such as partnered or allied countries, NPO’s, and NGO’s to train current medical personnel to learn to diagnose and evaluate the necessary eye care people in these countries need. Thus, by simultaneously providing medical training and improving the quality of education in these countries we can solve the issue of lack of medical training and overall improve the healthcare systems in developing countries.

When it comes to getting the eye glasses themselves it would be contingent upon the success of providing these countries with quality education, in which the long term effects of an increased economy in these countries would allow the manufacturing of eyeglasses to be more feasible. Furthermore, for the short term side of this solution, we would collect donated glasses and use the imported optometrist and the medical personnel being trained to help distribute the glasses to who needs them. Generally speaking if funding were to be allocated correctly, there should be enough to fund a project such as this, especially with the help of developed countries and large organizations such as the United Nations.