Based on your life experience, skills, and interests, what would a design process that is both uniquely yours and effective look like?
I am a very creative person, and in my free time I like to do graphic design and make art. Therefore, my design process would be creative and artistic to reflect those characteristics. My design process would be much more focused on the look and aesthetic of the final product rather than the technology behind it, since that is not a strong point of mine. My design process would produce a product that would be visually pleasing, whether that be using a minimalist style or something that pops. As someone who also is marketing minded, part of my design process would also look at the packaging that the final product would be placed in. The packaging would have a similar approach to the product, which is an approach that uses creativity and an artistic take to create a visually pleasing final object. With a creative and good looking design, the outcome of the design process would be effective because it would catch the attention of someone, making it more likely that they would use the product.
How will you validate your project concept, technology, usability, operational/business model?
Since the Ukweli test strip project has been worked on for a few years, the validity of the test strip in terms of its technology is pretty solid. Research has been done on how the strip should be manufactured, and last year months of research and testing was put into the strip to make sure that the technology in the product was working in the way it was intended to work.
Although the technology in the strips that helps detect UTIs works well, more work needs to be done in terms of the strips usability. The test strips are sensitive to light, temperature, and humidity, and can become defective and provide false readings as a result of those factors. Therefore, use of faulty strips can negatively impact the validity of the project and product. Currently Ukweli is looking into the use of stickers that would be placed on the packaging of the test strips that would identify if the group of strips has been exposed to too much sun, heat, or humidity, meaning they are defective and unable to use. This would improve the validity of the products, as it would ensure that only properly working strips would be used.
In terms of operational and business models on the ground in Sierra Leone, Ukweli has been working to increase their validity and is on the right path in doing so. Working with World Hope in Makeni gives Ukweli a partner that is highly trusted and respected by the citizens of Sierra Leone, which helps the validity of the project tremendously. One thing our team is working on that would improve business and operations validity is acquiring a marketing license. This form that outlines the product, manufacturing, distributing, and all other aspects of the project would give people a better understanding of our business operations and would also allow us to distribute the test strips throughout Sierra Leone.
Articulate your philosophy of engagement with communities, partners, and markets in Sierra Leone.
Engagement between the communities, partners, and markets involved with the Ukweli Test Strip project is crucial to ensuring the best outcomes the project can achieve. In terms of engaging with the community, we have to interact with them to make sure that we are operating our project in a way that they are satisfied with and actually gets them involved in our project. If they do not think that we are credible or if they do not approve of how our project is operating then they won’t buy into what we are trying to accomplish. In addition, if we are not implementing tactics that get the communities interested in what we are trying to achieve, then we will not attract enough people from the communities that are needed for our project to create widespread positive change.
It is also of high importance to have constant engagement with our partners, especially World Hope, while on the ground in Sierra Leone. Since World Hope is our main partner on the ground and has employees working on our project, we need to constantly be interacting with them about progress in the project as well as developments that they should be aware of in order to continue effective operations on their end. Without this engagement, a disconnect could develop in terms of what they are doing on the ground and what we are expecting of them.
Finally, engagement with the market and distributors of the test strips is needed in order for our operations to be effective. We are going to have our product within the healthcare system of Sierra Leone, which is a very complex structure that has a lot of intricacies. Therefore, our communication with the market is essential for us to understand the system better, which would help us understand how to operate our project on that front.