Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability- Stanford 2010
June 14, 2010 at 10:17 am
Pablo Fernandez (Chilean, MA Stanford) Reports:
Picture: Pablo Fernandez
Stanford is widely known because of Google, Sun Microsystems and other technologies breakthrough (like the new number one app for Ipad; Pulse
). Amazing things who have made their inventors rich (and also Stanford; all the students have to sign an agreement where they agree to share part of their revenues).
However, there are another kind of breaktrough technologies, who are not focused on Ipad´s fan, Internet’s leaders or even wealthy and rich people
willing to pay thousand of dollars for the latest technological gadget. Students from the Entrepreneurial Design for Extreme Affordability
are focused in the development of a clean and simple method to break nuts, drilling hard soil looking for water or develop a solution for hand-cleaning where there is no water. Their solutions have to be easy to implement, cheap and human-centered, because their customers in India, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Cambodia don’t have the time to read instructions or spend too much time learning how to use it. Cultural and local aspects must be considered; last year a premature infant incubator almost failed because for one of the prototype they used a color that represents death for some Asian cultures.
By trial and error, following the designing thinking way
, and watching their users interact with their prototypes students crack the problems. That’s how the iNut team learnt that if you apply too much pressure to break a nut it will crash in tiny pieces that you can´t sell. After many prototypes they develop a footpowered slingshot to break as many as five nuts at once minimizing the damage to the nutmeat.
The same happened with the Safi team. They wanted to design a solution to clean hands of rural Kenyans. But they realized that almost 50.000 kids in the US get intoxicated each year because of alcohol-based sanitizers, that’s why they came up with a non-toxic plant-based hand sanitizer. And most important, because solution is based on thym and oregano, it can be grown in the village.
Sustainability is a very important element. They have to be sure that the device could be developed locally. Each team partner with a local NGO who provides the insight and the specific need, and helps them to get in contact with the potential users. They spent a couple of weeks with the users watching and paying attention to every detail. You never know when a small pen could turn into a huge “Aha!”.
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