Little kids ask "why?" and don't know when to stop, and a few of those kids never grow out of it. I count myself amongst them. In past lives I've been a management consultant, service learning coordinator, professional comedian, therapist for children with autism, and a very poor pizza delivery driver.
This looks like a fabulous idea. I live in Tanzania, and here blood-giving is primarily done only under emergency circumstances when a family member actually needs it. Not much luck if people in your family don't share your type or you need blood urgently.
Your app mostly seems to incentivise potential donors, but what about blood banks and hospitals? Are there any barriers (self-imposed or otherwise) they face in accepting and receiving donations? My local experience has been that bureaucratic issues and a lack of familiarity with blood donation can make the process laborious. It's possible that this isn't a big problem in the Maldives, but I thought I'd ask!
Thanks so much for the thoughtful feedback. Must be a lot of work for you all going through all these ideas!
> You demonstrate a thoughtful understanding of the internal challenges Umoja may face in this effort (e.g., how a social enterprise model will require a new way of thinking/working).
Thanks. I've also been working with Umoja in developing it's five-year strategic plan process so the team has consensus on why Umoja is engaging in social enterprise. It's a go slow to go fast kind of approach.
Building the Urban Safari and our other social enterprise projects has also been a great way for the staff to see what's involved in enterprise development. I've adopted the metaphor that I can open the door and show the staff what's on the other side, but only they can walk through it.
> It seems that you may have two design challenges--one relates to the design of the tourism product itself and the other relates to designing the organizational model for delivering the product. If you haven't already, consider going through the human centered design process with NGO partners and safari companies as the subjects.
This is a great insight-- I have mostly been thinking of the design challenge from the perspective of the interactions between the tourists and the youth employees. I saw on-boarding NGOs, who are very averse to collaboration, as a problem of designing a product/network that would work for them, and then simply presenting it-- a "build and they will come" approach. It strikes me that using a design thinking approach could even be a way to make the whole process a lot more participatory and might help us overcome this ego/logo/silo culture.
I'll marinate a bit on the involvement of safari companies. I'm still unsure if we are conceiving of them as partners or just one channel for the product. We'd likely run the NGO workshops first and then dovetail the Safari companies if it emerged that was necessary as well.
If we proceed to the next round I'd love some thoughts on what this process might look like. Applying design thinking in this more abstract context, building a network rather than a clearly specified product offering, will be new territory for us.
> Also, there may be organizations elsewhere who are delivering cultural tourism experiences through a network model. If you haven't already learned from these examples, there may be much experience to leverage.
Megan Allen worked with a similar organisation in India and has offered some valuable insights, particularly around location selection and marketing. I haven't come across any others but I'll do a more active search and try to make some contacts.
Here in Tanzania there is a peak body, the Tanzanian Cultural Tourism Association, who I've been speaking with, as well as a small industry lobby group. However, they are (a) very hierarchical (& so unable to leverage network benefits), (b) connect only sparingly with the NGO sector, (c) have very few urban-focused tourism experiences. That in mind, they've been an enormous fount of knowledge particularly around designing the offering for the tourist market. So I have confidence we are the only ones in Tanzania trialling this-- but I will look abroad for international examples to learn from.
As a provocation to Michael O'Sullivan - one of the challenges we face today is not the lack of images of life in Africa, but their saturation, and the (resulting) distrust in images in the West. I think if you want the images to be useful and transcend what is already available-- through art, documentaries, and popular media-- your filmers would need some training in the kinds of data that are useful to designers. I don't know that it's enough to ask people to film "their daily lives," as they may (for example) omit things they regard as shameful or banal, even though these events may provide the greatest opportunities for design.
Another issue I take is that your initial problem statement isn't "People living in East Africa lack access to solutions powered by design thinking," it's "I [and people like me] want to help but can't." This could just be an issue of re-framing but it's valid to ask if the correct solution to a lack of design thinking in Africa is digital cameras and foreign help, rather than local capacity.
Just some food for thought. Broadly, I think avenues for cultural exchange through film are valuable, there is a lack of "authentic" images of day-to-day life in Africa, and there is a need for more design thinking, so I think you're on to something but I'd be keen to hear your thoughts on the issues above.