Page 1

Design for the BoP Voorkant foto

Work sample Jenny de Boer March 2012

Design for the BoP

“In a world that is diverse, that is connected, that belongs to everybody, we try to make a difference in what we do, in what we are and what we want to be� Jenny de Boer


In 2011, 70% of the Indian population lived in rural environment, the level of urbanization increased almost 5% (to 30%) in the past 10 years (Source: Census)

Design for the BoP

“Businesses, governments, and donor agencies should stop thinking of the BoP as victims and instead start seeing them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs as well as value-demanding consumers� C.K. Prahalad


Design for the BoP

Table of content Introduction


Challenges in Design for the BoP Work samples


WAP and SMS-Email service for candy bar phones MobiScopy ICT strategy and Capacity Building Election Monitoring toolkit Interview


About Jenny de Boer Inspiration


External resources and references Contact



Design for the BoP

“Aid won’t make poverty history, which Western aid efforts cannot possibly do. Only the self-reliant efforts of poor people and poor societies themselves can end poverty, borrowing ideas and institutions from the West when it suits them to do so. But aid that concentrates on feasible tasks will alleviate the sufferings of many desperate people in the meantime. Isn’t that enough?” William Easterly



In 2008, 17% of the Indian population was the owner or manager of an established business, 33% of the Indian population intended to start a business within 3 years (source: Global entrepreneurship monitor)

This introduction contains an edited selection of the paper “A co-design innovation methodology: towards efficient delivery of mobile services in developing regions�

Challenges in design for the BoP As innovation often spurs out of constraints, the BoP context offers a fertile playing field for novel products and services that create social impact. While a number of successful pilots have been reported, few of these services have achieved scale and significant impact due to lack of scale. A number of factors can explain this phenomenon, for example the lack of proper regulatory framework, the difficulty for entrepreneurs to access financial instruments, lack of local knowledge and manpower or the lack of appropriate technologies. Challenges arise for example because of the unfamiliarity with the local context and the distinct infrastructure in emerging market or the appropriate business network and marketing. Without being exhaustive the BoP community has their own particularities that need to be taken into account when developing innovative products and services. Cultural Identity Often the BoP is targeted as one group, which is true if you look at it from an income perspective. Products and services are however much more impacted by cultural values, which are different for different groups in the BoP. Though more than 80% of the population is Hindu in India, the remaining 20% has values from another religion which can lead to other understanding and needs of products and services.


Cultural Diversity Next to the cultural identity also the cultural diversity is something to take into consideration in designing for the BoP. Different groups in India speak different languages, in South India people eat and prepare their food in a different manner than they do in the North of India. Though both of these groups are regarded as the BoP, their needs in sustainable cooking methods can be different.

Challenges in design for the BoP Low-end or local technology When designing products and services with a technological component it is important to be aware of the local resources and production techniques. Though high-end technological solutions might seem the best, it is most likely too expensive and uncommon for most people in the BoP. Instead it is important to focus on technology that is more likely to be adopted and preferably can benefit the local economy. The goal of the designer is to do more with less as the end-user still expects a satisfactory product or service.

Affordability The BoP are a group of customers that are most likely the most price conscious target group to design for. The financial burden a new product or service can put on already stretched family budgets should therefore pay-off in the added value of the product or service. Next to that the lack of saving capabilities imply to rethink business models and value chains. In that respect, mobile phone connections that can be paid for with prepaid cards of low value have for example been a way to provide affordable mobile services. (ICT) illiteracy Both illiteracy and ICT illiteracy are common in the BoP community. This restricts a designer when designing products and services that are targeted on the BoP community. A written manual might not be sufficient, use cues in products have to be thought through from the perspective of people with limited or no experience with technology. Workarounds include proximal literacy (whereby a literate third party is acting on behalf of the customer), using voice modality or graphical representation.

Infrastructure The BoP context has most of the time a poor infrastructure. This means that next to designing the product or service a designer should also consider how products and services can be distributed, marketed, produced, manufactured and sold. As usually specific experts that have particular knowledge on the context in which it should be sold are hired to take care of these aspects of the design. Instead in BoP context in which the local experts are scarce or missing, more of these activities should be considered while designing the product. Though there are many more particular challenges that a designer might face during a design process, the above mentioned are a few to give an impression of the challenge and complexity. Add to this that most educational institutions in emerging areas not yet focus specifically on designing for the BoP means there is a need for specialists from all over the world to ensure the BoP will get the innovation power it deserves.


Design for the BoP

“In terms of the Third World, much needs designing. I must repeat that we cannot sit in plush offices in New York or Stockholm and plan things 'for them' and 'for their own good� Victor Papanek


Work sample

In 2010, 96% of mobile phone users have a prepaid connection, mobile broadband penetration was only 1% (Source: GSMA)


Undisclosed Country

India Target group

BoP Activities

Design of wireframes Challenge

Design interface for small screen devices Design mobile only Email service

WAP and SMS-Email service for candy bar phones The BoP community is a large group of customers that own less than 2 dollar a day. Despite their low income, many have access to a low-end mobile phone. However many ICT services are primarily developed for devices with a larger screen, and/or direct web access., of which Email is one of the foremost. Having access to Email and having your own Email address will bridge a part of the digital divide. This requires access to Email on low-end mobile phones (of which Nokia candy bar phones are the most used ones). The SMS and WAP Email service therefore targets users that have infrequent or no access to web via internet cafe; SMS and WAP Email is not a full Email experience, e.g. no access to sent emails, deleted emails, settings. Jenny de Boer made technical and design specifications for the WAP and SMS Email client. These were visualised in wireframes and a technical and graphic design team developed the specifications into a working prototype. 12

Wireframes SMS Email service By means of three letter coding in SMS messages users were able to open, read, write and send Emails without the need for web access

WAP and SMS-Email service for candy bar phones Wireframes WAP Email With a simplified version of a full Email service, by using limited graphical elements, users could use most basic functionality of an Email client on their low-end phones. First wireframes were created to develop the logic of the service. These wireframes were transformed to attractive graphic interfaces Title Bar

Title Bar

Rec. Email

unre ad

Received Email (23)

< Previous

Contact Name

Karen Surname

first line of subject unre ad

Contact Name first line of subject


Contact Name first line of subject


Contact Name first line of subject


Contact Name first line of subject


Contact Name

first line of subject < Previous Next > help Help me Del Email

Delete Emails

main menu

Main menu

Next >

full header

Next weeks appointment Hi Peter This is the Email Body text Regards Karen attac hme nt

This Email contains a file, click here to open it



Del Email

Delete Email Rec. Email Received Emails Main menu Main menu Help me < Previous


Next >

Sign out

Sign out



Royal Tropical Institute Country

Uganda Target group

Rural health centres Task

Design and usability testing Challenge

Involvement of the right stakeholders for further development of the connector

Mobi scopy MobiScopy facilitates the empowerment of undereducated and under-experienced health care workers to meet quality assurance standards to more effectively microscopically identify and diagnose various pathogenic microbes. The system consists of a connector that fits the mobile camera telephone to a microscope, allowing accurate focusing and positioning for capturing high-resolution images, and an IT platform. This permits rural health care workers to easily send, share, discuss and validate digital images of pathogens amongst their peer group and more experienced medical professionals. During a field study to Uganda members of the MobiScopy consortium successfully carried out a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;proof of conceptâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; on the feasibility of this system. Jenny de Boer was involved in the field study. She was responsible for creating mock-ups of the interfaces on web and mobile, as well as gathering usability insights on the connector. She furthermore was involved in assessment of a feasible business model. 14

Interface design Mock-up of the sollection of submissions. The interface a specialist would interact with and submit his consultations

Mobi scopy

Usability testing Responses of the rural lab workers were collected to assess the usability of the connector, as well as feasibility of the concept of MobiScopy

Interface design Mock-up of the mobile form to submit samples to the batabase



Hivos Country

Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania Target group

Humanitarian organisations Task

Project Leadership Challenge

Capacitating local consultants with what is an ICT strategy and how to develop one. Develop an ICT strategy within one week

ICT Strategy and Capacity Building ICT tools can empower African organizations and allow for better (more effective and efficient) service delivery. The awareness of the potential of ICT for service delivery is still quite low. The Dutch NGO Hivos wants to facilitate their partner organizations in Eastern Africa to develop an ICT strategy. An ICT strategy is a long term plan which describes how the organization stores and exchanges information and facilitates internal and external communication, and by which means and along which roads it would like to reach it. Six organizations from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania were selected to develop an ICT strategy for; LVCT, Wougnet, RIC-NET, KRC, Kivulini and EANNASSO. It was (at the same time) necessary to capacitate local consultants with sufficient knowledge on how to develop an ICT strategy for more organizations in Eastern Africa, as this knowledge is currently lacking. This group of consultants came from Nailab (Kenya). The approached TNO to facilitate the process and capacitate the local consultants with knowledge on how to develop an ICT strategy. Jenny de Boer was coordinating this project. 16

ICT Strategy and Capacity Building

Co-design process and Capacity Building Despite many unknowns beforehand, the ICT strategy design weeks were executed largely according to plan. In general there was only little variation needed in the programme; some activities changed in order, in priority, or in resulting information, in some of the weeks, but all topics of an ICT strategy were touched upon in each of the five weeks. In a five day program the TNO/Nailab team developed an ICT and marketing strategy on site, together with the stakeholders of the client organization. Activities included: site visits, interviews, participatory workshops and presentations. In preparation of the two co-design weeks consultants from TNO (Netherlands) and NaiLab (Kenya) collaborated through online channels, on defining the details of the workplan for the project weeks. Coaching was provided to Nailab in the preparation of and during the other co-design weeks.

Preparation (remotely)

Co-design week (on site)





Internal & External analysis

Current ICT model



IC(T) Needs assessment


Business model


Feed back

Co-design The approach resulted in an intense collaboration of staff, users, partners and management during the weeks.


ICT Strategy

Action Plan


Coaching (remotely)


ICT Strategy and Capacity Building

ICT Strategy Each organization received an extensive slide deck with the results and findings of the co-design week. The graph below illustrates an envisioned timeline for implementation of the strategy in three phases; current, anticipated and ideal. As some tools were already available and easy to implement immediate follow-up after the co-design week was possible to benefit from the momentum that was created.

ICT Strategy

ς ς ς


ς ς ς ς ς


ς ς ς

Current Systems Zero or Low Cost Readily Available


Modifications and Tweaks Streamlining Education and Capacity Building

Organisational Changes Integration New Systems Significant Investment Training


6 months

ς ς ς

Co-design Despite occasional prior hesitances by management team, each organization has shown commitment; resulting in sufficient to very active participation by managements and the boards.

12 months

ς ς ς ς ς

Skype Google Apps/ Thunderbird Semeni

18 months


Intranet Epi Surveyor Dim Dim Mobile Solutions Dynamic Website

ς ς

CRM; Customer Relationship Management ERP; Enterprise Resource Planning Unified Communication

Tools, tutorials and trainings After the five co-design weeks it appeared that solutions to problems and needs do not differ on a technical level. Technical solutions can therefore be developed on a global level, benefiting from cost savings due to replicability. It is however necessary to illustrate per sector how tools can be beneficial for service delivery. This can be done in a (online/digital) tutorial, which can be distributed easily. Face to face training programmes should be developed and implemented per region due contextual and language differences as well as practical arrangements.

Face to face trainings – Regional level Kenya LVCT



Tanzania KRC



Online/digital tutorials – Sector level HIV AIDS

Womens rights

Information centres

ICT Tool development - Global level Technical solutions



Hivos Country

Namibia Target group

Namibian Society for Human Rights Task

Project Leadership and design

Election monitoring toolkit


Creating ownership by end-users by means of co-design. Development of a working prototype within one week.

Elections are the cornerstone of creating a democratic political system and monitoring is an important part of the overall system. Monitoring supports the electoral process by instilling domestic and international legitimacy, by preventing disputes over the outcome of an election (reducing electoral violence), by giving parties greater confidence that the vote was free and fair. In developing countries, monitoring is often supported by international actors as well as a growing number of non-governmental organizations with an interest in spreading democracy and human rights. The Dutch NGO Hivos found that the activities for Election Monitoring for their partners in the African Continent could well be supported by means of ICTs. They approached TNO to help them with this new and innovative idea that required both technical expertise on ICTs as well as knowledge on innovation management. Jenny de Boer was coordinating this project and responsible for the interface design.


Election monitoring toolkit Interface design Together with NSHR (The Namibian Society for Human Rights) and Sangonet, an ICT partner from South Africa, a first iteration of the toolbox was created in July 2009. This toolbox contained several ICT tools, that were already available for free online, that could be useful for monitoring elections.

Prototyping The tool that allowed for SMS to web and visualisation of the SMS messages on web (using Ushahidi software), was implemented during the codesign week, which allowed for immediate feedback from NSHR.


Co-design Co-design ensures ownership by (local) partners. Local champions (users, IT) are crucial for adoption and commitment during the process are crucial By using existing ICT tools ensured a fast delivery of a working ICT service

Election monitoring toolkit

Preparation (remotely)

Welc ome

Co-design week (on site) TU

Tour in office and enivronment


WE Technical & User requirements, Select ICT tools TH

Pilot and follow-up The SMS to web tool was used by the 65 field monitors of NSHR during the Namibian Elections in November 2009. 265 messages were sent in the period from November 23rd to December 4th 2009. With the proof of concept, Hivos decided to involve their East African Human Rights partners in a Roundtable session in March 2010, which resulted in a group of partners per country that continued with using ICTs in their Monitoring processes.




System Design, Interface Design, Implementation

Feed back



Presentation, Demo, Training

Follow-up (remotely)


Design for the BoP

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Most important problem is not the availability of financial resources, but the human inability to introduce the global cooperation needed to introduce these solutionsâ&#x20AC;? Jeffrey Sachs



In 2011 25% of the Indian population was illiterate, amongst women there is 65% literacy (Source: Census)

This interview contains an edited selection of the interview in Delft Integraal nr 2, 2011, p 16-18 >

About Jenny de Boer

Jenny de Boer (1981) provides support to innovation processes within organisations. She spends the majority of her time working with organisations in developing countries. She has worked in India, Mali, Namibia, Uganda and Kenya. Why did you originally decide to study industrial design engineering? “As a child, I was very creative and in high school I had no difficulties with mathematics or physics. I observe people, looking at the way they move and what they do and then try to respond to that or influence that. I am quite structured and can plan many steps in advance. Industrial design engineering needs all those competences and for me it felt like the only logical step to take after high school.” How did you first become interested in development work? “It was during an internship in India. While studying industrial design engineering, I learnt to involve the end user in the innovation process. This involves trying to understand the end users, their behaviour, convictions and emotions. It’s an extremely valuable approach. In India I noticed that I tended to apply many of my own Western ideas in the process of finding a solution to an initial need. In order to filter these out, the solution I devised was sent back and forth several times between me and the people in India. This was something I found particularly


interesting. What’s more, a good design solution can really make a major difference in this sector. There is still so much room for growth, socially and economically, in developing countries. I would like to contribute to this growth by using my educational background and talents.”

About the author Jenny de Boer

Are you an idealist? “I do not believe that it’s possible to find a sustainable or longterm solution for problems if there is absolutely no commercial interest involved. I see it as a market rather than as aid, but I think it is important to always keep the goal of a positive change in living conditions and quality of life in mind. So my answer is no, it does not feel like idealism. There’s so much you can learn from another culture and that is something that motivates and enriches me personally, so in a way I also do it for my own good.” How do you approach the work? “In my current practice I am a design consultant in a not for profit organization. I always work closely together with the client and the end-users of the new service or product. I feel that by doing this the chance that the knowledge and solution will be adopted is greatly increased. This approach also prevents a designer or any other expert from becoming dogmatic as what might have worked in one environment can fail in another. By listening to the end-users and the specific needs of the client, you will find solutions that have to be creative as well as simple.” Can you give an example? “An ICT strategy needed to be developed for an HIV/AIDS organisation in Kenya (page 16). I facilitated a process in which the HIV/AIDS organisation was involved, together with local ICT consultants and our client. We asked such questions as: what information and communication problems do you have, what improvements are needed and what tools could you use in the process? Occasionally, the solution is something simple like the use of Skype for internal communications. But because all the parties contributed to the process, they were able to see from the outset what problems can be solved and the adoption of the service is much higher."


Design for the BoP

A yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long (co-creation) process is necessary to ensure adoption by local communitiesâ&#x20AC;? Simanis and Hart




External resources and glossary ICT - Information and Communication Technology TNO - Dutch applied scientific research institute BoP - Base of the Pyramid NGO - Non governmental organization Hivos - Humanitarian Institute for Development Cooperation

Page 8

Page 24


External resources and

Page 10

Page 6

Page 4

references Page 22

Page 26


About 80% of indian population is Hindu, second is Islam with 13 %. There are approximately 250 (religious) festivals in 2012 (Source: Wikipedia &

Š Jenny de Boer 2012 Skype: jnndbr Mobile: +31642102011

Design for the BoP  

work sample Jenny de Boer

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you