As I await feedback from Mariana while she is away in Peru with Erik, I stop to reflect on the past few weeks. With the passing of midterms, prototype making, beginning modeling business strategies and sending my teammate all the way to South America by herself to field test the class’s prototypes, there is much to catch you all up on.
I’ll begin with my Midterm reflections and the feedback we received on our project, CLEAN + SMART. You are probably wondering after reading about the other groups’ projects, what the words Clean and Smart have anything to do with each other…
Our goal with the Clean+Smart project is to support children’s education while adding value to soap purchases. We arrived at this very specific goal through observation of Behavior patterns and Consumption Patterns we saw during our time in Cerro Verde. One of the largest behavior patterns was that parents highly value and strive for their child to achieve higher education. Already, they pay extra money for private schooling, as opposed to utilizing free public education provided by the government. A lot of the children also attend tutoring sessions outside of class which is an extra cost for a very valuable benefit. We then asked how we could help these families achieve their children’s educational goals by utilizing a consistent and frequent consumption pattern. We arrived at soap purchases as the vehicle to deliver support.
Clean + Smart supports child development in order encourage children to achieve academic success and reach their career goals. We propose to design a toy that will support children’s development by dividing it into the following groups:
“Building blocks stimulate problem solving and fine motor skill development increasing the potential for a toddler’s future academic performance.”
At this point in their lives, babies are exploring colors, textures and are building the necessary skills in controlling their actions which we hope will lead to improved physical abilities as they grow. Through thorough research we looked at existing products of building blocks and found that babies and toddlers respond to simplicity as a platform to curiosity and discovery. This leads us to the next stage.
“Cognitive games engage key recognition and memory processes essential for successful academic performance in primary school.” At this developmental stage, toddlers are beginning to grasp simple concepts and make cognitive connections between both shapes, colors and names. A simple toy that could be distributed simply through soap purchases are small tokens with printed graphics in which children can play “the original memory game”, collect their favorite tokens, trade and play with other kids. The graphics are simple, bold and provide us with an opportunity to create a visual language which will be consistent within our educational product lines. The graphics become more complicated as we progress to the next stage.
“Early exposure to a range of career options increases children’s motivation to reach their goals.” Research suggests that by the age of 10, children growing up in extreme poverty have already accepted their life’s circumstance and will no longer have ambitions to become a doctor, pilot, engineer, etc. Through soap purchases, we could expose children to a vast variety of career options which will inspire and motivate them to do well in school so that becoming a doctor, pilot, or engineer is possible.
By using a cycle that connects the soap purchase experience to improving child’s education from the customer’s standpoint, we hope to build trust between families and the soap brand. Based on the midterm feedback, we were encouraged to focus on specific attributes on our products aside from the multitudes of quick prototypes we brought to the table. The idea of supporting education was received positively all-around and sparked some excited enthusiasm in exploring this strange marriage of ideas. It is now our challenge to connect soap purchases to education in a clear and strong way. There is also big potential in aiming the project at ALL kids in ALL classes, but with the added benefit of being accessible to the BOP market, which is very exciting!
Unfortunately while we were in Cerro Verde last September, we did not know the scope and focus of the projects we would be working on. Now, with a focused lens towards education and children, I am excited to hear Mariana’s findings while she surveys families, teachers, and children in Peru. We found it extremely difficult to address the issue of improving education within the home because we did not know how education ran within the schools in the bottom-of-the-pyramid sphere.
Overall, I am impressed with the caliber of ideas and prototypes our class collectively brought to the table. I think that Askan as well as our other guest critics were pleased with our progress and had great, constructive feedback to help propel us into further.
With only 5 weeks left, we are in a race to the finish line, whatever the finish line will be. But first, we must await feedback from Mariana. I am super excited to have my group partner in Peru, testing our ideas and prototypes. Before she left, we created a kit of questions and tools to help facilitate co-creation with the people in Cerro Verde which will confirm the value of our project proposal. Although this process has been difficult, I have no doubt this project will be very rewarding. With the Clean+Smart project, we hope to change the world.