Tuesday, July 28, 2009

IDDS-y Bitsy

A few random quotes and descriptions from the last few days in Kumasi.

Bob Nanes (IDE Ghana): "You don't sell people a product, you sell them a dream. You may be making a chlorine water purifier, but you are selling them the vision of healthy children."

At the KNUST university books store, there was a pile of World Bank books on African development for sale for 200 cedis. That is about $142. I guess they want to sell a lot of them. The store also had one copy of Good to Great, for 25 cedis. That title seemed to be harder to keep in stock. Hmmm.

Bob Nanes: "Don't reinvent channels. There are hundreds of companies marketing to the BOP: soap, cigarettes, beer, buckets and batteries. NGOs always want to start a new channel, and it is usually a big mistake. Better to piggyback on what is there."

A student asked Bob what IDE's most successful product was. I figured he would say the treadle pump. But he said the "off season tomato green house" had the biggest return for family weatlh creation. Bob also mentionned that IDE had trained thousands of agricultural machinery technicians to service the treadle pump, and these technicians were often effective marketers for IDE products.

Amy Smith: "In design, there are no solutions, only trade offs."

Ben Linder: "If you don't want people to hold your prototype like a gun, make sure it doesn't look like a gun." [discussing prototyping progression for a demining clipper in Angola]

Amy: "how do you incorporate failure into the success of your design? how will your design fail? how will it fail first? what is the best failure mode? the worst?" [she described redesigning a plow so that when it hit a big rock, instead of bending the blade, a bolt broke. bolts are easier and cheaper to replace than blades.]

Last image: I got to attend my third IDDS International Potluck Dinner last night. Bigger and better than ever in Ghana. Participants grouped by country and then tried to show why their food is the world's best. And we all got a taste. The party lasted long into the pleasant evening. (Sule and I brought Enviro-banku... the world's first banku cooked on an Envirofit cook stove).

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