Kenya, local time 23 pm. Today, our focus was on Prototyping and Testing. The workshops were all about refining solutions for the problems that were identified during the sessions yesterday and to build the first prototypes for the solution. Goal for the day was to go out and test prototypes with users on the university campus.
We had 2 inspiring talks today. „You have the solution in your mind but when you go out you will be shocked“, we were told by Michael Wakahe, Change Maker. Michael talked about the importance of pushing solutions and new products out early and test them in the field with real users. He told us that being to tightly and emotionally connected to an idea can be dangerous, because it prevents you from meeting the real user's needs. "Don't be scared of pivoting", allow yourself to integrae feedback into your solution. This will lead to a successful product that is really needed by a user!
We learned again today a lot about the problems and challenges in Kenya, and Africa as a whole continent. Michael Waiyaki from Givewatts who produces solar lamps and distributes those all over the continent led us through the story of his succes. "The model is the key" we learned from him. A model must be replicable and scalable. A model helps to structure your approach when installing a new product in the market. Basic needs in Africa can be fulfilled with simple solutions. But bringing the solutions to the user – distributing your product over the continent – where the infrastructure is weak, where transport is not easy, where 70% of the population is living in rural areas, is a challenge that a company like his has to deal with.
We learned from Jochen how to build prototypes and how to do good testing. The participation of everyone was huge. We were impressed. The students and entrepreneurs of the future were so ambitous and motivated in bringring their ideas on the table, in building prototypes and in going out and testing their solution. We notice, that the work we ware doing here is new to most of the students. That is why we are here. And it is so impressing and emotional to work in that atmosphere of excitement, real startup energy and daily learning – on every side! Every Impact Week participant, including us, including the ANU, is learning from each other, every day!