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Day 2 – A day in the heart of Nairobi

July 05, 2016. Today, we had to get up really early: Impact Week day 2 at the city campus of ANU starts at 9 o’clock, which means we had to leave the Ongata Rongai three hours earlier. Correct, a distance of 21 kilometers will take up to three hours in the rush hours of Nairobi traffic. Good to know that team “Afrifast” in the Mobility track is trying to find a solution for this topic.


Thankfully, we and almost all students arrived at the city campus in the heart of Nairobi in time. After a short warm up and a recap of interview methods, the teams scattered into the streets of Nairobi to ask people about their specific questions. For example, parts of the education teams went to a school in town, one finance team interviewed bank employees, and one healthcare team set up camp in front of a pharmacy.

Within two hours, each team got responses from up to 33 interlocutors and gained deep insights in the needs of their potential users – an extraordinary result and experience for our students. Meanwhile, our German team also had the opportunity to explore the streets of Nairobi and get a glipmse of the real Africa. An unforgettable memory which will stay with us.


Following the interviews, the students were acquainted with the synthesis phase in design thinking. It was now time to dig deep, unpack the research findings, and tell the stories they had collected this morning. Thinking about the key aspects of their insights, clustering them by topics as well as creating so-called personas was the most intense and challenging phase for the teams so far. By envisioning an archetypal user, this step sets the scene for the solutions the team will work on developing. Shedding received notions, selecting the most important aspects from user research and focusing on essentials proved to be a difficult task.

But design thinking encourages you to fail early and often, so even challenging times are helpful in the development of ideas. Based on the personae they created, the groups were able to rephrase or narrow their problem statement in order to create their user's specific point of view, which will be the starting point of the work going forward.


GO FOR QUANTITY and HAVE WILD IDEAS: now it was time for Ideation! The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible in a short time in order to filter and find the best solutions. With questions like "how would Superman solve this problem?", the work rooms were bursting with energy and creativity. After selecting their best ideas, some groups already built their first protoypes … but read more about prototyping in tomorrow's post!