Design for micro-enterprise: a field study of user preference behavior
DS 87-1 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 1: Resource Sensitive Design, Design Research Applications and Case Studies, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Austin-Breneman, Jesse; Yang, Maria
Institution: 1: University of Michigan, United States of America; 2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, United States of America
Section: Resource Sensitive Design, Design Research Applications and Case Studies
Product development serving the Base of the Pyramid (BoP) is an increasing part of many organizations’ growth strategies, from social enterprises to large multi-national companies. In response to this need, research has focused on developing new design approaches for reaching these users. Previous work by the authors identified targeting micro-entrepreneurs as one increasingly used strategy. This field study expands on the previous work by examining micro-entrepreneur purchasing decisions in the public toilet sector in East Africa. Results from interviews with thirty-three franchisees of a public toilet franchise and other stakeholders in the system are presented. Analyses of purchasing practices and interview responses highlight how the micro-entrepreneur’s business strategy is key to the purchasing decisions and therefore should be closely examined by designers.