Jun 13, 2015

Posted by in Field visit day 1 | 0 Comments

Reflections on Children Workshop, IIM Ahmedabad

-By Katherine Bissett Johnson,Swinburne University of Technology,Australia.


Reflections on Children’s workshop

Summer School, Sristi and IIM, June 2015




Designers need to understand people’s motivations for their behaviours. A great example of this was
the tool that the broom makers did have but did not use because it was too slow to use. Many of the
problems suggested involved making machines and tools, the designer needs to make sure that these
solutions will be affordable, safe and increase productivity, otherwise users such as the broom makers
will not be motivated to use these new tools or machines.






Lots of the solutions offered suggested using bike power, this is a great suggestion but they should be
designed in such a way the the bike can be used for other things at other times. Also it was mentioned
that many of the people that were met during field work were nomadic and that this was in response to
the weather (the broom makers and potters particularly either went back to their village or could not
work during monsoon), so any tools or machines should be transportable.




The children made some great insights in relation to education, paticulary numeracy and literacy. The
mobile school and the concept of teaching the women in the community to teach others in their homes
were really strong ideas. This really requires a Product/Process/Service/System approach to problem
solving. Learning Camps and the ideas of connecting skills and equipment were great examples of this.
Teaching women tailoring by using a sewing machine is great example of how education can lead to
income. (see appendix).




Can any product solution be mulifunctional, that is perform different functions at different times? Or can
the biproduct of one activity generate the resources for another activity. For example could the waste
flowers from the flower market be collected and used as a the raw material for another product ( for
example paper making) or could they be composted to generate bio gas and would be this be an
acceptable practice for the community?




The children immediately grasped the idea that recycling and santitation would have postive effects on
the commuity ( for example leakage of drains or flowers as waste from the flower market). Identification
of safety in making things was also a key insight, for example the idea the palm leaf schredder enclosed
in a box to capture the fibres, or a tool to wrap the wire aound the brooms rather than injure hands, or
way to sort and recyle waste at the flower market, or a way to sieve the raw clay for potters to remove
dangerous items, all were offered as solutions to make people’s lives safer.




Interestingly there was not much mention of food, but some discussion about water supplies and the
need to transport potable water long distances. Solutions offered were a collective rainwater tank for the
whole community, a water carrier or community water filter with the filter at the water source a as
shared resource. These types of shared solutions need to be carefully considered in respect to cost for
installation and the potential for communities to self maintain these shared resources.




Looking carefully at people’s current behaviour can lead to innovative solutions. This was particularly
evident from the Children’s insights into the lives of the Vendors. The children noticed that the vendors
stood for 70% of the time and that the vendor carts needed to do different things during the day and the
night. The children also saw the opportunities for the cart to do more, such as have solar panels, be
easier to steel or offer a seat.




For the children the most important problems were health, water and safety. Child labor and santitation
were also mentioned as important. In doing fieldwork it’s important to determine the priorities of the
community as they may not be the same as those of the observer/desginer. Getting as close as
possible to community and co-creating where possible could generate genuine understanding and also
allowing communities to develop their own ideas.



Article from the Ahmedabad Mirror explain how teaching women tailoring can then empower others in
the community.


Kate Bissett Johnson

Swinburne University of Technology,Victoria,Australia


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