recording tool for farmers
Curiosity Design Strategy // October to December 2016 //
In providing assistance and measuring impact, information is key. An organization that supports farmers to become better entrepreneurs aims to create a toolkit and implement a recording system that would make it easy for farmers to record financial transactions and farming activities. The toolkit and recording system also provide a lens on potential opportunities for assistance and improvement of agricultural practices.
Field Research Lead - Project Lead for the 4-day fieldwork. Ensured that field team is on schedule and that tasks were done on time. Coordinated with and gave progress updates to core Curiosity team.
Developed discussion guides and prototypes. Conducted user interviews and group sessions. Facilitated internal brainstorming sessions, debriefings, and prototyping workshops with clients and users.
Analyzed findings, prepared the research report (presentation) for client, and developed visualizations and artifacts to communicate insights.
Farming is a risky and laborious business. Not only do farmers face risks brought about by unpredictable weather conditions, they also handle a lot of work – from securing financial and farming resources to tending the crops to harvesting and finding buyers for lesser quality produce, all while ensuring that their families have enough money to sustain themselves while waiting for their income after the harvest season.
Because farming requires focus, recording activities and the inflows and outflows of money often take a backseat. This can take a toll on farmers’ ability to manage their finances and improve agricultural practices.
Overall Project Goal
Propose ideas for a recording toolkit and system for farmers
RECORDING TOOLKITS: NOTEBOOK AND CALENDAR
For the calendar, we suggested one that is sized 18” x 24”, following farmers’ schema of the Chinese calendar. The calendar should be easy to write on and have tiles that are large enough to have several activities written.
For the notebook, we suggested dividing the notebook into 2 sections – one for expenses on crops while the other for normal household income and expenses.
RECORDING TOOLKITS: TASK BREAKDOWNS AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
We suggested breaking down the recording of different items so as to make the task easier to do. We recommended enlisting the help of wives and making information sessions and recording submissions a social activity for the community to mingle and catch up with each other.
How do different groups or individuals interact and affect the work of the farmers?
How do farmers spend and keep money generated from farming?
How do farmers track the expenses they have in relation to farming?
01 - EXPLORATORY
OBSERVE + IMMERSE & DIG DEEP
02 - GENERATIVE
IDEATE AND CREATE
03 - USABILITY
This project has paved the way for farmers being certified by the Department of Agriculture to have Good Agricultural Practices (GAP).
“This project is part of the organization’s initiatives towards sustainability, an inclusive value chain, and a mutually beneficial partnership. Since then, these farmers have been certified to have Good Agricultural Practices by the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Plant Industry.”
Opportunities for Future Research and Testing
A live and working prototype of this tool has to be made and tested with farmers. This could serve as opportunities for the client to figure out how to better improve the prototype
Find better and more creative ways of how the client can measure their farming support to farmers’ financial status. Examples could be acquisitions and possessions bought all throughout the year.
What I would do differently
Assign roles to the whole team all throughout the fieldwork. Looking back, I realized that I could have utilized the team’s presence in the field more. I could have assigned members who would be taking photos, recording notes, and preparing the materials so that all tasks were covered and no one was feeling uninvolved during the whole process.
Emphasize the importance of documentation. I should’ve emphasized at the beginning that everyone should be taking photos during the whole fieldwork. I was taking photos most of the time, while also trying to get everyone together.
Align on expectations about prototypes and check in every now and then. During the prototyping session, I split the team into two groups to create 2 different prototypes. I worked with one, while my fellow researcher was working on another. While my team finished the prototype, I was surprised to see the other one doing their prototype using Adobe Illustrator. We could have aligned on what the fidelity of the prototype would be and what tools we can use to achieve that.