When applying UCD to sanitation, describe a problem your organization was trying to solve?
Designing an affordable and aspirational in-home toilet in a resource-poor context
What solution did you design to solve the problem?
- Developed a service to provide dry-flush material that users are willing to pay for
- Used locally available materials and training previously unskilled labour to construct and modify toilets based on user preferences/feedback
WHAT WORKED WELL
What part(s) of the UCD process did your organization do very well?
- Reliable waste collection service: overcoming fears of unreliable public services
- Providing global context: Reliable sanitation anywhere in the world comes at a cost to the user
- Showing clients that SOIL staff use and pay for the toilets as well
- Comparing to other toilet costs
- Designed toilet which costs less than $35
- Creating livelihood opportunities in communities
- Assured steady supply chain of materials
WHAT DIDN'T WORK
What part(s) of the UCD process did not go well?
- Door-2-door payment collection
- Raising the price to all users to cover costs
- Mass production at scale requires large workforce
- Limitations in locally available materials means it is hard to meet aspirational demands and can reduce functionality
TOOLS AND FRAMEWORKS
What UCD tools or analytical frameworks did you use?
- Regular satisfaction surveys among clients
- Using the technology in our office and staff homes (the "use it yourself" approach)
WHAT WAS REALLY HARD
What were your biggest struggles?
Closing the revenue gap in very vulnerable communities
What was your biggest a-ha moment?
Remembering that sanitation has always been a public good and requires mixed financing
So then what? What did you do? Discard the idea? Change course?
Instead of struggling to pitch 100% private sector solution looking into:
- innovative public financing mechanism
- government as a user
- cost effectiveness vs. break even
What advice would you give other organizations?
When people ask "What is your breakeven point?" turn the questions around and ask "For comparison what is the breakeven point for x (a comparable product/service)”