Design Research
for
Emerging Markets
Andrew Harder
@thevagrant
Me
Relevant, Beautiful and Successful
Why do emerging markets matter?
Growth

GDP growth, 1991 – 2011. Source: World Bank via google.com/publicdata
New consumers

Rama Bijapurkar
Enormous
infrastructure
improvements
Perfect conditions for disruptive
innovations
Why do emerging markets matter?

Design may be described as creativity deployed to a
specific end
George Cox, UK Design Co...
Why do emerging markets matter?

The question therefore isn't so much 'what is design and
why does it matter?' but 'how ca...
Why do emerging markets matter?

The question therefore isn't so much 'what is design and
why does it matter?' but 'how ca...
The improving mentality
The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens
“Must we not then… endeavour to
raise these wretched beings out of
their present miserable condition?”
Source: Empire Marketing Board
Source: Empire Marketing Board
"The Great Improvers"

Source: Empire Marketing Board
"The Great Improvers"

Colonial errors:
I know what they need
They need our help
They need help with basic survival
Fallacy 1: They need our help
“If we stop thinking of the poor as
victims or as a burden and start
recognising them as resilient and
creative entreprene...
Commercial companies can’t help
they wanted to create a sanitation product people would be
happy to buy but that also improves people’s health
1: Emerging Market Consumers are
demanding and have alternatives.
We should be so lucky to get a slice of
their wallet
1: How may I be of service?
FROG SLIDE
Research notes
1. Text-based UIs are not suitable for illiterate users
2. Abstract metaphors like envelope for SMS are uns...
Creative Direction - Steampunk
Steampunk reflects the design and craftsmanship of the
Victorian era
Remove the aesthetic o...
Me
Fallacy 2: They need basic products
Fallacy 2: Their needs are defined by what
they lack
What is needed?
Ways to manage illiteracy
Help repairing and maintaining devices
Simple features
Technology that feels app...
View the Tata Nano video on my blog at
http://www.andrewharder.com
2: Address desire, not just needs
2: Celebrate Awesomeness
Aspiration: Not dreaming, doing.
Fallacy 3: Cultures are frozen at a point
in time
3: The world plays out in real time
3: We live in multiple cultures
Your users want to be smarter, sexier and
richer.
Help them.
The $2.3 trillion question
Your users want to be smarter, sexier and
richer.
Help them.

Andrew Harder
@thevagrant
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
Design Research for Emerging Markets
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Design Research for Emerging Markets

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For many years, western companies looking for new users and new revenues have been attracted to the large populations and higher growth of emerging markets like India and China. Digital startups like Spotify and Net-A-Porter are the most recent arrivals on new shores. But product managers often find that importing their offerings as-is leads to rejection by emerging market consumers, and find that their attempts to make new products are not taken up by local consumers. How can we make products and services that are appealing to these new user groups?

In this talk I take a deep-dive into developing customised products for emerging market users, and reflect on the unique challenges that westerners face when we try to understand and design in this domain. When westerners design for emerging market users, we can be blind to what our users really want and instead offer what we want them to have; we can assume they live in cultural isolation and that they need help understanding complicated technology. I challenge these myths and illustrate alternative design approaches looking at successful products like the Tata Nano.

And all this through a talk that covers Darwin, Psy, Bollywood, Adaptive Path, the British Empire and the cost of a data connection in Bangalore costs. Researchers and designers will walk away with challenged and empowered to think and create differently for emerging market users as well as users at home.

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  • Freelance Experience Strategist and Design ResearcherWorked at Nokia until earlier this year, I went through a lot of roles there but one of the best was working on our mobile phone range designing products for emerging market users
  • I was part of the team who made the software for these phones, the “Cheeky” update of s40These luscious interfaces made it into the hands of hundreds of millions of people around the world
  • I am not representing Nokia hereI'm going to be talking about what I've learned in my experience of working for Nokia, helping make products like this. How my approach changed over the years
  • I need to position my objectives in this talk. This is my objective in my career as a Design Researcher – I want to make Relevant, Beautiful and Successful productsSo my work and this talk try to integrate three disciplines: research, and in particular anthropology; design and the commercial concerns of product makingThese three perspectives complement each other of course, but they also cause tension b/cdiffering agendasSHARE LESSONS IN ALIGNING THEM
  • To use here in Australia? If your boss isn’t already tell you to care about it, why should youWell, let's look at the commercial lens first
  • There very rapid growth in those countries, at a sustainably higher rate than developed marketsWhat this means is that if you're 50 or 60 in these countries, then you have seen your country and society completely change in the course of your lifetimeEconomic growth is transforming everyday life in emerging markets – at all income levelsThere are more millionaries in India than in the USA, and it’s also changing lives at the lower end of income too----- Meeting Notes (28/08/2013 11:40) -----Update graph to 2013? ----- Meeting Notes (28/08/2013 16:42) -----is this working? pixelll
  • RamaBijapurkar is an esteemed Indian market researcher, and she had a big influence on me and the ideas in this talkShe points out that this economic growth is lifting people out of destitution and into consumptionNow for us in the west, we might not get that excited about consumption, but if we look at what it means for the poorest people in the worldYou no longer have to life meal-to-meal or hand to mouthFor the first time, people no longer have to make everything they want to use, and this opens up enormous possibilities for what they can do with the rest of their time
  • Another emerging source of opportunity is improvements in infrastructureTransport improvements like train, plane and road, Also digital infrastructure like mobile data and home broadbandUnlock new services and productsBut also it can be cheap: Indian data plan anecdote
  • Tata Nano – world’s cheapest car aimed at PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE A CAR motorcycle drivers who are transporting their family on their motorbikePerfect example of a disruptive technology – this is the JetStar of the car industryTECHNOLOGY: Chinese manufacturers + androidBEYOND COMMERCIAL REASONSWhy should we as designers care? What drives designers to Emerging Markets? ----- Meeting Notes (28/08/2013 11:40) -----Move better explanation of the tradeoffs of Tata Nano here, not later
  • Drawing from Peter Diamandis’s book Abundance, there are a few common motivations that drive innovation and designThe first is simple curiosity about the world - drove a lot of the designers I worked with, and it certainly drove me into research in the first placeI grew up in Rockhampton, and spent my fair time staring out the window wishing I could find something interestingAs I walked into this guy’s house in Chengdu in western China, I was driven by my curiosityDIAMANDIS ARGUES THAT CURIOSITY IS ACTUALLY A WEAK MOTIVATION FOR INNOVATION, and the simple desire to learn more won’t motivate many people in your organisationthe most powerful motivation for innovation is to, TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD AROUND USAND THIS IS CENTRAL TO THE MOTIVATION OF DESIGNERS WHO CAME TO THE FIELD WITH ME----- Meeting Notes (29/08/2013 13:32) -----TRIM
  • We can see this motivation directly referenced in some definitions of designGEORGE COX – SPECIFIC ENDKat Gough is a colleague and lectures at the Royal College of Art in London and her definition of design is straightforward: Design is the translation of social needIn fact, in their web pages on defining design, the DESIGN COUNCIL GOES EVEN FURTHER
  • The Design Council gets at the HEART OF THE PROJECT OF DESIGN AS A WAY OF MAKING THE WORLD BETTERThis is in Designers heads and hearts as they go into the field
  • LET’S LOOK AT A BUNCH OF PUBLIC DESIGN EFFORTS FOR EMERGING MARKET EXAMPLESThis motivation of making a difference to the world drives And just one example is openIDEO where sponsors nominate a problem and then crowdsource a projectThis isn't solely focused on emerging market needs, but it is a common theme
  • Frog worked with Visa on a public project to address the problem of financial exclusion in Rwanda
  • A few years ago, Adaptive Path did a project to concept some new mobile phones for the emerging markets----- Meeting Notes (29/08/2013 13:32) -----UPDATE PICTURE
  • A lot of time and energy is spent by the big consulting companies to conduct projects to improve life in the emerging worldSo then, why do emerging markets matter for design? BECAUSE WE CAN IMPROVE THEM
  • This is where my BRIEF training as an anthropologist kicks in. Anthropology has a long and dark history, and Anthropologists created a lot of theories that as a field we are now ashamed of, learning about the sins of the past was part of the processAnd having been in the field with people who haven't had that exposure to the errors in the past, I can now see the point. There are some incorrect assumptions that people make when they encounter other culturesSo I want to use this small diversion into Colonial history to illustrate what those assumptions are, and why they're importantHOW THEY MAKE US MAKE WE OUR PRODUCTS LESS RELEVANT, BEAUTIFUL AND SUCCESSFUL
  • Formally speaking, Anthropology is the study of mankind – it emerged alongside the Victorian Colonial eraLarge-scale effort on how to understand and govern the new colonial possessionsAround London there are some great examples of colonial architecture, including this oneThis is the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, Albert is the glowing god king in the middleNext row are the tools of colonial power: Agriculture, Commerce, Engineering and ManufacturingLast row represent the colonial resources: Asia, Africa, America and EuropeThis embodies the power and world view of the colonial era
  • Colonial attitudes were universal in this time, even from people we now consider very enlightenedTALK OF CIVILISED AND UNCIVILISED RACES, OF CLEAR ORDERING OF THE RACES FROM SAVAGES TO ENLIGHTENEDThis guy is William Wilberforce, lionised as the leading ideological light in the fight against slavery in the British empireHis motivation was a RELIGIOUS DRIVE TO IMPROVE THE LOT OF MANKIND AROUND THE WORLDAnd that drove colonialisation
  • With sentiment like this
  • We can see the colonial preoccupations in the advertising of the timeThis is East African transport – old stylewho wants to take a guess at what the new style is?
  • Yes, well it involves a white dude standing around looking noble it seems. This illustrates the central point of Empire. That the empire took the savages and civilised themBy sending the white colonisers and taking control of the locals
  • Let me read to you from this book. The conviction of Empire was reinforced by a sense of duty. The Victorians were believers. They believe in their Christian Master, in their providential destiny, in their servants of steam and steel, in themselves and their systems, and not least in their Empire. As the mysteries of life were unfolded to them, explicitly in the triumphs of applied science, opaquely in intellectual conception like the Survival of the Fittest, so their one particular place in the divine scheme seemed ever more specific: they were called to be the great improvers.
  • And that key phrase, The Great Improvers is one that we must be careful about today. When we go into the field wanting to make improvements to the world, We must do it in a mindful wayIn psychology there is the concept of Cognitive Errors, where perceptions and decisions are made using known incorrect heuristicsI want to introduce the idea of Colonial Errors, where our perceptions and decisions are flawed by known, incorrect heuristics
  • For the sake of our discussion today, I want to pull out a few lessons learned from this discussionLET'S MOVE THEN FROM COLONIAL HISTORY BACK TO THE PRESENT AND EXAMINE CURRENT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES AND HOW THEY RATE AGAINST THESE
  • WILBERFORCEThis is the self-evident isn’t it
  • poor people get along just fine without westernersThey’re ingenious, resourceful
  • And very capable of solving their own problemsWhen we are targetting and bringing emerging market users to life, we can fall into the trap of seeing only the povertyWe see everything that is different about home, and in emerging markets there is usually worse infrastructure like sewersWhen we think of Indian consumers, we think of rural farmers, of people living in far isolation and excluded from many parts of civil societyAnd these people do exist and they’re importantBut we need to make sure we aren’t blind by our colonial lenses to focus on improving the lives of others1 – NOT ALL PEOPLE ARE DEPRIVED
  • C K Prahalad is an professor in Michigan who created a lot of attention with his work “The Fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” ANTI-WILBERFORCEWe MISTAKENLY TAKE DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACHES and concerns to commercial productsInstead, we must pursue an OVERLAP BETWEEN OUR HEARTFELT CONCERNS TO IMPROVE LIVES AND THE COMMERCIAL CONCERNS OF PRODUCT MAKINGIf we want to change the world, and we are working for a commercial company, we must act in a way that creates sustainable changeIt can be seen as disrespectful too
  • One woman they talked to had a question for her interviewers: Why have you come all the way from your country to ask about my toilet?Mr. Narracott says most nonprofit organizations would have said, “A toilet is good for your health, and we want to help you.”
  • By contrast, he says, one of the consultants told the woman that they were with Unilever, and they wanted to create a sanitation product people would be happy to buy but that also improves people’s health.“From my perspective, that provides a lot more dignity than a typical [nonprofit] approach,” says Mr. Narracott.We need to move on from the view that emerging market consumers are sitting around a campfire, destituite and waiting for our product
  • This is a respectful attitude towards
  • SO IF WE HAVE GONE OUT WITH THE MINDSET TO PROFITABLY SERVE THE CONSUMERS,WE NEED MORE. IF DESIGN IS TRANSLATING SOCIAL NEED: how do we understand social need? There are a lot of cultural assumptions that we bring to market, and we need to invert these
  • It’s hoary old advice that we need to CHALLENGE OUR ASSUMPTIONS when we go into the emerging world for researchBecause for our solutions to be successful in the local environment, they must be relevant to that environmentTHIS LESSON IS APPLIED FOR SOME, BUT COLONIAL ERRORS PREVENT US FROM COMING UP WITH RELEVANT AND BEAUTIFUL PRODUCTSCHALLENGE: WE CAN'T JUDGE WHAT IS RELEVANT, WE DON'T SEE THE WORLD THE SAME WAY AS THEY DOCASE STUDY
  • For the next two fallacies I want to illustrate with a CASE STUDYADAPTIVE PATH DID AN OPEN-SOURCE RESEARCH PROJECT A FEW YEARS AGOI AM VERY GRATEFUL FOR THIS, BECAUSE IT IS VERY SIMILAR TO A LOT OF THE WORK THAT WAS DONE INSIDE NOKIA SURROGATE FOR A LOT OF INTERNAL CONCEPTS THAT I HAVE SEENTo be fair – only a marketing activity, open-access researchSo then, what did they find?
  • I want to talk about how we got to different places
  • Or putting things another way
  • Lack ability to readLack safe environments and ability to replace phonesLack ability to understand complex thingsLack confidence to try new thing
  • If we look at Maslow's hierarchy of needs, they all seem to be safety needsThis implies that we don't think the higher order needs are important for productsPSYCHOLOGIST CHIP HEATH ARGUES that a basic mistake when designing products for other people is that we assume OTHER people are interested in basic needs, whereas WE are interested in the higher order needs2 EXAMPLES:
  • TheTato Nano is an insanely cheap carThe Nano's trunk is only accessible from inside the car, as the rear hatch does not open.[18]One windscreen wiper instead of the usual pair (also seen earlier on certain Citroen and Mercedes models) [5]No power steering, unnecessary due to its light weight[5]Only one wing mirror[5]Filled with these compromises, and with an origin story around saving families from piling on to a motorbike, let’s look at the latest advertising campaign for the NanoRadio or CD player is optional (the idea picked on some basic car models in North America) [5]No airbags on any model [20]624cc rear engine has only 2 cylinders (recently implemented in new Fiat 500, with a surcharge) [5]No air conditioning in base model (as on most basic car models in Europe and North America) [5]
  • Just under $2500The ad was vibrant and gloriousAnd while it’s kind of hard to place awesomeness on Maslow’s hierarchy, it is kind of towards the topLots of western influenceIt’s a forward-looking ad
  • But from a styling point of view, it makes absolutely no concessions to its cheapnessFrom the look of it, it lacks for nothing! The detailing is as well designed as any other carJust because you're buying a cheap car, doesn't meant that you want to look cheap too
  • Doenjang girl. Doenjangjjigae is a really cheap soybean paste stew, when you could eat more expensive foods that have meat in them it represents a real frugality. Doenjang girls are so called because they SCRIMP AND SAVE ON ESSENTIALS IN PRIVATE, so that they can afford to splurge on luxuries in publicIN EMERGING MARKETS, ASPIRATION IS REALLY IMPORTANT. In heavily middle-class societies like Australia, it’s hard to relate to thisBut in a society that has been changed out of recognition, you need to establish yourself as someone who has kept upWHERE THERE IS ENORMOUS INCOME DISPARITY AND WALKING DOWN THE STREET, people don’t know if you’re rich or poor You need visible signs of status and indulgence.
  • Market that has more colour televisions than toiletsBROADEN OUR UNDERSTNADING OF USER MOTIVATION beyond needs to include the less tangible desire
  • An important qualificationNot dreamers, not just image obsessed90% of rural indian households are headed by a self-employed person – fast adopters of any productivity tool that can help them earn more, such as cell phones and motorcycles
  • WE CAN PINPOINT A CULTURE, IT IS STABLE AND APPARENT. And if things look less developed, then their world is less developedWE LOOK AT THEIR STATE OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT THEN PROJECT THEM BACKWARDS to our culture's stage of development, then assume they have to go through the same process as us. And importantly, a culture is what is different to what is at homeSo this becomes our main point of analysis – just jotting down the differences
  • This makes the LITERAL TRANSFER OF STIMULUS FROM THE LOCAL WOrld, But this isn’t beautiful to local peopleCHINA RINGTONE EXAMPLE: Seeking to be more relevant to the local market, we comissioned a set of ringtones from a local Chinese companyOlder guy liked them who ran a components shop, made him feel relaxedHis employee hated them, played a Britney Spears Womaniser insteadBecause it didn’t take into account aspiration, it is not relevantWhy?
  • Modern life lives alongside traditions. Our faith in astrology does not decrease because of the rising levels of scientific education, we move effortless to computerised horoscopesPeople eagerly adopt new technology where it suits their lives
  • Bodyguard – western brands are very familiarEmerging Market Consumers know what good products are, they know what the best Western brands areWhy should they want anything less for themselves? Modern aspirations and dreams are ever present. Rich guys get to buy phones without big dials, why shouldn't I? Why shouldn't I get precious things? There is a pleasure in buying things that reflect how you WANT your life to be, rather than how a westerner thinks it is.
  • William Easterly points out that the west spent $2.9trillion USD in aid in the last 5 decades, in ONE GRAND PLAN AFTER ANOTHER TO ERADICATE POVERTYFrom the League of Nations to Bob GeldofWe are not able to distribute 12c medicine to children to prevent half of all malarial deathsTwo tragedies: One is that children die in a world when 12c medicine could save them, also that we have spent $2.9 trillion and haven’t changed the reality for themOUR ABILITY TO THROW TIME, AND IN THIS CASE EFFORT BEHIND INITIATIVES THAT DO NOT WORK ARE ASTOUNDINGHOPE THAT OVERCOMING COLONIAL ERRORS, ACCEPTING CONSUMPTION IS EMPOWERING AND RESPECTFULADDRESSING AND UNLOCKING DESIRE IS KEY
  • Design Research for Emerging Markets

    1. 1. Design Research for Emerging Markets Andrew Harder @thevagrant
    2. 2. Me
    3. 3. Relevant, Beautiful and Successful
    4. 4. Why do emerging markets matter?
    5. 5. Growth GDP growth, 1991 – 2011. Source: World Bank via google.com/publicdata
    6. 6. New consumers Rama Bijapurkar
    7. 7. Enormous infrastructure improvements
    8. 8. Perfect conditions for disruptive innovations
    9. 9. Why do emerging markets matter? Design may be described as creativity deployed to a specific end George Cox, UK Design Council Design is the translation of social need Kat Gough
    10. 10. Why do emerging markets matter? The question therefore isn't so much 'what is design and why does it matter?' but 'how can I use good design to make the world around me better?' UK Design Council
    11. 11. Why do emerging markets matter? The question therefore isn't so much 'what is design and why does it matter?' but 'how can I use good design to make the world around me better?' The Design Council
    12. 12. The improving mentality
    13. 13. The Albert Memorial, Kensington Gardens
    14. 14. “Must we not then… endeavour to raise these wretched beings out of their present miserable condition?”
    15. 15. Source: Empire Marketing Board
    16. 16. Source: Empire Marketing Board
    17. 17. "The Great Improvers" Source: Empire Marketing Board
    18. 18. "The Great Improvers" Colonial errors: I know what they need They need our help They need help with basic survival
    19. 19. Fallacy 1: They need our help
    20. 20. “If we stop thinking of the poor as victims or as a burden and start recognising them as resilient and creative entrepreneurs and valueconscious consumers, a whole new world of opportunity will open up” CK Prahalad
    21. 21. Commercial companies can’t help
    22. 22. they wanted to create a sanitation product people would be happy to buy but that also improves people’s health
    23. 23. 1: Emerging Market Consumers are demanding and have alternatives. We should be so lucky to get a slice of their wallet
    24. 24. 1: How may I be of service?
    25. 25. FROG SLIDE
    26. 26. Research notes 1. Text-based UIs are not suitable for illiterate users 2. Abstract metaphors like envelope for SMS are unsuitable 3. Instead, physical interface elements like dials, exaggerated buttons and information gauges are familiar 4. Mechanical world metaphors are more intuitive in this context 5. Most technology in rural India separates controls from information 6. Reselling and repair is common 7. Vast majority of phone's features are untouched by non-
    27. 27. Creative Direction - Steampunk Steampunk reflects the design and craftsmanship of the Victorian era Remove the aesthetic of "preciousness" to invite tinkering and exploration
    28. 28. Me
    29. 29. Fallacy 2: They need basic products
    30. 30. Fallacy 2: Their needs are defined by what they lack
    31. 31. What is needed? Ways to manage illiteracy Help repairing and maintaining devices Simple features Technology that feels appropriate and familiar
    32. 32. View the Tata Nano video on my blog at http://www.andrewharder.com
    33. 33. 2: Address desire, not just needs
    34. 34. 2: Celebrate Awesomeness
    35. 35. Aspiration: Not dreaming, doing.
    36. 36. Fallacy 3: Cultures are frozen at a point in time
    37. 37. 3: The world plays out in real time
    38. 38. 3: We live in multiple cultures
    39. 39. Your users want to be smarter, sexier and richer. Help them.
    40. 40. The $2.3 trillion question
    41. 41. Your users want to be smarter, sexier and richer. Help them. Andrew Harder @thevagrant

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