We all have heard about the conventional need identification process which talks about getting your hands dirty in the field with your targeting community to get knowledge and insights about the chosen problem area. This knowledge forms an understanding which help us, as innovators move further in the innovation process to facilitate ideation. From the team’s first visit to the village Pethapur for general observation and need seeking, the identified some problems which were brainstormed upon and ideas were generated for all the possible solutions. The team built sketches and concepts for the users, which today were discussed with the community as a follow-up of the first visit. This sharing is also important from an ethical point of view, so as to differentiate the team from the knowledge exploiters and give us an opportunity to make them feel that yes, there is someone who cares for them and is thinking about making their lives better. So below is the description of the solutions the team came up with and the practical feedback which they get from the fields:
Visit to Khakhra making unit
Problems identified with discussion
Need to reduce strain caused due to bending while packaging – The team identified that for packaging the workers were bending which could easily be corrected by putting an elevated level to ease the flow of operations. The proposed a design of a table for the operations which the owner was willing to buy.
Need for automating oil dripping in Khakhra making – One step in khakhra making process involved oiling of khakhra which was done by a woman using a spoon and a bowl full of oil. We suggested a mechanism for automatic oil dripping mechanism to the owner. The owner was genuinely interested in the team’s idea and had 80-100 other customers for the problem. The owner also told the team that due to lack of time and resource he wasn’t able to make this so if you develop this He was so impressed that he gave us his number for further communication.
Visit to Umiya Gram Udyog
Team discussing their solutions with the owner of Umiya Gram Udyog (Pethapur).
Problems identified with discussion –
Need to prevent hole making time in puri – The team observed that the labor employed at the center was using a knife to make 8+ holes in a flat piece of dough which took him around 8 seconds for single piece and the team proposed him an ergonomic tool with multiple spikes to help him make many holes in one go and thus reducing his time per piece significantly. But on discussing about the same problem with the owner, the owner said that the market demand for the particular product is not that much so they weren’t looking for increasing their production capacity. Though they were aware of many such tools in the market but he hasn’t bought them as of yet but will get them as per demand
Need to prevent chilly powder inhalation by workers – The crushed chilly spread the fine particles in the air which was being inhaled by the workers. The team thought of building a mask for the laborers but upon discussion, they said that they don’t feel the need of any such mask and they also pointed that the mask would cause irritation and will cause sweating. So they rejected the idea.
Problems of rats in the shop – On noticing the rats in the shop the team asked the owners if they are looking for any solutions to shoo the rats away and to prevent them from feeding into the grains. In response the owner told us that they have no problems with the rats and they in fact feed the rats They had never thought of rats as a problem which the team felt a bit counter intuitive.
Multiple logos on their products – The team noticed that their products had multiple logos so the team discussed the issue and recommended them to use a consistent logo which would help them differentiate their brand from the competitors.
Low height of stove – The team identified the stove which was placed at a low height which the team found to be causing back pain to the workers but the owner told the team that that’s how it’s done everywhere and the labor has never complained.
Exposure of hand to chilly powder causing irritation in hand – The labors in the shop use their bare hands for mixing the chilly powder and experience intense irritation. The labor use a tool for mixing but still while pouring the chilly some powder falls in his hands. The team discussed why don’t they use gloves, they said that the task is needs to be done with gaps with multiple tasks in between which cant be performed using gloves and thus if the gloves would have been there, they didn’t like the idea of wearing and removing the gloves again and then.
Visit to iron pellet making workshop
Team sharing the solutions and taking feedback from the workers at a metal pellet workshop at Pedhapur.
Problems identified with discussion with the workers:
Need for a protective gear to prevent injury while inserting sheet metal in pellet making machine – For this problem the team decided to make gloves for the workers but on sharing the idea with the workers they rejected the idea. The team got to know that they had tried the idea themselves also but it gets in the machine and with time it wears out as the sharp edge of the sheet metal cuts the glove with time. So the idea of glove was rejected. Further the team observed the whole process more carefully, looked at the parts of their hands which gets cut during the operation. The team found out the workers has a safely anti septic cream for the cuts as they were so frequent.
Need for a pellet collecting chamber directly from machine to eliminate manual aggregation – The pellet making machine hurls the pellets in all directions which are then later picked up by the workers and then packed into packets for storage. The team’s idea of diverting all the pellets directly from the machine into the storage machine was rejected as the process of manual picking each pellet was necessary for each piece for quality check.
Visit to Umiya Traders – Iron rods selling center
Team taking the feedback from the owner of Umiya traders regarding their belt solution.
Problems identified with discussion
Need for a mechanism to reduce labor efforts during loading of iron rods – The team had identified the problem to constitute of labor loading the iron rod into the truck one by one resulting in slow loading rate. To increase the number of rods carried per cycle of loading, the team proposed a design of an iron belt to tie a number of rods which have handles on its surface which would help the labor hold and load many rods during one cycle of loading. The team tried to test the idea by holding and observing how the labor currently loads the rod and how would he load it with the solution. On close observation the team rejected the idea as it was discovered that clustering the rods together with belt will increase its weight making it difficult for the labor to lift and thus increasing the load further for the labor instead of reducing it.
The people visited in the followup meeting were very happy to see the team. At Umiya Gram Udyog, the team was welcomed and was offered Coca-Cola also but at that shop as the team pointed out flaws in their shops which was causing problems for their labor, the owner got offended and turned conservative as the team uncovered their inefficiencies. After this field, which was their first visit the team took time to reflect to understand what made the owner uncomfortable and how to be more open and ask their recommendations instead of telling their flaws and selling them the solutions. Thereafter, the same scenario didnt happen. The workers at the pellet making shot were very happy to see us as the team is very concerned about the cuts they get daily due to sheet metal insertion and apply anti septic cream every day.