The project for Team FourD is finished. To give a brief overview what we accomplished during this project watch our movie:
Fortunately the project doesn’t stop here. Our windmill design is taken into production and the Chakardi Salt brand is currently getting tested in the Big Bazaar in Ahmedabad (warehouse in India, sort of an Indian Hema). Furthermore NIF awarded a price of 1.000.000 Rupees to the innovators of the windmill project, Mushtak Ahmed and Mehtar Hussain .
Our new salt brand Chakardi Salt is promotoed for the first time at the IIM Food Festival. The first day of the festival was very crowded. There was a lot of media attention and people were really interested in buying the salt. The Indian customers are in general curious and critical, but many of them like the idea of fair trade and eco-friendly salt. On the first day we sold 365 packages of salt.
In our stand you can experience the atmosphere of a saltfarm and see how the eco-friendly salt is made. There is a well, the windmill is installed and Bhanabhai and Hatubhai, two of the salt farmers that came over to Ahmedabad, made real salt pans of mud.
Working together with our GIAN colleagues to set up and run the fair is a good experience. And all the positive reactions of the people on the fair motivates us a lot.
We decided to a build a prototyping windmill in Kadiyali, Amreli district (400 km below Ahmedabad). Building the new tail on friday, shipping it the same night to Rajula. Emma and I took the nigh-bus to Amreli. Arriving there at 4 AM, we got a little bit of sleep but at 10 AM we were of to the installation of the new windmill with its new tail.
The name of our new fair-trade, eco-friendly and healthy salt brand is Charkadi (meaning small windmill in local language). At 16, 17 & 18th of December we will be promoting it on the IIM food festival “ Sattvik-2011“.
While Emma and I were busy with the windmill itself, Nick was working on the business model. Nick spend several days in Bhavnagar talking to people related to the salt business. He visited a factory where they wash and package the salt and talked with different salt traders that deliver to that factory. He also met some local entrepreneurs that helped him around in Bhavnagar. After getting these contacts we decided with Mahesh to trial test our own salt business. The unique selling points of our salt are:
1. A fair price for the farmer, so they can afford a windmill and be more independent.
2. Eco-friendly salt, created by the windmill without adding any chemicals.
3. Healthy salt, by only washing the salt the healthy sea minerals stay in the salt.
By buying 3 tons of salt from the salt farmers in Amreli (that helped us earlier in the project). We would buy their salt, wash and package it in Bhavnagar, then sell it at the IIM food festival in Ahmedabad and see how people react. Furthermore we want to attract Indian entrepreneurs at the festival who would like to make a real business of it.
We worked on a new tail that would enable the windmill to stop automatically with high wind velocities. In this way the windmill won’t get damaged and the farmer can let it run for 24/7 without constantly checking it. The automatic breaking system is called a furling tail. To test if the furling principle works at the right wind velocity it should be tested in a windtunnel, however windtunnels are scarce in India and very expensive. That’s why we tested the tail on the back of a driving truck and thus creating our own low-cost windmill. The first furling tail was build by the fabricator of the windmill and had the right angle and dimensions but during testing we found out it was too heavy. The next day we build a new tail from aluminum. During building we got help from the guys of GIAN (Javed, Amit and Nirmish) and the workers of the fabricators. It was hard to find an empty and good road for testing on the truck, therefor we chose to test the aluminum tail at location in Amreli.
Time to abandon our laptops and actually build something! We started making prototypes of some of our concept ideas. One of the prototypes is about a new design for the tail of the windmill, which is being build in the factory. Next week we will try it on the actual windmill. Next to this we build (scale) models of the windmill to test a new manual breaking system. This is done in the workshop of the Venture Studio, where all the tools are brand new and we actually had the pleasure of unpacking them.
We finalized the analysis phase of the project. We analyzed the windmill, the user and the business around the windmill. This presentation shows the main findings of this phase. If you are interested in the full report please contact us.
Ahmedabad – Presidency Group Hotel -Sunday 6 November
We have been absent for a couple of days from the blog. Field trip went better than expected, JD is totally adapted to the group rhythm and up to date with what the group has done before his arrival. We left Friday 28 at night to Rajula (State of Gujarat) in a sleeping bus. Sleeping bus is another of the new experiences we are having in India. Bus is divided in compartments for one or two people and height is not enough to go sitting; no one could accomplish sleeping during the whole trip. We arrived in the morning and went to sleep for a couple of hours before going to the farmers in the field.
Purpose of the trip was doing some users tests with the windmill and get to know deeply the context of the farmers. As we told in the last posts this is one of the most important stages when work is done in other cultures and specially in the BOP context. We don’t only try to understand how they live, our main goal is be able to get to know their dreams. We have to not only leave aside our personal assumptions, we try not to be biased by the papers read about this context, and try not to think in the final product. Again, we were the attraction of the village; JD says Nick looks like a Hollywood actor, and Nick says JD is the first Colombian they have seen in their life.
Highlights of the the trip were the sleepover JD and Emma had in one of the farmers house and a night organized specially for us by Bhanabhai of singing and playing instruments.
At our return Casper, Nick and Emma got ill. We are all fortunately out of danger, although Emma took a little bit longer to bet totally OK. We are now working in the report and preparing for the arrival of the team coach, Annemiek van Boeijen. After the delivery of the report we are planning to travel and get to know a little bit more of India, we will keep you posted.
Ahmedabad – Gian Office – Friday 28 of October
Finally the whole group is together. Juan David (JD) arrived the night of Divali, which is New Year in India (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali ). Today at night we will be going again to spend some nights with the farmers in Rajula (http://g.co/maps/4kq3w). Working in projects in a different culture and in extreme poverty, requires that the first steps of the design team, are focused on deep understanding of the community for which the project is being done.
This initial part of the project, which we can call the sensitizing phase, is what makes specially interesting the Base of the Pyramid projects. All the previous knowledge about culture, community, interaction with the environment, interaction with physical objects and whatever might bias our learning has to be left aside. To be able to find the information we need, a series of tools and workshops have to be developed. However we cannot abruptly break into their lives and normal activities, we have to first be accepted and gain their sympathy.
Our task for the next days will be to construct over the previous visit and now start documenting this findings with some interviews, workshops and activities we have planned. We plan to make them company in a whole day of activities, and if they allow us stay a night with them. Its also a very special visit as we are explaining all what we have done to JD as fast as possible (the sleeping bus to Rajula, will probably be a good time to share more of the experience). We are really excited about this field trip, as we already told, we wont have any connection to internet, so we will get in contact as soon as possible.
Meanwhile we will like to share a picture from the trip of JD to India. (Alps from the sky, thanks again to our Swiss Air Friends). When we come back, pictures of Divali and the field trip.