Practical Research, Design Workshop by Adam White at the iHub Research

By Anne
  Published 23 Apr 2012
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' What factors should you consider when designing a future sustainable model for a client need? '

Adam White of Groupshot ( Daniel Jung of Kiva co-led a design workshop hosted at the iHub Research on Thursday, 19 April 2012. Participants were tasked with solving a case study for Kiva ( on the challenge of direct loan repayment. For a number of reasons, borrowers do not always repay their micro-loans. Likewise scaling and improving the quality and amount of loans is traditionally very challenging and time-intensive.

Adam training the iHub Research Team  Daniel describing how the Kiva system works

The workshop aimed to be very hands-on and offered participants a chance to conduct practical research. After being divided into teams, the participants were asked to identify new concepts that would improve the loan repayment rate on a microloan. The format of the workshop was designed to force innovative thinking that was grounded in a specific context, while questioning the assumption and ability of technology. The workshop introduced the following to participants:

- Introduction to the design process

- Introduction to the Kiva challenges (Kiva was the client in the case study)

- Research design and Process

- Brainstorming and Development

- Group work and Concept Finalization

According to the research agenda,the researcher requires a background on the problem, an understanding of the Kivaoperations and needs, in-house research with the users the Kiva system to know what their experience has been after accessing micro- loans, field research to try and understand what other users would require to use the existing system, identifying new methods if the existing ones were not sufficient, and finally a design of a prototype solution based on the findings.

The participants listened to trustees who have worked with Kiva in the microloan disbursement, entrepreneurs who have received loans from Kiva, and then interviewed grocers and vendors in a nearby market to see what methods grocers and vendorsare currently employing when they need a loan, and some of the challenges faced. At the end of the workshop, several suggestions for new models to be tested were presented to the KIVA team.

For more information on this project, feel free to contact [email protected]

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