Solutions that put farmers first.....
Updated: Jul 28, 2018
When it comes to design, Solar Innovation in Africa, especially Kenya, you have to be very dynamic. When we first started we had the notion that, we knew all about solar especially when it came to the technical stuff. From there we pre-packaged solutions and started pushing them to the farmers thinking, that is what they needed and wanted.
To our surprise this failed miserably, and we were shocked. Our business plan and business model was a complete failure. The idea that we knew what our clients/ farmers were looking for and it was just a matter of showing them that this is what is best didn't work.
Going back to the drawing board...
"If am selling to you tomatoes and you don't like my tomatoes, then I should ask why don't you like my tomatoes"... The questions we were getting from most of our clients was surprising....
- Can I get a solution without the battery because I have my own battery that I can use?
- Instead of using a fixed pipe, can you come and design a customized plumbing/ piping work in my farm?
- Since I will only be using the pump during the day and storing water do I really need the battery and charge controller?
All this questions were telling us that the people we thought had no idea about solar water pumps were quite informed about electrical and plumbing installations... And it all tired to cost.
Social Innovation: Focusing on the Solution! Rethinking what we do and how we do it!!
We through all the business models we thought would work in the trash and started focusing on the solutions..the funny thing about solutions, they are never consistent and never textbook.. they are actually very dynamic and we had to adopt fast.
Focusing on the solution and not the product and customizing our solutions based on customer expectations has allowed as to change our fortunes and record growth. We are still learning and innovating every single day and that's what makes what we do so exciting. It the Greek Philosopher Socrates that said, "The only thing I know is that I know nothing" which still resonates with our venture very strongly and why we have adopted the Social Innovation approach. Our business model is more dynamic and changes every time we meet an obstacle, that way we stay with an open mind and always choose to address the root cause and not just treating the symptoms. We choose optimism and action over apathy..
Right now we ensure that we are part of the community understanding their challenges and innovative solutions.. "We don't sell and install solar water pump! we change lives through affordable and practical solar water farm solution".