The details about our process:

  1. A quantitative survey  for chemists and private clinics

Much of this was developed with support on format from Jessica (a pro from her IPA and research days) and Amy Lockwood (a huge supporter and advisor for us). The questions cover demographic basics, information of interest to me with inventory / financial, clinical for Jess, and chronic diseases for Margaret. The survey is entered in afterwards by using ODK Collect on a tablet for clean, electronic results. While we are not asking a large enough sample to be running large analyses, this could eventually form the basis for a wider-scale market sizing survey. For now, it helps to ensure that we collect some key basic details for all stakeholders.


  1. Interview summary sheets

Long open-ended questions, often driven by asking about this form or that object that we see in a chemist shop, can lead to long and unwieldy notes that we would not have time to properly analyze. As a result, I developed a shorter summary template that we could use to quickly share highlights from each interview – from key interesting facts (e.g. the Kilgoros chemist who spent 30,000/- on a POS system) to key challenges that we could try to address. This idea of “pains” and “gains” was drawn from a class on the value proposition canvas this past semester, which I’ll elaborate on in another post someday.

Finally, these interviews are always done with an eye to product / service, and what we can offer. As a result, observations on what features we are prototyping would or would not be useful, and ideas for new features that we think of during a conversation are jotted down at the very bottom.  As one advising expert rightfully pointed out, this is not “clean” user-centered design. We are going into this with a biased focus in understanding the role technology would have in helping our users, since we need to finish the summer with a working prototype. At the same time, by more holistically capturing chemist (and others’) pain points and general processes and entering conversations with an open mind we can hopefully gather enough details to help guide development of an overall model / service that will work well for our customers / users.


  1. Process flow diagrams

For each person, Ciiru has drawn a diagram to show how goods, payments, and other transactions move between wholesale suppliers, within retail shops, etc. These have helped us to understand how workflows differ between facilities (for instance, pay first or pay after? How many individuals are involved in a single transaction?) and also learn what happens quickly rather than reading long paragraphs of text

  1. Feedback on mockups

To be included in our next round of site visits. Again in the interest of time, my inventory and financial mockups (developed after our Transmara and Nairobi site visits) went straight to the developers, after feedback from the team but before further validation with chemists. Our clinical mockups are being developed more thoughtfully, with a lot of discussion and input by nurses and providers before coding because the range of options and entry into an EMR are broader – and because it means our technology team can have their work spaced out effectively instead of undergoing periods of blocking and starving.

After struggling with Internet connectivity – a combination of poor network connectivity, and more relevant, a reluctance to pay for data – I opted for low-tech Powerpoint over Balsamiq or other well-used and loved prototyping tools (although I am open to suggestions!). We plan to share these with chemists and others for feedback after we have gone through to understand processes, challenges, and everything else. As several people have reiterated, Kenyans are very polite and more likely than not, tell you they like your product and even adjust their answers to exaggerate the pain points they think you are trying to solve. By first understanding what they do, in an unbiased way, and paying close attention to what they express the most enthusiastic interest in (as well as their suggestions for new features), we hope to filter out “politeness” as much as possible.