User Research & Product Design for Agriculture Planter in Senegal with Autodesk
myAgro’s mission is to move smallholder farmers out of poverty.
myAgro developed a mobile layaway system that is based on habits and behaviors that are already part of smallholders’ lives. It relies on scratch cards –similar to mobile phone credit. Instead of having to purchase $100 for seeds and fertilizer in a lump sum, farmers can purchase a myAgro card just as they do their daily shopping – in increments that are small and convenient.
Through this bank-less savings scheme, average harvests for myAgro farmer increase from 50% – 100% over traditional farms, and net farming income increases $150-$300 per farmer.
In addition, one of myAgro’s exciting strategies to help farmers generate more profit from their farms is to improve the machinery they use. myAgro’s first machine was a precision planter, which distinguishes itself from other planters by both planting and microsoding fertilizer at the same time. In Senegal, most farmers use some sort of animal-drawn planting machine that plants but does not fertilize. Women rarely own their own planter and generally borrow or rent from a male relative. Last year, myAgro began selling its own precision planter in Senegal, after designing, testing and selling the product in Mali over several years. Uptake has not been as fast as we would like, and the planter needs to be adapted to the Senegalese context. To improve uptake, Autodesk marketing experts could help myAgro figure out better design, messaging, branding, advertising etc.
The Autodesk team will assist in the following areas:
- Sub-Team 1:User Experience Research & Product Design: Currently the precision planter is mostly based on the Mali context. The primary goal for this team is to improve the precision planter for the Senegalese context and deliver a design in a format that can be shared with the manufacturer. The team will collect customer insights and design strategies through UX research, farmer interviews, manufacturing research, and prototyping exercises. Depending on time and resources, secondary/reach goals for this sub-team are to conduct user experience and manufacturing research to propose a design or modify the precision planter design for a planter for rice. Farmers in Senegal aren’t currently using a planter for rice currently and this would expand MyAgro’s agriculture portfolio to include rice as a new crop. In addition, the team could also research new farming tools and agricultural machines to share with farmers and improving the existing crops and planting methods.
- Sub-Team 2: Business Strategy, Product Portfolio Development: A marketing and business strategy team could provide user research, strategy, and assets (text/images/video) to help reach myAgro’s market in Senegal. The marketing objective is to expand the demand for myAgro’s precision planter and saving service. myAgro is expanding from a single precision planter to additional farming tools that suit the Senegal context. The business objective is creating a strategy and growth plan for growing from one product to 2-3, and effectively managing manufacturing logistics, cost, and marketing across multiple products. An Autodesk team focused on go-to-market strategy could work with the myAgro staff to develop a strategy and materials for farmer education, logistics, branding, and business development.
- Sub-Team 3: Human-Centered Design Workshop: Currently, MyAgro team practices human-centered design on-the-job but may not know the wording, framework, and new approaches. The Autodesk person will work with MyAgro orientation/professional development trainer to develop a workshop on integrating Human-Centered Design approaches that directly applies to their work. They will then collectively teach and learn from myAgro staff on how to apply HCD approaches, communication, and collaboration best practices to future marketing, education, and product development endeavors.