User Research & Product Design for Agriculture Planter in Senegal with Autodesk
myAgro’s mission is to move smallholder farmers out of poverty. myAgro has 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 similar to 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.
One of myAgro’s exciting strategies is to help farmers generate more profit from their farms is to improve the machinery. 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. The uptake of this precision planter has not been as fast as myAgro would like and needs to be adapted to the Senegalese context.
To improve uptake, Autodesk marketing experts will help myAgro figure out a better design and improve messaging, branding, advertising, etc.. Specifically, the Autodesk Team4Tech team will assist in the following areas:
- User Experience Research & Product Design: Currently the precision planter is mostly based on the Mali context. The primary goal 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. Depending on time and resources, secondary/reach goals are to conduct user experience and manufacturing research to propose a design or modify the precision planter design for a rice planter; currently, farmers in Senegal aren’t using a planter for rice.
- Business Strategy, Product Portfolio Development: The team will 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 to create a strategy and growth plan from one product to 2-3, and effectively managing manufacturing logistics, costs, and marketing across multiple products.
- Human-Centered Design Workshop: Currently, myAgro practices human-centered design on-the-job but may not fully use the wording, framework, and current approaches. The Autodesk team will work with MyAgro orientation/professional development trainer to develop a workshop on integrating the Human-Centered Design approach directly into their work.