LOCAL . INTERNATIONAL
LOCAL . INTERNATIONAL
INTERNATIONAL & LOCAL PROJECTS
Local projects is an area where youth who have their own ideas developed through the INNOCO program are encouraged to extend their learning into a social entrepreneurial model. INNOCO partners in various fields of expertise will assist through this process
International projects enables youth to have a submissive , time limited experience of facilitating and organising a bootcamp in an international setting. Youth will work with other youth directly in a country to co-design and achieve the INNOCO vision for social innovation.
The first international project has been initiated with youth in Nepal where UAE youth will co-design a project with, and execute a INNOCO boot camp in Nepal in June/July 2017.
IS A SERVICE PROJECT CO-CREATED BETWEEN YOUTH OF UAE & NEPAL FROM 2016 to 2017
IS A SERVICE PROJECT CO-CREATED BETWEEN YOUTH OF UAE & NEPAL FROM 2016 to 2017
UNC INitiative aims to empower Nepali youth by UAE youth to develop creative solutions for a sustainable service, product or entrepreneurial outcome for a selected Nepali community. It will contribute to initiate improvements or changes that may do with renewable energy resources.
UNC2017 (UAE/NEPAL/CONNECT) SOCIAL INNOVATION BOOTCAMP
The people of Nepal can use your help. There are many opportunities to improve wellbeing and quality of life, and you are the person with the creative mind who can present useful solutions to some of society’s most pressing challenges.
Coming up with an innovative solution to a problem or opportunity isn’t easy. To help us innovate, we will follow the design process step by step. Whether or not we are aware of it, the design process represents the steps that we all go through when we solve problems—from the very simple to the very complex. It has applications in industrial design for tools and products, architectural design for buildings, process design for manufacturing, policy design for regulations, and (for our purposes) social innovation design to deliver products or services that can make people’s lives better.
The Design Process
Step 1: Understand the Context and Beneficiary Group (EMPATHIZE)
Before you can begin to imagine solutions, you must first empathize with the people who you desire to help, and you must fully grasp the complexities of their inconvenience or suffering. This step requires research and data collection, and in-person interviews with the population that you intend to benefit, so that you can see their point of view (the world through their eyes).
It also requires a deep understanding of the interrelationships that exist between individuals, organizations, government, environment, cultural traditions, and society.
From an outside perspective and before engaging people in conversation, you may think there are problems where there may not be any, or conversely you may not be aware of serious problems that make life unnecessarily difficult for a particular group of people.
Even if your initial assumptions are correct, there are very likely complexities that will point you in a different direction as you seek to discover solutions. For example, if there is a scarcity of something such as water, food, or energy, the root cause of the scarcity may not be as simple as you originally think.
Step 2: Identify the Problem to Address (DEFINE)
When you have a good understanding of the context and the situations or problems that people are experiencing, it is time to define the specific problem that you seek to address with your innovative idea. For example, after you have visited a farm and have learned all about the way that food is planted, harvested, distributed, and consumed, you discover that food is going to waste somewhere while people elsewhere are going hungry. In this case you might define the problem as “lack of access to sufficient quantities of healthy food” or “problems in the distribution chain for agricultural products” or “insufficient means for food preservation”.
Use the simple formula:
_____________ is a challenge for ______________ because of _______________.
The first blank line to fill in is the specific problem that you have identified. Try to avoid using broad terms such as “poverty,” “equality,” or “education.” These are very fundamental social challenges that society has been taking on for hundreds of years. What are the specific challenges that relate to these broader issues? To take the examples above in order they might be “wage stagnation,” “gender bias,” or “access to books.”
The second blank line is the group that your innovation will benefit. Again, challenge yourself to be specific. When you start up your business you won’t be able to benefit the whole world or all women. Rather you will need to identify a target demographic that encompasses dozens of people or maybe hundreds (but probably not thousands). It will just be you, an employee or two, maybe a board of directors, and some partner organizations. Once you have been in business for twenty years then maybe you can expand you beneficiary group.
The third blank line is the root cause. Why does this beneficiary group face such a challenge? Try not to stop at the symptom of a social problem, but dig deeply to get to the underlying cause or causes. This will help you channel your focus and activities as an organization. For example, if you want to increase opportunities for women, is the right strategy to provide services directly to them, or would an initiative that seeks to educate their husbands about gender equality actually have more impact?
Don’t settle for the first problem definition that you come up with. Write down ten or more on the same theme. Be creative and take time to get it right. Doing so will benefit you in the next steps. You can bring your knowledge, experience, and the understanding that you have gained from Step 1, but try not to bring too many preconceived ideas to Step 2 about exactly what your social innovation will be. That is for the next step…
Step 3: Ideate (BRAINSTORM)
Now that you know clearly what the problem is, who the beneficiary group is, and what is the root cause that you will tackle, it’s time to come up with your solution! Think big and bold. At the beginning don’t be too constrained by the details—that will come later.
Cycle through many quick ideas and iterations of ideas, looking at things from many different perspectives.
As soon as you have one idea that you can write down in a sentence or two, put it aside and start over from the beginning. Challenge yourself to come up with at least five different solutions to each problem statement and write down on separate cards or notes.
Once you have many ideas in front of you, compare and contrast them. Perhaps there are ways in which you can combine two into one. Ask questions about each one such as: Does it have a product-based approach, or a service-based approach? Does it seem like a for-profit or non-profit business will be most suited? Will it require a lot of resources to start making an impact, or can it be lean at first and scale up over time? What are the opportunities for earned income based on the activities you describe? How practical is it? How unique is it? What sets it apart from programs that are already working to address the same social issue?
Step 4: Sketches and Models (PROTOTYPE)
Make a one-page sketch of each of your ideas (you can call this your paper prototype). Think through some of the practicalities that will be required to make the idea work.
Your sketch or diagram should include a framing of the problem, description of the beneficiary and/or customer, the resources required, the process of implementation, the intended result, how you will measure impact, what partners and resources you’ll require, what sources of income will you derive from your activities (remember, even non-profits must pay salaries, overhead, rent, etc. and you can’t always rely on grants and donor largess).
Use the Social Business Model Canvas as a tool for prototyping.
Step 5: Critique and Testing (ITERATE)
Take someone through your paper prototype and get their feedback on how it could be improved. Make survey and speak to people in public who fit your target demographic. Call people you trust who work in the same field and run them through your idea. Perhaps there are some barriers to implementation that you haven’t thought about or perhaps there are ways in which you can create greater efficiencies in the delivery of your product or service.
Try not to be too “wedded” to your idea and be open to constructive criticism. Don’t take critique personally or you may close yourself off to ways in which your idea could be improved.
This is a step that can be repeated many times. The more times you iterate, the better your idea will become!
Step 6: Presentation (PITCH)
Once you have received sufficient critique and have responded to criticisms by improving on your idea, it’s time to take it to an individual or organization that can help you with implementation. This could be a strategic partner, potential funder, community stakeholder, beneficiary group, or government office.
Step 7: Implementation (DO)
Now that you’ve got everyone behind your idea, it’s time to roll it out and start changing lives for the better. There will still of course be opportunities to improve your idea as you go along, so measure your impact and never stop thinking of ways to improve your programming.
The Design Brief
Now that you understand the design process for social innovation, let’s take a look at what a Design Brief might look like in the context of agriculture.
A Design Brief is a document that helps to frame a particular problem. It can be broad or narrow in its focus. It often begins with a summary narrative and background information.
What follows is a narrative that provides some additional background related to the agricultural sector, since this will be the focus of the first part of the UNC2017 Social Innovation Bootcamp. It makes a good example because the agricultural sector is integral to almost every other aspect of Nepali society, environment, and economy. Over the course of the first few days of the bootcamp, you will learn much more through your own investigations.
If your innovation idea is completely unrelated to agriculture, that is OK too! Please use this narrative as a guide to the kind of research that you should be engaged in as your research your field of interest.
According to Dr. Mahabir Pun, the Chairman of the National Innovation Center, Nepal has experienced a great transition in the way that foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, meats, fish, dairy, herbs, etc.) are produced and consumed over the past few decades. In the not so distant past, Nepal was a net exporter of agricultural products. In other words, the country used to produce more food than its people were able to consume. The remainder was purchased by neighboring countries or packaged and shipped overseas.
During the second half of the 20th century this situation started to change, and Nepal now imports far more food than it exports. The same can be said about many sectors of Nepal’s economy.
In 2015, Nepal exported $909M (USD) and imported $6.61B (USD), resulting in a negative trade balance of $5.7B. This has changed since 2001, when Nepal had a positive trade balance of $70M. Over time, imports have increased, while exports have remained stagnant. See more at http://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/npl/.
The present ratio of imports to exports does not lead to economic prosperity because over the long term there is a drain of wealth from inside Nepal to outside of Nepal. To begin to solve this, Nepal can nurture local initiatives for “import replacement” through which products and services that are consumed in Nepal rely for the most part on domestic innovation, ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing. Eventually, a stronger Nepali economy will lead to a greater number of highly produced goods being exported to other countries.
One of Nepal’s biggest imports is refined petroleum. Transitioning to electric vehicles powered by clean Nepali hydropower would not only clear air pollution, but it would also greatly improve the trade imbalance.
Today, more than 60% of Nepali people identify their occupation as “farmer.” So why does the country need to import so much of its food? One issue is that so many young people are expatriating to find work. In an average village, 40% of youth are abroad at any given time. The main stated reason that people give for working abroad is that there are no job opportunities for them in Nepal. The economy of Nepal is heavily dependent on remittances of foreign workers, which represent 29.1% of the gross domestic product. But the real value they are creating through their labor (new buildings, industrial goods, etc.) stays in the country that is hosting them (could these workers instead be staying home and building Nepal’s infrastructure, social service sector, and economy?).
As a result of so many workers going abroad, fields are falling fallow and returning to their natural state. There is work to be done and a great deal of opportunity, but the economics do not presently support an expansion of agricultural activity.
For more information about the context of agriculture in Nepal, see the final pages of this document, which have been generously compiled by Saurav Dhakal.
Fields returning to their natural state is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s the opposite of what is happening in Brazil, Indonesia, and other countries, where deforestation for cattle grazing, palm oil production, and other uses is devastating habitats and leading to mass extinctions.
Can land uses that can strike a sustainable balance between food production and habitat? Are there ways to share land uses for multiple types of productivity? Energy production, food production, grazing land, recreation, eco-tourism, etc.?
While on the Great Himalayan Trail trek, Saurav Dhakal (founder of StoryCycle) discovered that different local produce in villages such as Jumla (walnuts), Mustang (beans and apples), and Kanchenjunga (organic tea) were not finding their way to Kathmandu where consumers would be literally hungry to purchase them. Instead, as a consequence of undeveloped transportation and distribution networks, these products were not connecting to markets, and farmers in the villages were suffering as a result.
Working with Nepali youth, Saurav started a social media campaign called “GreenGrowth.” Using their skills in web application development and public engagement, they developed a delivery mechanism that can solve the transportation and distribution problem. Saurav and his team were able to connect farmers directly to urban consumers who are able to place their orders directly online and receive a crate of produce three days a week.
This is a great example of how a deep understanding of the existing conditions and the context of a social system can lead to an awareness of an underlying problem and eventually to an “aha!” moment and the birth of a social innovation enterprise. Saurav empathized with both the farmers who lacked access to markets and the urban dwellers who lacked access to the food they wanted. His awareness of the complex systems at work led him to arrive at a solution to benefit both groups of people.
View of Patale Gaun, a GreenGrowth network farm in Kashikhanda, Nepal
More information provided by Saurav Dhakal
Green Growth is a lifestyle to connect with nature. It introduces five fundamental economic principles for growing a new and more balanced economy that will ensure the efficient use of resources, provide the minimum necessities of life for all people facilitate a more equitable distribution of surplus wealth, and guarantee a better quality of life for all in a thriving, resilient, and sustainable economy.
We are focused on an ethical and fair trade system that builds the community with cooperative model and inspires them to produce via crowd-farming.
We conduct surveys, researches, and workshops with farms to identify their compatibility with the Green Growth model. We now have Eight Partner farms, which are all community-based.
Social Media campaign
Social media is used for sensitization of sustainable production and consumption by sharing information about various farms and their available produce which can be ordered via our website.
We take online orders from the consumer, compile them, and communicate with farmers. The orders are then sent to us by the farmers for packing and delivery to respective consumers. After compiling the orders we confirm them by calling the consumer a day before their preferred delivery and the orders are delivered.
Connect with Farm
Subscribers can go and visit farms and see how we are growing produce. This also gives them a chance to connect with nature, We try to promote the agro-tourism around our farm areas by establishing Home Stay and Farm Stay options.
Consumer base Farming
For farmers, we suggest new varieties of crops that have bigger demand on the basis of our communication with our consumer. In this way we are using consumer food data to inform more efficient production.
Branding and Marketing
It’s not enough to have great products and services to offer. You must also market them successfully to the world and identify a brand strategy that will appeal to your target audience to build momentum towards viral adoption.
In the agricultural context this is a part of the equation that is often missing for Nepali products. For example, Nepal has been growing tea for hundreds of years. But today, according to Dr. Mahabir Pun, the lack of a recognizable international brand for Nepali tea means that the leaves are sold to Indian companies that are able to package and brand the tea as “Darjeeling,” and selling for a much greater margin on the global market. The same thing applies to many herbal and natural products.
There are many opportunities to leverage the beauty and rich cultural heritage of Nepal to produce and sell goods to the world that are packaged and branded locally. It’s in the packaged and produced consumer goods that the majority of the sale value exists, not in the raw materials. Just like this example with agricultural products, branding, graphic identity, marketing, and communications are key to the success of any project.
The right time to think about your marketing strategy is after you have iterated your idea a few times and are getting ready for your pitch. Think about creative taglines and blurbs that can get your idea across very quickly to potential beneficiaries, partners, funders, news media, and the general public. Think about how much time and money you might need to successfully market your innovation.
Your Social Innovation Challenge
Develop an innovative plan that addresses a social need related to food security, land use, education, energy, water, finance, industry, social justice, health, the built environment, government services, the natural environment, or economic development. Your innovation may overlap with more than one of these sectors. Your plan should aspire to minimize the impact on the natural environment. Ideally it will bring benefits to the social, natural, and economic ecologies (people, planet, profit) of Nepal.
Your plan should contain the following components, which align with the Social Business Model Canvas tool:
1. Narrative Summary
a. Identify the specific social issue or need that you are addressing and what led you to focus on it. What data or experience backs up your assumptions regarding this need?
b. How will you measure the impact of your social innovation?
c. What value will you bring to the people that your innovation will serve? How will their lives be changed for the better as a result of your actions?
2. Description of Benefit
a. Describe the target group of people who your innovation will benefit. Is there a primary, secondary, tertiary beneficiary group?
b. Do you have a commercial customer that is distinguished from your beneficiary group? If so, who is your target customer? Describe them in detail and why they will be interested in purchasing your product or service, or participating in your idea.
3. Innovation Description
a. Describe your social innovation idea in detail. What is the product or the service? How will it be implemented and what are the processes and activities involved?
b. What systems will your innovation have an influence upon? Is there an interrelationship between multiple systems? For example, if your idea is an agricultural sector innovation and it is targeting school lunches, then you are looking to make improvements to farming systems and educational systems, which have impacts into other social systems as well.
c. What distinguishes your innovation from others that are working on similar social issues? Talk about projects that inspired you and other projects that you consider best practice precedents.
d. How will you market your innovation to the world so that potential buyers and investors/sponsors are aware of the benefits and support your idea?
4. Marketing and Communications
a. How do intend to reach your target audience?
b. What are your plans for building a recognizable brand and graphic identity around your idea?
5. Plan of Action and Activities
a. What specific activities will your organization be engaged in?
b. Who will be involved in these activities?
c. How will you measure their impact?
6. Organization and Resources
a. What are the key human resources that you will require in order to successfully implement your idea? Who will be your experts, both internal and external? What support staff would you like to see in place?
b. Will your organization operate as a nonprofit or as a for profit business?
c. What kind of seed capital is required to get your innovation off of the ground?
d. What are the material resources that you require in terms of working space, equipment, public infrastructures, etc.?
7. Partners and Stakeholders
a. Who are the key organizational partners that you would like to see buy into your idea and support it?
b. What kind of licenses and permits will you require to carry out your activities?
The last three sections pertain to how your social innovation will be managed as a sustainable financial operation. For the purposes of this challenge, your answers to these questions can be very conceptual and without a great level of detail. Consider what kinds of revenue streams your activities may generate, a rough estimate of overhead expenses, and how you intend to re-invest profits back into your organization. It is important to think through these aspects of your social enterprise, and you are encouraged to dive deeper into these sections after the conclusion of the Bootcamp.
a. What do you estimate will be your yearly expenses (salaries, fees, contractors, vendors, overhead, etc.)
b. What will be your biggest ticket items?
c. How do you expect that your expenses will change as you scale up?
a. What revenue streams have you identified?
b. What will your customers exchange for your service or product?
c. How will the exchange take place?
a. When your organization becomes profitable (your revenue consistently exceeds your operating expenses), what will you invest this profit?
b. How do you imagine that you will grow your initiative over time?
On Day 3 of the Social Innovation Bootcamp, you will work through Steps 1–3 of the Design Process with a focus on agriculture. As an individual you will EMPATHIZE, DEFINE, and BRAINSTORM ideas.
On Days 4–6 you will work with a team or individually on a problem that might or might not have to do with agriculture (you and your team can decide). Over the course of those days you will go through the entire Design Process completing all of the Social Innovation Challenge Components listed above so that you are ready to PITCH your idea.
Good luck and have fun!
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE STATE OF THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY IN NEPAL
(provided by Saurav Dhakal, founder of GreenGrowth online)
Nepal is called an agricultural country as agriculture consists of a large portion of our Gross Domestic Product and it provides job to the largest portion of our population.
However, the scenario is changing as the young generation is being attracted towards the service related job at offices, restaurants, banks and so on. The new generation is gradually departing from the traditional occupation of farming. This changing scenario has a lot of implications and from the business perspective this has increased the scope of agriculture related business even more.
Although, agriculture seems to be unprofitable business as of now, it really isn’t. The unprofitability issue arises based upon how we approach agriculture.
Agricultural production is closely associated with our basic needs. The food we eat and the clothes we wear are our two most rudimentary needs which can be fulfilled only from agriculture. However, since the people associated with agricultural production are decreasing steadily, it has created opportunities for the entrepreneurs to invest in business and make good profit.
On one hand the population of the country is rising and on the other hand, the human resource is leaving the traditional occupation of farming to get better jobs in the service sector. Hence, as of now, for any businesses which can produce agro-products successfully will have no problem at selling its product.
As for the price of the agricultural products, the prices are rising steadily, thus making the business more and more attractive to the prospecting entrepreneurs. Due to the increasing demand for the consumption, the prices of agricultural products like cereals, vegetables, meat, eggs, and milk are consistently and persistently increasing. This rise in price is making the production of such goods profitable.
Similarly, one problem of agricultural businesses is that in many cases, the traders get more remuneration rather than the producers. Fruits and vegetables can be the examples of this case because the price at which these products are sold to the ultimate consumer is many times higher than the price paid to the producers by the wholesaler. This problem, however, is due to the lack of good marketing practices and due to production of goods in a small scale. Producing the goods in a significantly larger scale can make the producers capable to retail their products themselves, thus they can significantly benefit by selling their own products.
Here is my SWOT Analysis of the Agricultural Businesses in the present context of Nepal.
I am interested on fruits and value added product that we can fight in regional market.
UNIQUE NEPALI FRUITS
Nepal does produce quite a number of fruits but two that are of special interest are the Lapsi (Choerospondias axillaris) and Bel (Aegle marmelos), which are unique to the country. Lapsi has a soft whitish sour pulpy flesh and green to yellow skin and they are made into pickles, fruit tarts, and sour, spicy candy. The candy is very popular while the pickle is really tasty and something Nepali housewives take great delight in making at home and storing in airtight bottles for consumption all year round. Lapsi is available in the market between the months of October and January and this is the time when one will get to taste freshly prepared
lapsi pickle in many a Nepali home. Taken warm and newly prepared, the taste will linger on in your mouth for a long, long, time. Besides the above, there is also a unique way of processing lapsi fruits in Nepal whereby dried lapsi strips prepared from pulp, and ripened raw fruit peels, are converted into sweet and sour tasty items called ‘mada’.
As for the bel fruit, they grow wild in the Terai forests. It is also known as wood apple, elephant apple and monkey fruit. Elephant apple, because elephants just love this fruit! The fruit has a gray or yellow rind and the pulp is orange-colored, sweet, and thick. The fruit is eaten in two ways, fresh or dried. In the first case, the juice is strained to make a lemonade-like drink and sugar is added as per need. When the pulp is mixed with lime juice, it goes to make a refreshing sherbet. As for the dried fruit, they are sliced and left to dry in the sun. Then the hardened slices are put into a pan of boiling water and left to simmer down. The leaves and small shoots are eaten as salad greens. The bel fruit has been used in ayurvedic medicine for centuries and is believed to be good for the digestive system, the heart and memory as well as for relieving dryness of the eyes and common cold. It is also claimed to cure chronic constipation.
AS FOR THE OTHERS
As for other fruits grown in Nepal, apple, peach, plum, pear, pomegranate, walnut, apricot, persimmon and almond are the country’s main winter fruits. Similarly, banana, guava, pineapple, lychee, mango, orange, sweet orange, papaya, jackfruit, lemon and coconut are the primary summer fruits. Mango, banana, guava and lychee are the four most important tropical fruits of Nepal.
We met: Faitma who works at Sharjah government, feels unsastified with the meal service, and wants to eat healthy food during working hours. We surprize to notice: She is willing to contribute helping other members of society while getting healthy breakfast. It might mean: A synegetic connection among farmers, cafeteria owners, and low income workers are possible. It would be game change if: we create a sustainable food ecosystem where urban community members are connected and can take ownership of building happy living in the city