August 22, 2018

Open Source Workshop Toolkit: Technology Innovation for International Development (Zeer Pot)

Few have experienced the unique blend of pains and joys that afflict designers of technology for developing world applications. Now, a hands-on simulation offers that sweet frustration in practice. Four experts in global development technology have created an open source toolkit that provides digital resources for leading a workshop; it immerses unsuspecting participants in the entire development innovation process.

The simulation challenges participants to solve a problem with, and for, residents of the imaginary country of Coratania. The experience is brought to life through creative storytelling, physical prototyping (materials list provided), and guided group reflection. Once briefed, teams of newly minted product designers must prevent the rot of produce by designing an evaporative cooler called a Zeer Pot. While building their prototypes, the teams are hampered by true-to-life obstacles. Some have misleading or incomplete information; the problem is poorly framed; materials, time, and money are scarce; the donor and other characters are unreasonable; competition with frenemies is fierce; and, what may be most challenging for engineers, they have to navigate the fields of marketing and communications. The workshop is, after all, subtitled “The Zeer Pot of Enlightenment And Frustration.”

The experience puts the ‘fun’ back into ‘design fundamentals.’ It is recommended for conferences, classrooms, businesses and other places where practitioners or students gather. The simulation is hands-on, holistic, immersive, memorable, and transferable. In early versions, participants have rated it highly as they literally rolled up their sleeves, laughed, cried, and learned as much from each other as from the facilitators.

The workshop’s creators are Anne Dare at US Agency for International Development (USAID); David Fields at National Peace Corps Association (NPCA); Khanjan Mehta at Lehigh University; and Alex Moseson at Purdue University. The creators wish to thank Brian Bingham at USAID; Matt McCambridge at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and Kurt Richter at Michigan State University (MSU).

This is a living resource that the creators will update. Please leave your feedback and suggestions for improvement in the comments below.

Toolkit download

Click the links below to download compressed folders of text instructions and resources, presentation slides, and graphics for props.

Simulation-TIID Behind the Scenes (downloads a compressed folder of the contents below)

  1. Simulation Guide
  2. Materials List
  3. Property Sign
  4. Character cards
  5. Graphic Assets

Simulation-TIID Stage Materials (downloads a compressed folder of the contents below)

  1. Slides
  2. Printable currency
  3. Coratania fact sheet
  5. Consultant agreement
  6. Consultant NDA
  7. Score sheet
  8. First place award poster

License: Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Attribute to, “Zeer Pot Simulation 2017 by Dare, Fields, Mehta, Moseson et al.”

Mandela Washington Fellows conduct the workshop at Purdue University (2017)

Leave a Reply

Join a global community of changemakers.

Become A Member