Project Everest

[Proposal Fiji July 19] Sustainable Fuel – Ideas to Solve Issues

After reading through the handover document, I have came up with a few ideas to address the issues the previous team faced in Fiji.

Firstly, the biggest problem it seems is that manufacturing the latest iteration of the Buka Dragon is too expensive. I agree with the suggestion that metal should be pre-cut overseas then shipped to Jacks of Fiji to produce the stove. Production must remain in Fiji as this increases the reputation of the business. To decrease costs further, the design of the stove should be optimised so that out of a single sheet of metal, a large percentage is used after it is cut and minimal amounts are wasted. This will take some creativity to get everything to fit just right while also ensuring the finished product will be functional. Also, maybe we should seek to purchase recycled metal since this might be a cheaper, more environmentally friendly option. However, if we do decide to outsource material overseas, a customs broker will need to be hired to handle the customs clearance. This will add another cost to production. 

Secondly, I believe that there needs to be greater brand awareness. Increasing brand awareness on social media, where the business is based and in rural areas will increase more trust in the product and business – from all stakeholder points of view. Manufacturers will be convinced that a relationship with PEV is secure into the future, sales agents will be confident that the units they purchase will sell easily (they will need to do less convincing), customers will believe in the product enough to purchase it and the bank may reconsider and partner with PEV. How will we increase brand awareness? I think on social media, we need to start running paid ads. Ads that specifically target people who have an influence in Fiji (those with high incomes or those in positions of influence). When these people adopt our product, others will be inspired to do the same. Given the product is targeted towards low income consumers, I think PEV should also educate people on the benefits of using the stove (I'm not sure if this has already been done before by previous groups or not). People are generally accustomed to the way they do things despite there being greater benefits of adopting a different approach. Hence, better communication needs to be implemented. My last suggestion to improving brand awareness is to maybe do free trials with the stove. Once the free trial period is over, people may purchase the unit or return it. It is hoped that through the benefits they experience, they will end up purchasing the units.

The third and last issue I will address is the Facebook Chatbot. It is evident from my reading that it has been hard to convince sales agents of the process of using the Chatbot. My solution to this problem is to turn the Chatbot off during the first week or two of the July program. Have someone instantly respond to every message sent through to the page in a manner similar to the chatbot yet with a unique human element. Let agents and retailers become familiar with the system of sending a message to the FB page. Having a human element increases the chances of them adopting the technology. Once people become comfortable using facebook to order new units, then turn the chatbot back on. I think getting vendors to go straight to using the chatbot may be an uncomfortable experience for them. Given the fact that operations are at a small, manageable rate now, it would not be a bad idea to do something that isn't scaleable like this. A popular example of this is when the air bnb founders realised that people weren't booking the listings, they went out themselves and took better photos of the accommodation. After they did this, people started to trust the website and bookings increased significantly.

That's all I have to suggest for now! I'm keen to get started in July.

Andre :)


edited on 16th March 2019, 05:03 by Andre Werror

Andrew Vild 9 months ago

Hi Andre,

Really appreciate you taking the initiative to put your thoughts and ideas down on this front. I have put together some feedback and food for thought below, if you are interested in having some more involvement in the project over this semester in order to prep for the best possible outcome over July, let me know.

- re keeping manufacturing in Fiji for reputation. What is more important, local employment and reputation OR decreased costs of stove that enables it to be more accessible to more people and thus the social benefit associated with that increased access
- paid ads - open to this, however a clear framework would need to be created (... proposed experiment maybe?) that would define what outcomes we should expect as a result of the money put in. Throwing money at problems is usually the first suggestion - the best test for whether it is worthwhile is asking "would I be prepared to put my personal money on the line and would I get the return on investment?".
- education - 100% on board. what level of education do you think is required? A landing page, a quiz that qualifies their need for the product, a downloadable e-book, a video?
- chatbot - agree we need to build community trust. Again, I would recommend this going into an experiment format so it is something we can assess whether it is a priority in the grand scheme of things.

Not sure how to write experiments? Have a look at a few of the other posts as example templates, if you would like more guidance, let me know and happy to run a workshop or create a video tutorial.

Keep the activity up!

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kristen lazarus 7 months ago

WOW this is awesome work and initiative Andre! You definitely make some great points - I especially like your ideas about education and the ChatBot. As Andrew commented, we can put some of these ideas into experiment form and look at the viability of testing them in July. Looking forward to working with you, keep up the great work!

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