Project Everest

Re-evaluating Weekly Goals for SoCon

After passing the halfway point for the SoCon Team in Fiji, we decided some of our goals required re-evalution after encountering some ‘blocks’ (see Blocks for SoCon). Our original goals can be found (see SoCon’s February direction) on Crowdicity, but meetings with stakeholders and workshop attendance requires a new strategy to be implemented coming into the latter half of the project. Our main focus now is working towards ensuring the longevity of SoCon and preparing to position stakeholders to come on board with this initiative in the coming months.



Original Goal: 100 customers, $1200 revenue.

Revised Goal: 30 customers, plan for growth.


Explanation: Our initial goal for the month was to provide workshops to 100 people through our main stakeholder, SPBD (South Pacific Bank of Development). We soon realised this was unrealistic as SPBD was more focused on preparing for their awards night than organising workshops and did not have the capacity to confirm attendees with the number of employees they had. More critically, they found that the amount of people coming through our workshops was dwindling, since in January was the peak time of year for applicants to request a $6000 loan.


Since this goal existed to prove product market fit, and ensure the build-measure-learn cycle, we used the feedback of January and our own feedback to improve the modules. What we ended up focussing on was improving the method of receiving feedback as well - since we wanted to be sure the modules could deliver a positive impact. To make the way we receive feedback more scalable, we also improved the process of filling out surveys. We simplified the language, and made the scales consistent from 1-10, as well as encouraging individuals to complete the forms by themselves, rather than through a facilitator - because of the bias this induces. One area of feedback we’ve worked hard on is having an extra worksheet emailed out which is designed to allow a student to directly apply the lesson content to their own business.

A New Direction


Original Goal: Gain accreditation through Fiji Higher Education Commission (FHEC)

Revised Goal: Finalise modules and consult academics.

Clarifying direction of the project has becomes one of the most important areas for SoCon this month. Our stakeholder meetings, particularly regarding accreditation with Universities, have suggested our modules need further consolidation and possibly assistance from academics to be accredited. Last week, our meeting with FHEC and David from the Technical College of Fiji outlined the requirement for a more formal module creating approach. It was immediately suggested that SoCon modules - being made by students and with a current community based focus - would be unsuitable to run alongside the technical college at this point in time. In order for a set of workshops to do this, they had to go through the proper accreditation process - as the Technical college is an educational institution that could only offer courses that were properly recognised. For now, until scale has been achieved, the accreditation process will not be pursued this month, or until adequate resources have been gathered to fund the time, money and educational expertise that the accreditation process requires.



Original Goal: Hire two interns to run workshops, trialling up to five.

Revised Goal: Have one facilitator/translator attend workshops.

A big goal for February was the establishing of an internship programme to allow SoCon to operate outside of the four months Project Everest operates in country. The idea of having educated locals who spoke Fijian, and Hindi, and English was very attractive to us because we noticed a significant language barrier when delivering our workshops. We advertised the position on our Facebook page and community notice boards but the leads generated either didn’t match our criteria, or failed to turn up to interviews. We will continue to advertise through these channels to at least secure a person to attend as a translator, if not to facilitate some translation as well.

Our new approach is to approach stakeholders such as Fiji National University with the aim to integrate our internship into one of their business courses. We have contacted these universities and done considerable research into existing internship programmes, so that we are in a position to properly suggest how interns could be supplied by the university to facilitate SoCon workshops. This is done by looking into curriculum, but also looking at the process to attain credit for students who could possibly attend SoCon workshops as a part of a subject, or as a co-curricular activity.


edited on Feb 19, 2018 by Christopher Lawn

Georgia Hurst Feb 15, 2018

Hi guys, sounds like you're making some great progress! Just wondering if for your extra worksheet that you're emailing out, are you marking those worksheets?

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Christopher Lawn Feb 18, 2018

Hi Georgia, thanks for the feedback! The worksheets we've made feature more open-ended questions focusing on the participants' own businesses, so there's no real 'right' or 'wrong' answer. It's mainly a thinking exercise for them.

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Georgie Scott Feb 16, 2018

Hi Christopher,
I would love to see a copy of the survey you are using for feedback, as referred to in this post (please attach). Fijians often opt to not provide honest feedback as they do not wish to offend. Their culture of hospitality means that constructive criticism can be lost.
Is there a reason the feedback is given in written form rather than verbally? The reason I ask this is because our FarmEd MVP - written consultancy reports, faced various difficulties in that many Fijians were not willing to read through it. They preferred being verbally and visually shown how to implement the advice given. With that being said, the report was extremely content heavy, something that I am assuming is not the case with your surveys.
Awesome to read all about the progress that SoCon is making!

Reply 1

Christopher Lawn Feb 18, 2018

Hi Georgie, I'm happy to PM you a copy of our feedback. It definitely is a challenge to collect it, however we really need a translator for gathering verbal feedback because we have not found it to be as effective as written.

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