Facing global development’s fear of failure
I thought this article was really interesting in presenting its western point of view of success. Coming from the East, my culture regards failure as something one should be ashamed of. If one has failed, then they had to do whatever they can to put on a façade or the impression that they had succeeded. Coming to the US at a young age definitely gave me a culture shock when I saw how failure is celebrated rather than concealed. I definitely see why we do fail fares in class now. I think that putting an emphasis on how we can improve on our failures is much more realistic and beneficial than looking at the 20% success stories.
I appreciated reading about this specific ambitious project, the reasons of failure, and the steps they took to come up from it. I think this is definitely what people need to read more of rather than only reading about major failures without context or reasons. Having this documentation on hand helps me think about my own project in this class and how it is extremely important to test with the end user, which is in our case (a farmer in a developing country).
The PlayPump: What went wrong?
Things that went wrong with the PlayPump definitely reminded me of how they did not follow the basic innovation principles. I see that they violated the first principle, which is to design with the user. They seemed like they did not understand their context very well and designed with lofty expectations. Another principle they broke is principle 7: “reuse and improve”. They did not use existing infrastructure or frameworks and merely relied on the idea that children at play would simply pump the water. To me, that definitely represents an ethical question of what they were thinking when they released this…
PlayPump ultimately sounds to me like it was designed by the lofty 1% silicon valley that does not understand the lack of resources and technology available in these countries.
A Blurry Vision: Reconsidering the Failure of the One Laptop Per Child Initiative
“Careful analysis about the culture and necessities of the children needs to be done in the countries before shipping the laptops. Laptops need to be customized to local traditions and customs, so that they are appropriate in their new context.”
This article perfectly points out my frustration with technology built in the West. Technology here is built only with a western mindset. There are very few research/HCI/psychology papers written about how to design technology for different cultures. This then has led the world into a cycle of globalization and americanization. There are already signs of people leaving their own culture in preference of American culture due to the insensitivities of this technology. It is not only a developing world problem but also a global issue that I even see happening in my country.