Monkey Mayhem - Design Process
“From ideation to implementation, this blog will look into the design process involved.”
15th November 2019 - Design for Need, Project, Monkey Mayhem, Design Process
By Finn Brownbill and Matt McClumpha
In this blog we’ll be discussing the journey we took to collaboratively solve the problem for ‘Monkey Mayhem’. Every design process is different depending on the context of the project, so we won’t go into the intricacies of every single step we took, instead we’ll be highlighting some of the most important steps we took in the design process. This will be our final blog on the ‘Monkey Mayhem’ project so make sure to check out our first blog if you haven’t already.
One of the most essential and exciting steps we took in the design process was ideation. Here we began to open up the design brief and discover all the different variables that affect the problem, this was done through various means of research. From there we were able to identify different insights and opportunities, which formed the basis for many ideas. For example, did you know that up to 93% of the rhesus macaque’s diet can be from human sources, this insight lead us to develop ideas surrounding creating a specific feeding area for wildlife on the farms, however this idea was later scrapped as it could potentially encourage wildlife to enter other areas of the farms. The key to success in this step was good communication between us and RUCHI, who provided us with a greater understanding into the problem and feedback from the community.
During the design process prototyping was used to explore and test different concepts. This aided in the ideation stage as concepts were improved, combined or discarded altogether. Prototyping also ensured that the potential solution was practical and technically sound. The majority of the prototyping was done in the UK when applicable, the most notable of which was testing different wind turbine designs. During these tests one of the wind turbines spun at such a high speed that the tin can be used to create the sound flew off, almost hitting a fellow co-worker! This proved how vital prototyping was, as not only were we able to select the most efficient wind turbine but it highlighted a problem which we weren't even aware of before, leading us to design an improved clamping system for the tin can.
In this section I’ll be skipping ahead to the manufacture stage of the design process. If you would like to hear more about how the community was involved and what we learned, please see our previous blog: learning and listening. During the manufacture stage it was integral that the final prototype could be built and maintained locally, ensuring the design would be long lasting. While in India, we discovered that the main workshops available were metal, which had access to a lathing and welding equipment. We also discovered that there were many hardware stores, supplying various materials and fixtures. With this knowledge, we altered the design according to the manufacturing equipment and materials available. The final prototype was made from six low-cost local materials and cost a total of 800INR (£9.50) to manufacture, the cost of which could be reduced if more were made using batch production.
One of the finishing stages of the design process was ‘implementation’, together with the help of the community and RUCHI we were able to place the final prototype in an area where there had been sightings of the monkeys funnelling into the farm from the forest. After some tests and improvements the final prototype was up and running, much to the communities joy, a member of the community I met stated that “We are very happy that someone has finally taken the initiative to solve this problem and we believe this is a positive start to solving the bigger picture and hopefully more changes will take place now.” Further discussions with the community revealed that they understood how the prototype worked and that they were happy to maintain and provide feedback about the prototype, understanding that it will take time to see what needs to be improved with the design.
It was amazing to see the community take ownership of the design so quickly, even stating that “We are more than happy to improve the design ourselves and test out different sounds to see what will work. Once people see the wind turbine working, this will motivate them to improve the design.” The community was involved every step of the way in the design process, this was crucial to the projects success. By doing so, the community could see the benefit of the solution leading them to take the initiative to improve and maintain the design long term. Proving the success of the prototype, this may hopefully lead other communities to implement the design, which can easily be made and distributed locally.
And there you have it, some of the highlights of the design process for ‘Monkey Mayhem’. I hope you enjoyed this blog series and if you have any questions or want to find out more please don’t hesitate to contact us via email. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have as soon as possible.
Finn and Matt
Both founders Matt and Finn occasionally join forces to write articles together, like this one. Because two heads are better than one. Enjoy!