Moagem Maravilha (Wonder Mill)


I worked in a team with Ryan Takasugi, Jackie Rotman, and Nabil Mansouri, for six months on a design project in Stanford's Design for Extreme Affordability class, in partnership with Technoserve. We redesigned the maize milling service (an essential process in producing corn flour, a staple food) in rural Mozambique using the design thinking methodology (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test). We conducted need finding in Mozambique, and created a business plan for our final iteration as well as tested our ideas in the field. Further project details here.


For the first two months of our project, we researched the history and culture of Mozambique. Our post-it's, ideas, photos, and maize-related items saturated our working space. We hypothesized issues surrounding maize milling using the design brief given by partner Technoserve.
During spring break, we brought prototypes to rural Mozambique to test, including initial ideas around better individual maize transportation to and from maize mills and creating community centers around the mill.
We gained an understanding of everyday life and habits of the people in the outskirts of Nampula.
We conducted thorough user research and investigation of the maize economy by visiting numerous maize mills and interviewing many people.
After returning back to Stanford, we honed in on an insight that Mozambicans lacked economic options, which we could help with by reinventing the core business model to benefit both business owner and customer. We put together experience prototypes to test this idea.
I used Sketchup to mock up variations of our newly designed mill storefront and customer flow.
In addition to prototypes, we created storyboards for various scenarios to brainstorm and commuicate our ideas.
This flow summed up our final solution. A customer would come into the mill with her maize and be able to immediately leave, taking home any mix of flour, cash, and goods.
We created a business plan for our final solution as well, laying out the economics and feasibility of our proposed model. We received a Social E grant from Stanford to continue research and test our model in Mozambique during the summer of 2012, after which we handed the project over to Technoserve.