Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting award-winning projects and ideas from this year's Core77 Design Awards 2013. We will be featuring these projects by category, so stay tuned for your favorite categories of design! For full details on the project, jury commenting and more information about the awards program, go to Core77DesignAwards.com.
- Project Name: Clean Team
- Designers: IDEO.org + Unilever and Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP)
Clean Team is an affordable in-home sanitation system in Ghana that offers residents an alternative to unsanitary public latrines. Essentially, a portable toilet is delivered to customer homes and serviced three times a week. Families pay on an incremental basis.
- How did you learn that you had been recognized by the jury?
Clean Team was notified that we had been recognized for the Core77 Design Awards from IDEO.org's marketing and communications team.
- What's the latest news or development with your project?
Clean Team is rapidly scaling in Kumasi since the end of the pilot, with another 120 new Clean Team toilets installed just in the past month of July. The business has recently received a shipment of 1,000 new toilets and plans to have at least 1,000 total installed in homes by the end of the year, reaching out and providing improved sanitation solutions to over 7,000 Ghanaians. With scale, Clean Team is proud to maintain a positive customer experience. In the words of one of our clients: "Clean Team is hygienic, ensures privacy, safe and has provided me something to be boastful about as these days it is the only predictable and dependable service I get."
- What is one quick anecdote about your project?
When it came for prototyping, the IDEO.org design team arrived in Kumasi to test four toilet prototypes. Industrial designer, Danny Alexander, explains that "one of our concepts going into prototyping was a water flush toilet, similar to a high-end camping toilet. It had been the clear favorite in the drawings we shared earlier in the process. When we brought prototypes to the field, though, we realized very quickly that water flush toilets would do more harm than good."
After leaving water-flush and non-flush toilet prototypes in user's homes for a few nights, the team returned to check on the toilets. "All the water-flush toilets had overflowed--what a disaster!" Between that, the complexity of use, the lower capacity of the tank, and the need to use expensive water to flush their waste, users of water-flush toilets unanimously rejected them. Everyone wanted the simplicity of non-flush toilets. Had we not physically tested the toilet prototypes with users, though, we would have thought water-flush toilets were the answer!
- What was an "a-ha" moment from this project?
During the design process, WSUP, Unilever, and IDEO.org were driven by the fundamental belief that every family deserves a toilet. This project was as much about providing dignity as it was about providing clean sanitation for our clients. So one of our biggest a-ha moments came when thinking about our branding and business design strategy. Seeing as our product provided dignity for families, our brand had to follow suit. For this reason, Clean Team's business design was heavily structured around the strength of its service—following through with promises in a professional manner and making people the cornerstone of the design. To achieve this, we found that an important part of business development would entail Clean Team making an often stigmatized and undesirable job into an esteemed profession.
View the full project here.(more...)