I think Mwanaharusi’s story raises some great questions about the impact of the human-centered design and co-creation movements in the context of development.
We usually think about the impact of innovation in terms of stuff: better and cheaper products reaching the hands of more users who need them.
But there’s something else going on here. This is about more than a great palm oil press, and it’s about more than the time it frees up for women to do other things. I’d argue that there’s a deeper story here: something about how the process of design — how being a designer — can be transformational all on its own. How can we capture that?
Maybe a larger business could have brought a palm oil press to Morogoro. But they didn’t; Mwanaharusi did. Does that make a difference?