Soli Learning Platform
How might we use technology to provide smallholder farmers with the tools they need to achieve competency, connectedness, and confidence in their work?
I worked with the design firm Tomorrow Partners to tackle a large-scale project aimed at upskilling smallholder farmers in India through an app-based learning platform and wraparound services.
We began with a robust design research process to understand the customer segmentation of farmers in rural India. Because of the pandemic, we facilitated and trained a team of locally-based researchers to lead interviews and report back their findings. From this, we created a detailed customer segmentation, looking at topics like adoption of technology, access to networks of information, access to markets and infrastructure, and a general open mindset to learning new processes.
We decided to focus on what we called the Optimistic Farmer - a farmer persona that was curious about new processes and open to incorporating technology into their work, but still operating at a relatively small scale without deep networks of information.
Our model was envisioned as a wraparound farmer offering that would provide up-front assets in the form of crop starters, cows, or other bundled needs. The app-based Soli platform, working in partnership with support teams on the ground, would provide farmers with educational support to ensure that their uptake of new production would be successful.
The core of the MVP version of the app was what we called “Guided Learning Programs” (GLPs). These could come in small, medium, and large sizes to accommodate the different levels of complexity of possible learning areas. Different scales of GLPs also varied in their incorporation of in-person trainings, in their levels of synchronous communication with instructors, and in their level of cohort-building activities.
The app structure was designed to allow for both guided learning lessons as well as an exploratory section reserved for more open-ended or question-based search.
Our user journey for a farmer began as they heard about the app, continuing as they decided to sign up and download it, explored and then enrolled in a guided learning program, earned “Solisikka” points, took part in a moderated marketplace, and eventually received skills certifications and additional connections to buyers.
We then built this journey out into a detailed service blueprint for the full customer- and partner-facing components of the offering for MVP, as well as a road map to get to launch. I worked with an interaction designer for this work but did not directly create the screen designs for this app.
Credit: Tomorrow Partners