By UNDP Peru Accelerator Labs
Innovate your Market: Digital Solutions for Food Markets (part two)
3 de Enero de 2023
In the first part of our blog we presented the learning path for the Innovate your Market project, for which the UNDP Peru Accelerator Lab developed a design thinking methodology that guided women entrepreneurs in two food markets in Lima, known as the Innova Warriors, and undergraduate students through the co-creation process of digital solutions for food markets in a pandemic context. What were our learnings? Which solutions did entrepreneurs and students reach? What’s next for Innovate your Market?
Besides the importance of trusting the process (which we mentioned in our previous post), what learnings we had as a Lab and what can we apply to future iterations of Innovate your Market and our frontier challenges in general?
- Innova Warriors as experts: Even though most of us know food markets as customers, the Innova Warriors are the sole experts on their users and the solutions that might or might not work for their market. This learning is closely related to the importance of not jumping to solutions before listening and understanding the perspective of those that experience the context that we’re analyzing.
- Structured and informal support: Innovate your Market’s learning path was built on an ongoing relationship of trust and support between the Innova Warriors and the UNDP Peru team, which gave us an opportunity to truly learn about their concerns and aspirations for the future.
- This structured support is complemented by a more informal and practical support from family members or friends that helped the Innova Warriors connect or lent their laptops or cell phones for the Zoom sessions. The UNDP Peru team also prepared videos and other learning materials on how to use technology and access the sessions.
- Immediately applicable tools: Our methodology had a six-week timeframe, but we emphasized concepts and tools that both Warriors and students could immediately apply to their daily lives, independently of the digital solutions that we could find by the end of the six weeks. For example, these included being user-centric, prototyping, and A/B testing. In other words, the process became valuable just by participating in it.
- The importance of acknowledgement and recognition: The Innova Warriors have been leaders of their respective markets way before Innovate your Market started. However, recognizing them as Innova Ambassadors, or focal points for digital transformation and the future of food markets, has been fundamental to ensure consistent involvement in the learning path and give a renewed push to the development of digital solutions.
Digital solutions and next steps
The design thinking process and the fruitful interaction between Warriors and students also allowed them to identify underlying issues and deeper needs, such as challenges in the markets’ governance and internal organization structures. Through collective analysis and prioritization, the selected pain points represented four complementary areas:
At the end of the process, the teams of Warriors and students presented user-centric solutions, in this case for first-time customers, regular customers, and other market entrepreneurs. These solutions were complementary among each other (just like the pain points that generated them) and built on previous advances made by the Peruvian Ministry of Production to close the digital gap found in food markets.
“Geo-Mercado” (Geo-market) and “Encuentra a tu casera” (Find your seller): Two tools to improve traffic in the market and locating entrepreneurs based on preference o product category (adaptable to different markets).
“Tu Casera Favorita” (Your favorite seller): Site with seller information and current offers and sales.
Tukasero.com: UX improvements for this existing website (designed and implemented by the Ministry of Production).
The four solutions will receive seed funding from the Innovate your Market platform, and in the upcoming weeks the Innova Ambassadors will be working on their development with support from an expert committee and the Accelerator Lab.
Since the Peru Accelerator Lab is part of the largest global learning network on sustainable development challenges, our team and the El Salvador Lab are also working together to connect women entrepreneurs in both countries to create a regional network of Warriors. In early 2022, this regional network will be kickstarted with three meetings where the Peruvian and Salvadorean Warriors will share experiences and learnings as leaders of organizations amid digital transformation processes. We expect more Labs to bring their countries into this Warrior network soon!
Do you know any stories of entrepreneurs navigating the digitalization process, either in food markets or other industries? We want to know more! Email us at email@example.com and help us enrich the network of women leading our country’s digital transformation.