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Eteaming With Developing Nations: Social Outreach With An Entrepreneurial Twist

Blanco, Mario and Pickar, Kenneth and Delgado, Luz Marina and Kranski, Jeff and Arce, Oscar and Herrera, Francoise and MacVean, Charles (2007) Eteaming With Developing Nations: Social Outreach With An Entrepreneurial Twist. In: 2007 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, June 24-27, 2007, Honolulu, HI.

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The World Bank estimates that over 2.8 billion people live in poverty, earning less than $2/day. Financial assistance alone has not been able to solve the problems generated by poverty in a sustainable way. We are testing the hypothesis that the teaching of product design principles together with basic entrepreneurship skills might be a way to provide longer-lasting solutions. These ideas are based on the premise that although cash might be the most pressing need of the poor, the most vital need is the acquisition of income generation skills. Major challenges arose in the initial testing stage, from the formidable physical and cultural distances that separate the design engineer/teacher from their intended customers in developing nations, to the lack of “ground truth” information to guide the design process. For this reason, over the past two years E105:, Product Design for the Developing World, a Development Engineering course at Caltech, has evolved to include e-Teams as an integral element in its curriculum. The e-Teams bring together students from the US and industrial design and agricultural students from a developing nation. The US engineering students contribute their fast prototyping and analytical problem solving skills while the foreign students contribute their familiarity with poorly defined markets and add cultural sensitivity to the e-Team designs. The students deal with strong constraints on product costs and pricing, evaluate the availability of local materials and the lack of manufacturing and product standards. The e-Team members work together through a variety of electronic communication technologies: Video-conferencing, video streaming, Instant Messaging, Internet telephony, e-mail and web-groups. These electronic tools, which play a role at various levels in the design process, are briefly discussed.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
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Additional Information:© 2007 ASEE.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20161122-165108350
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ID Code:72269
Deposited On:23 Nov 2016 05:13
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 16:16

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