Sometimes Running A Business Can Be Easier With Less Available
A look into the success of Rikin Gandhi, who tackled this problem from a radically different angle with the creation of Digital Green. Digital Green is a non-governmental organization (NGO) that gives phones, handheld cameras and videography training to farmers from different rural villages all over India, enabling them to create low-cost, how-to videos on farming strategies and techniques.
The final step in his product creation wasFarmerbook, a social media platform that hosts the how-to videos and allows farmers from all over India to connect with one another. As with any typical farmer, they don’t have internet access, Digital Green also tours the country to offer local screenings.
Top-Down Approaches Don’t Solve Everything
The goal is to spread the rich knowledge that you possess. The hard parlt is finding the best way to help people to tap into that knowledge. Cheap technology, like smartphones and handheld video cameras, means lower production costs. The sometimes-out-of-touch authorities no longer have the monopoly on information.
In India, Digital Green has been far more successful than the existing government-sponsored program. In fact, when compared with the educational farming tools offered by the government, for every dollar spent, Digital Green has persuaded seven times as many farmers to adopt new practices.
Feedback Is Golden, Create More Connection
Listening to your customers is probably the most basic rule there is to know about marketing. How are you going to be selling your stuff without knowing what effect it has on the consumer? . But ask yourself if you are really open to hearing the needs of your clients, even if they may be about something you don’t normally do.
Sometimes we filter when we listen, having a preconceived notion of what our product is and how we can be of service, but new connections are made and new companies are launched when we listen openly. Gandhi offered the farmers a needed product — the videos — but he didn’t stop after the product was delivered. He listened and realized that the first question always asked was not about the farming techniques, but about who the farmers in the videos were. This is how Farmerbook came to be.
Try Double-Dipping Your Product
Look at where the product you already have could serve a different need. This is open source data collection.
Farmerbook was collecting all sorts of data about which farmers adopted different practices in which districts, valuable information for agricultural NGOs.
Now data collected by the project and Farmerbook is saving money for NGOs by tracking the effectiveness of the projects they manage and making appropriate, informed changes to those that aren’t working.
Sometimes Opportunities Disguise Themselves As Failure
Rikin Gandhi didn’t go to India to create Farmerbook or Digital Green, his intentions were to propose a biofuel business venture. He had no intention of building a video catalogue to help farmers.
He learned valuable lessons after failing. His eyes were open to learning about the culture of rural India, and even though his original purpose failed, he was exposed to something that led to success in another arena. In a country as large and diverse as India, it makes sense to connect those who live in similar climates and who speak the same language.
Gandhi wouldn’t have been able to help that problem if he hadn’t taken lessons from a failure and transformed them into the seeds for a truly breakthrough idea.
Source: Women 2.0