For the past year Food Agility has worked at refining our Design Central method into a powerful tool to draw diverse and innovative insights into a collaborative environment set at overcoming specific real-world challenges.
In March, we had the opportunity to extend this tool into an international setting, working with the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) to refine their strategies for future impact with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Four members of the Food Agility team were tasked to conduct and lead a series of four collaborative design workshops for ILRI, over the course of a two week stay in their Ethiopian campus in Addis Ababa.
In true design fashion, the team spent the first week immersing themselves in the local agricultural production and value chains. This involved several site visits, farm tours and smallholder producer interviews which were facilitated by members of the local ILRI team.
These proved extremely valuable in highlighting a number of key themes and areas for action that ILRI could implement as part of their future ambitions to improve the lives of small land holders across Africa and Asia through livestock. Some of these themes included: pest and disease mitigation, access to safe and reliable inputs such as feed, financial literacy and record keeping, quality-controlled value chains and high quality breeding programs.
The second week was then spent building on these insights and adding many more to the future scope of ILRI, through a series of four commodity-based workshops (red meat, dairy, poultry, swine) over the space of four days.
The outcomes from each workshop were a set of well defined challenges to overcome, a series of #Massive predictions for the future of ILRI's success in addressing these challenges come the year 2030, and a series of first-step MVP innovations that may lead the ILRI team to new discoveries on their 'better lives through livestock' journey.
It was an extremely eye-opening experience for all involved, and managing the dynamic Design Central process in this new context similarly delivered eye-opening learnings for our touring team. Above all we took away great confidence in the power of the empathy-led methodology, and look forward to continuing our work with game changing international organisations such as ILRI.