Product development in low income markets : Identifying user needs and approaches in design in a low income market, with focus on the water filtration market in Malaysia

University essay from KTH/Produkt- och tjänstedesign; KTH/Produkt- och tjänstedesign

Author: Natalia Lindgren; Julia Hede Mortensen; [2018]

Keywords: ;

Abstract: The water situation in Malaysia is not ideal. Due to the unsatisfactory quality of the piped water, the demand of domestic water filters in Malaysia is increasing. At the same time, 40 percent of the Malaysian population are described as a low income group who are especially vulnerable against increases in living costs. Developing products that meet the needs of consumers who are constrained in resources is vital for straining the growth of poverty and reaching the global SDGs. To ensure that the access to clean water is achievable for all, regardless of income group, established methodologies within product development in emerging markets with low income target groups needs to be identified. The intention with this study is to identify and evaluate some of the existing models and methods within this area through thorough research and a case study. The main focus is to analyse the methodologies for identifying user needs, as well as the approaches in design and conceptualization, when developing products for the lower income group. An extensive literature study has been made, in combination with interviews from Engineers without borders, Sweden. The results were that no models or methods were frequently used in their different projects but every project was individually structured. These results were then applied in a field study in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. During the field study, a market analysis took place and a new product concept was shaped. The project was in collaboration with the company Blöndal, a water purification company in Kuala Lumpur. Their point of use water filter called Källa 8 was further developed, guided by the identified models and methods gained from the pre-development research. Before the development of Källa 8, the user needs were identified through surveys, in-home visits and shorter interviews. To translate the identified user want and needs to product attributes, a House of Quality matrix was used and worked as a basis of discussion during the conceptualization of the new Källa 8. Throughout the conceptualization, the mindset originating from the theory of Frugal Innovation was constantly present. The result of the market analysis clearly pointed to a too high of a price of the product, but stating that the already existing design of the product was both attractive and important for the lower income group. These attributes were later realized by foremost changing the configuration of the piping in the product. The purpose was to make the filters easily changeable, sparing the users the service cost of changing the filters. This was done without interfering with the most valued features of the product.

  AT THIS PAGE YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE ESSAY. (follow the link to the next page)