[music] We have given you a number of project assignments that involve gaining marketplace insight. So it's important to, ah, cover some issues that relate to how to learn about subsistence contexts, as that is a central theme in what we are trying to do. In terms of gaining marketplace insights, it's important to understand how people think, how they feel, and what it means in terms of conducting research in these contexts. One of the things to do is to have very simple tasks, and to show people products and advertisements and so on, so that it's very real for them. It's important to use very straightforward language, to be realistic in what you ask people to do, and it's important not to have them read or write, as well, and to administer the research and administer the survey yourself. One of the things to keep in mind is to not make people anxious when they participate in this kind of work. Uh, you may remember the last time you took an exam when you were in school or you are in school. Uh, you may have felt very anxious because you were in this setting and you were worried about whether you got the right answer and so on. Now, you don't want to put participants in that frame of mind. Because you are more literate than them, you are of a higher social status, and you're asking them a number of questions. So one of the first concerns they may have is whether you are testing them. One of the first concerns they may have is whether they gave you the right answer. So it's very important to put people at ease and let them know that they are the experts and that you are there to learn from them. So that's one of the first things I would say when I'm having a conversation or doing an interview in these kinds of contexts. In terms of feeling and emotional considerations, it's very important to have a sincere conversation. I can use a lot of big words to talk about the research we do, but ultimately that's all it comes down to, have a sincere conversation. awoid judging people, awoid exploiting them, awoid making them feel anxious, and be genuinely interested in what they have to say. That's the key to doing research in these kinds of contexts. In terms of conducting your research, it's very important to try to work with different organizations who can give you access to people who are at the bottom of society. Uh, you have to respect them just the way you would respect anybody in any setting in terms of doing research, by ensuring their privacy, uh, and also you have to make sure and administer your research verbally and not assume that people can read or write. In terms of your own attitude, it's very important to learn from people in this environment and immerse yourself in the environment. It's also important not to think about what people cannot do because they are low-literate, but what they do and what they can do, and emphasize their strengths rather than their weaknesses. We all have strengths, we all have weaknesses, and that's why the mutual learning mindset is very important, uh, in order to try to understand what expertise they bring and what expertise you bring as well. So what are some generic issues in gaining marketplace insights? When you're dealing with subsistence or poverty, you get what you see; what you see is what you get. People don't have the time for pretensions. Secondly, don't try to act like you are poor. Don't try to be somebody you are not. People will see through that. Just be yourself, and that's very important, and just be authentic in who you are. Be yourself, be genuine, be authentic. When you don't know about something, ask. It's very important not to act like you do. It's very important to ask and find out if you don't know about something. Don't try to maintain a distance. Don't be status conscious. Try to develop that human relationship. Remember, it's that human relationship that blurs everything else when it's all about survival, so try to build that human relationship. Don't go in there being very task-oriented, trying to get what you want. That's not the point. I think the most important point is to engage in a sincere conversation and make sure that the people you interview, the people you spoke to, felt like they gained something out of it. Seek out the powerless, and this is very difficult to do. When you go to an NGO, they're going to take you on a tour, and sometimes you may not see the people who are at the bottom of the hierarchy. So it's important to try to sit down and talk to people, to talk to homemakers, to talk to, uh, farmers and so on who are at the bottom of the hierarchy. When you're engaging in this kind of work, respect, empathy and sincere listening are very critical. It's important to listen to peoples' stories rather than just go through a laundry list of questions. Each person is a story, and a very rich story. People open up their entire lives to us, and they are so generous, and in the end they enrich us in ways that we cannot describe. There have been people who have told us things that they say they only tell God in a temple or in a church and so on. They've shared issues like that with us, simply because they believe that we were there to understand from them and we were there to create a solution that would help them. Resist the temptation to exploit, which means trying to confirm what you already believe in, or which means gaining at the cost of a respondent. A woman tells me her entire life and how she became an entrepreneur, and at one point in the interview she stops and says "I became an entrepreneur because "my husband became dysfunctional," and you can tell how emotional that particular moment is. It's very important not to exploit that moment. It's very important not to keep dwelling on that issue, but to move on, uh, unless that person is willing to talk some more about it. Uh, remember that, you know, you are more literate, there are a number of ways that you can exploit the situation, and it's extremely important to keep one priority above all else, which is the welfare of the person you are talking to. Make sure that that person has a good experience, and if you do that, you would have gained a lot of insights as well. So what are some larger lessons? Do the groundwork, invest time to understand the local context, and develop appropriate methods. Don't go in thinking it's going to be a survey or an interview. Change the methods as you go along. Sometimes, as I mentioned earlier, it's good to observe people shopping and then ask them some questions. Sometimes it's good to sit down and have them take you through their entire life. Sometimes it's good just to observe without asking questions. Maybe it's how somebody is cooking, and so on. When you think about this kind of work, think about the longer term. Don't just think this interview and what am I going to get out of it. Think about building a relationship with that community. Think about, uh, what that means and what you are going to give back. When you do research, people are sharing with you, they are giving you something. Think about how you're gonna give back to that particular community. Develop diverse skills through local partnerships. Different people bring different skillsets. Some NGOs will be able to give you access to communities. Some may be able to help you, to observe and to interview and so on, so try to develop diverse skills by building partnerships. Understand the motivations of the people you work with. Everybody is in it for something, and it's important to understand what that is, just as we are in it for something. This is extremely important in these very unfamiliar settings. What is it that that person is in it for? What are you in it for? Articulate it, so they know who you are and they know what to expect from you. Communicate your motivations, "Where do I come from? "What am I in it for?" So when I do research I'm very clear about how I am. I'm there to do research, but I'm also there because I would like to learn from the research and give back to the community by designing marketplace literacy, but I'm not going to make a promise I cannot keep. I'm going to tell them what I generally do. Sometimes when you leave a community, people will say "Please help us with this or with that," and these are very genuine pleas for help, and if I cannot do it, I have to be honest. I'm not going to make false promises. Uh, when you implement your research, engage in a healthy disbelief, and try to refine your methods as you go along. So don't believe everything you hear, and don't believe that you have learned something right away. Be s-be skeptical and try to refine your methods, try to understand things from different angles. Just to give you an example, things like income and age are very difficult for people to accurately tell you about, so you have to try to find different ways to try to get at that information. Invest a lot in training people to do research and in building relationships as well. When you conduct an interview, engage in a conversation, not a question-answer session. Make respondents feel like they know more about the topic, because they really do know more about the topic. Let them speak; be an attentive listener. It's okay if there are silences. awoid leading questions, awoid yes/no kinds of questions, but rather use a few broad questions and ask things like "What was it like to do this?" or "How did you feel?" awoid "why" questions when you can. Rather ask people to tell you about a time when they did something. The reason to awoid "why" questions is also to try not to make the respondent the researcher and answer the questions that you are trying to answer. It's better to have them tell you their story. When you start off the interview, start with some, uh, general things like telling people what the topic is about. I-i think it's also important here to tell people that, uh, they really have the answers and there are no right or wrong answers. It's important to put them at ease and get them to understand that it's their expertise and their experience that we are there to learn from. When you start out your interview, start with a broad question, "Maybe you could start by "telling me about the stores you buy products from," "Are there some stores that you like more than others?" "Why do you go to that particular store?" "What do you buy?" "Tell me about the last time you bought from that store?" That's a very concrete way to ask a question, the last time you did that something. "Think about the shopping experience. "Can you describe what was noteworthy about the situation? "How did it happen? "What happened?" and so on. "Tell me about how you buy things. "Let us start with your last trip to a shop, "last trip to a grocery store. "What are some things that you bought?" "What are some other stores that you go to?" and so on. "For each product that you bought, how did you buy it? "Did you look at price? "Did you look at size?" and so on. Now here is one principle to keep in mind when you ask questions like this. It's always important, I think, to ask the broader question, like the last trip to the grocery store, and let people tell you which store they went to and what they did. Once they tell you, it's useful to ask the next question, which is "What are some products you bought?" Now, as they describe each of the products that they bought, let them tell you how they bought. You don't lead them, you don't ask them a specific question until they tell you how they bought. Now, once they describe how they bought, then you can ask the more specific question about "Did you check price? "Did you check for other attributes?" and so on. So this is very important to do. Going back to our quote from concrete thinking, it's important for the respondent to tell me how he or she buys before I ask the person a specific question about how they trade off price and size when they buy bread. In other words, let people give you an open-ended answer before you ask for something more specific. Here is another example of a broad question, and this is about budgeting. Perhaps you can start by asking for an example of the last time somebody ran out of money, "How did it feel to run out of money? "What happened?" and then they can talk about their budget, what their typical monthly expenses are, they can talk about how they buy in installment, what is the interest they pay, wh-a-and so on. In terms of your field research, think about whom you want to talk to, what you want to observe, what items, products, advertisements you need, what roles you'll play, what your overall interview plan is, and what stimuli you need that you can show to people as well. You can even show them some ideas, some concepts for solutions, and try to get feedback as well. In terms of your research, try to gain broad insights about life circumstances and the community in general rather than right away narrowing into your product or the need that you are focused on. You have to understand how that need interacts with other needs. I-it may be food, it may be water, it may be sanitation. When people are deprived on multiple fronts, all of these different needs get interconnected, and so it's important to get a broader picture, and then you can funnel into one aspect, maybe one need that you're focusing on, but it's important to step back as well and see how that need plays out, uh, in terms of a number of other needs as well. So if you are interested in how people cook, you can't just focus on the stove that they use. You have to understand where the stove is, if it's in the floor of a hut, if there are children running around it, how they cook, what kind of food they cook, how they cook as it relates to the rest of the houses in the community, and what the larger context is in terms of energy and so on. It's very important to understand all of these different elements of the larger context. Finally, keep a diary, because your thoughts are extremely important as you go along.