Human Centered Design Research Manager

Agriculture Product User & Market Evaluation

Human Centered Design Research Manager

 Overview: In rural Tanzania, basic productive equipment is expensive or unavailable due to poor electricity-grid penetration and a lack of financing for equipment purchase.  Examples include water pumps for irrigation, refrigerators for harvest storage, and more.  In order to bring the most impactful products to market, Simusolar is undertaking an evaluation of the need and opportunity for its irrigation pump, with the goal of understanding the best applications (in terms of crop type, soil, and farming practice), suitable regions, pricing / payment plans, partnerships, and the support required by farmers.  The HCD Research Manager will lead and largely carry out this analysis over 2-3 months, in collaboration with others on the team.

Project Scope: As noted above, the desired outcome is an understanding of the product’s best use-case(s) and early indications of product-market fit (the viability of this product having a viable business case). More specifically, we provide a non-exhaustive list of goals:

-       Analysis of produce categories, input and time requirements of each, local markets into which they sell, and the incremental income they afford;
-       Pricing plan assumption based on analysis of the potential income benefits of the product, partially validated through user surveys, sign-ups, and/or other means;
-       User profiles, perceptions of the problem & product, and needs in terms of materials and training;
-       A framework and plan for regional evaluation, with indications for at least two potential target regions to launch within Tanzania;
-       Identification and development of potential partnerships for product testing, (beta) customer recruitment, and training; SACCOs and Coops are two avenues to explore.
As noted above, the project is collaborative and the HCD Research Manager can expect support from the team on pricing and technology.  

Duration: 2-3 months initially; may be extended as needed.  Available to start immediately

Skills & Experience: There is not one background that would be effective for this project.  The following list captures what we believe will result in effective insights; we welcome alternative profiles with supporting justification:

-       User design research experience with a variety of client categories;
-       Field research experience, ideally in East Africa and/or an agricultural context;
-       Ability to structure and manage a project to completion, with margin for iterations as new information is received;
-       Ability to work independently with minimal oversight;
-       Outgoing and curious: able to engage anyone in conversation, regardless of background;
-       Bonus: Proficiency in Swahili (otherwise, a translator will be provided)
-       Bonus: Experience mapping value-chains in food and agriculture
-       Bonus: Experience working in a startup (or unstructured) environment
Opportunity: This product / service is a pioneering development, building off mobile money penetration and technology that allows equipment to be controlled remotely…in extremely remote regions.  The opportunity to shape a new product category with huge impacts on lower-income, rural families is huge.  As a growing company, there may also be long-term opportunities to join the team, depending on fit and financing.

Compensation: Commensurate with experience and the cost of living in Tanzania, the payment may be structured on a monthly basis with an initial 2-month commitment.  Simusolar will cover airfare to and from Tanzania and a 3-month business visa.  Support in identifying housing will also be provided, though rent costs will not be covered.  A conditional incentive bonus will also be provided for successful and timely completion.

About Us: Simusolar was founded in 2014 to provide energy access to off-grid communities in Sub-Saharan Africa.  We designs, distributes, and finances turn-key solar solutions for residential and commercial use.   Our founders have over 70 years combined experience in solar design, supply, and distribution, 10 years in the Tanzania rural off-grid space, and 10+ years in innovative finance.  Our mission is to improve the quality of life in rural East Africa through access to financing and solar powered equipment.

Job Email id: jobs(at)simusolar.com
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