Furahiday at BRCK

matatus at Ngong
If you ask me, Furahiday is one of the best days for me here at BRCK. It is a day where everyone gets a hands-on experience with users of the Moja Free WiFi out in the field. This is a learning experience for many of us. This quarter's aim was to interact with users, commuters, drivers, and touts, know their frustrations, and tell new users about Moja Free WiFi.
 BRCK Girls in the CBD.


Each team comprised two individuals whose job was to interview commuters, drivers, and touts and also ensure that the devices in the matatus were online. Conducting user interviews is no easy task; it requires patience and discipline. Seeing people from BRCK interviewing users is a humbling experience. I have previously learnt that the key to getting good user feedback is approaching the interview in a relaxed manner. This makes the interviewee feel more comfortable relating with you. Creating that rapport allows an easier communication flow with the interviewee. This particular Furahiday, I partnered up with Jimmy. We had some engaging conversations with the drivers in “Sheng” (Kenyan urban language). Their feedback was enlightening. They shared their pain points and expectations.The experience was eye-opening in a way that I really got to relate to how some people live, appreciate their thoughts, and how they can be so efficient in their daily endeavours. I met Simon, a driver with a 16-year-old son who is still in high school. Simon was frustrated. He felt like he was not living up to his expectations in terms of providing for his family. He earns a meager salary as a driver and has to work two jobs in order to provide for his family. He knows his son would benefit immensely from being able to do research on school projects if he had internet access, but he is not able to afford that. I couldn’t help but try to figure out ways in which free access of internet, even in public spaces, can help optimize their lives. At the end of the day the question that kept ringing in my head was “What is lacking?" I think that’s a good starting point!
Mark at work

The Big Takeaway

I must admit that I previously did not understand what empathy really was until I got to interact with real users. Sometimes we build services, forgetting that the end user is that “mama mboga” who feels left out by the global economy or that “matatu driver” who feels alienated in the digital world. In other words, we forget about empathy, and that is why, as BRCK, it is our role to make sure that such people are not left out. What better way to do this than have the team out in the field so that they too can understand and know who we are designing for.
Erik in a shoe market
And who said just because we are working we can’t have fun? Erik our CEO, whose known to be a pro when it comes to taking great photos, was spotted at a shoe market and he didn’t have a choice but to smile for the camera.

Written by sheilazubeda

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