CONNECTING KENYAN CONSUMERS WITH AFRICAN ARTISANS
Fjord and Accenture Development Partnerships (ADP) joined forces on a Kenyan adventure, designing a user-centric, go-to-market strategy and a prototype for a new service at Kenyan start-up, Lynk.
The two-year-old Nairobi enterprise successfully bridges the gap between informal workers and thousands of Kenyan consumers for whatever job they need done (imagine a crossover between Task Rabbit and Etsy). Lynk works with informal workers in jobs ranging from carpenters and furniture makers to hairdressers and chefs.
Fjord and Accenture helped Lynk to scale its offering by designing a platform that would offer customers a compelling and useful way to buy furniture and engage the services of workers and artisans.
Our ambition was two-fold: one, to design and test a new platform to help improve the connection between local workers and customers, minimize pain points and lay a foundation for delightful experiences; and, two, define the operational framework and equip the Lynk team with tools and processes to continue the design work on their own.
Lynk has a highly skilled product development team but lack dedicated design capabilities, so the challenge was to show them exactly how to design the right experience for both their current and potential customers, and how to define a go-to-market strategy that would ensure the success of the platform in the market.
Within a 10-day visit to Kenya, we went to Nairobi to immerse ourselves in East African culture, conduct customer research and run a Fjord Rumble (a highly structured, disciplined brainstorm format designed to create qualified ideas). Together with a mix of customers, Lynk employees and founders, we co-created four customer journeys and 38 high-level concept ideas.
On day five, we synthesized our findings, leading to five design principles and nine key concepts. Alongside Accenture Strategy, we presented the concepts to the Lynk leadership team, who prioritized seven of them to go into prototyping back in the Fjord Copenhagen studio.
We used the full might of the Accenture Strategy and Fjord collaboration for this project. Fjord’s user-centric perspective is ideal for designing a solution that the local customers want and love, while Accenture Strategy provides the structured and analytical thinking to design the value chain that underpins the service.
The need for speed
In an uncertain market situation, like the one we were working with, it’s crucial to work fast. We used an Agile approach to experiment, test, learn, measure and iterate. We designed four different versions of the prototype and ran three customer tests. In this process, we were able to validate assumptions with strategic and operational impact, that have specific importance to both Kenyan and expat customers.
We worked on customer research, prototyping and user testing in parallel with explorations of the market perspective and operational framework. This enabled us to quickly gain a holistic understanding that equipped us to make strategic decisions and implement them.
We used design as a product driver to build fast and test fast before developing the actual product, which saved us valuable time. We worked to the adage: “Make sure you are building the right ‘it’ before you build ‘it’ right.”
I really enjoyed working with Accenture Strategy and Fjord — the combination brought a range of perspectives to solve different parts of a bigger problem. They finally brought us a context where we could focus and dive deep.
A new experience: Discover
The final deliverable was a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) of Lynk’s new service: “Discover.” Discover is a visually appealing shopping experience where customers can find inspiration and buy pre-designed furniture and various services, offered by Kenyan artisans and workers. While Fjord designed Discover, Accenture Strategy developed a blueprint of the value chain to deliver it, including recommended solutions to selected pain-points along user journey.
The beauty of scale
Lynk had previously been limited on the scope of their service because of the amount of manual operational effort it took to connect customers with workers. The new service gives them the ability to scale safely and efficiently, with the operational capacity to help many more customers and workers than before.