TechBridgeWorld was founded in 2004 and specializes in working with technologically underserved communities. This often includes people with disabilities and economically disadvantaged people, especially in the developing world.
When working with these unique populations, we have found the need to use an alternate engineering model (i.e. compassionate engineering). This process includes many stages, but central to all of these is partner involvement. Our experience has shown that if your work is not based on a good understanding of partner needs, the solution will fail over time. The compassionate engineering process includes:
- Establishing Partnerships and Building Trust
- Needs Assessment
- Participatory Design, User Testing, and Iterative Innovation
- Recruiting and Training Compassionate Engineering Teams
A great video that highlights the importance of partner or community involvement is the Water of Ayolé. This documentary explains how governments and international aid organizations have taken on the task of making clean water easily available in the Third World, and how this effort is proving a costly failure. The program also focuses on the West African village of Ayolé, where the effort to provide clean water has proven successful.