Yale Case Study Offers a Multimedia Look at a Design Challenge
On November 9, Robert Fabricant, a vice president at Frog Design, visited a Yale SOM classroom, where students were discussing a Yale multimedia case study about Project Masiluleke (Project M), an effort by a coalition of U.S. and South African organizations to use technology to increase HIV awareness and treatment in South Africa.
The case, created by the Yale SOM Case Study Research and Development staff in collaboration with the Winterhouse Institute, is the third in a series of cases funded by the Rockefeller Foundation and focusing on the intersection of design and social innovation. The students discussing it were part of Yale SOM's Global Social Entrepreneurship course, which pairs SOM students with organizations in India to help them address management challenges.
In preparation for the Project M class session, students had made their way through the wide-ranging case study, watching videos of Fabricant and other contributors to Project M describe key points in its development, reading background material on South Africa and HIV, and doing statistical analyses of HIV tests.
Now they had the opportunity to engage directly with one of the principals in the case. They talked with Fabricant about the challenges of bringing multiple organizations, across continents, to work on a project; the varying motivations of the various players; the process of choosing a reachable goal in the face of something as big as the HIV epidemic in South Africa.
"Many of the questions you are thinking about are the same ones we were thinking about five or six years ago," Fabricant told the students as he described the early stages of the project.
Project M grew out of an appearance in 2006 by the founders of iTEACH, a South African tuberculosis and HIV prevention organization, at the technology/social innovation conference PopTech. The conference organizers, Frog Design, iTEACH, and other groups collaborated to create a system to use mobile phones to bring HIV information to South Africans, and are designing a self-testing kit that would allow individuals to determine their own HIV status at home and then get counseling by phone.
The Project M case study, which is available to the public, includes video interviews with many of the participants in the project, and information on many aspects of the project, from the statistical analysis of HIV test results to the design of the self-test kit packaging.