SPRINT31 PORTFOLIO

Ayanna

Ayanna trains, certifies and connects Artisanal talent in Nigeria with opportunities in the local and global marketplace.

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Problem Statement  

How might we make the process of training, certifying and connecting African artisans and craftsmen to opportunities in the local and global built environment more efficient?

Problem Background  

Nigerians need an efficient and trustworthy way to procure goods and services from artisans and craftsmen for their construction and property development needs. It is a sector with services riddled with concerns about trust and competence. This problem is compounded by the lack of regulation through relevant bodies as Artisans are free to practise without any requirement to formalise or be certified. As one of the interviewees states, his experience with artisans have been “full of troubles, shoddy work and jeopardy at times”.

Furthermore, Artisans themselves need a clear and seamless way to access training and certification programmes to improve their competence and find opportunities in the local and global marketplace. Too often, Artisans face frustration due to unclear project scopes, stringent budgets and payment disputes. Furthermore, artisans struggle with organisation, scheduling, and project management, leading to inefficiencies and missed opportunities. Additionally, the informal nature of their work complicates tax filing and invoice generation, deterring formalisation and hindering their desire to adapt.

The problem lies in the disparity between the capabilities of these artisans and the lack of platforms that effectively showcase their capacities or connect them with relevant opportunities to train or find jobs that pay well. Many skilled professionals in Africa struggle to find the right avenues to exhibit their crafts or secure projects that align with their expertise.

The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB) reports have suggested that Nigeria loses up to ₦1 trillion annually (approximately $2.7 billion USD) due to the engagement of foreign artisans and craftsmen. Additionally, The population of Nigeria is estimated to reach 400 million people by 2050, driven by a 2.6% per annum growth rate. There is an existing housing deficit in the country of over 20 million units and the UN estimates that 68% of the population will be living in cities by then.

With a growing urban density of 4% per year, an estimated 4,320,000 people will move from rural areas every year to urban locations further increasing the need for homes. To meet this exploding demand, there will need to be 700,000 units built annually in the coming decades. It is therefore pertinent that we begin to establish systems and strategies to ensure artisans are properly equipped with the requisite skills and knowledge to address this imminent challenge.

Currently, in Lagos alone, the informal economy employs approximately 5.5 million of the State’s 7.5 million labour force, and in the country as a whole with over 200 million people, over 80 percent of the population work in the informal sector according to the International Monetary Fund.

Research Insights

User Pain Points and Feedback

Based on interviews and surveys, the following user pain points and feedback have been identified:

Trust and Competence Concerns:

  • Percentage: 78% of users expressed concerns about the trustworthiness and competence of artisans.
  • Feedback: Users report experiences with “shoddy work” and unreliable service delivery. One user noted, “My experience with artisans has been full of troubles and jeopardy at times.”

Access to Training and Certification

  • Percentage: 95% of artisans highlighted the difficulty in accessing training and certification programs.
  • Feedback: Artisans need clear pathways to improve their skills. One artisan stated, “There’s no clear information on how to get certified or where to find quality training.”

Project Management and Organization

  • Percentage: 70% of artisans struggle with project management and organisation.
  • Feedback: Artisans face issues with scheduling, scope clarity, and project execution. An artisan commented, “Managing projects is tough without proper guidance, leading to trouble with our customers.”

Payment Disputes and Budget Constraints

  • Percentage: 62% of artisans encounter payment disputes and budget constraints.
  • Feedback: Unclear project scopes and stringent budgets cause frustration. One artisan mentioned, “Clients often change the project scope but don’t want to adjust the budget, leading to payment disputes.”

Formalization and Bureaucratic Hurdles

  • Percentage: 100% of artisans find formalisation and bureaucratic processes challenging.
  • Feedback: The informal nature of their work complicates tax filing and invoice generation. An artisan noted, “The process of formalising my business is difficult and not well explained. I do not know what I will gain from getting certified because most of my customers do not ask to see any certificate before working with me”

Supporting Data

  • Economic Loss: Nigeria loses up to ₦1 trillion annually (approximately $2.7 billion USD) due to the engagement of foreign artisans and craftsmen.
  • Population Growth: Nigeria’s population is estimated to reach 400 million by 2050, with a 2.6% annual growth rate.
  • Housing Deficit: Over 20 million units, with a need to build 700,000 units annually to meet demand.
  • Urbanisation: 68% of the population will be living in cities by 2050, with an urban density increase of 4% per year.
  • Informal Sector: Approximately 5.5 million people are employed in Lagos’s informal economy, and over 80% of the country’s population work in the informal sector and face similar issues. Therefore, the solution can be adapted to meet the needs of other niches in the future, becoming a comprehensive system that can be implemented to meet a wider user base.

Landing on the Solution 

In order to create a platform that addresses the core customer pain point of trust, we will prioritise vetting and training the artisans to ensure they are competent. We will then present this marketplace of talent to customers to ensure they are able to find the right artisan for their projects. At the core of our solution is therefore creating a training roadmap and certifying existing artisanal talent. In order for us to incentivise this process, artisans will be able to come onto a platform with opportunities that match their skills in the global marketplace. By doing so, artisans

Explanation of Solution

Overview

The proposed solution is a comprehensive platform designed to train, certify, and connect African artisans and craftsmen to local and global opportunities in the built environment. The platform addresses key pain points by providing a seamless, efficient, and trustworthy system that enhances the skills, credibility, and market reach of artisans, while also ensuring clients can easily find and trust skilled professionals for their projects.

Key Features and Components

1. Training and Certification Modules

   - Online Courses and Tutorials: The platform offers a variety of online courses and tutorials covering different trades and skills relevant to the built environment. Courses are developed in partnership with industry experts and training institutions.

   - Certification Programs: Artisans can enrol in certification programs that assess their skills through practical and theoretical examinations. Successful candidates receive official certifications that validate their competence.

   - Skill Assessment Tools: Tools to help artisans self-assess their current skills and identify areas for improvement, guiding them towards appropriate training modules.

2. Artisan Profile and Portfolio

   - Digital Profiles: Artisans can create detailed digital profiles showcasing their skills, certifications, work experience, and portfolio of completed projects. These profiles increase visibility and trustworthiness.

   - Rating and Reviews System: Clients can rate and review artisans based on their performance, creating a transparent and reliable feedback system that highlights the best professionals.

3. Marketplace for Opportunities

   - Job Listings and Bidding: A job board where clients can post projects and artisans can bid for jobs. This feature connects artisans to a wide range of local and international opportunities.

   - Matchmaking Algorithm: An intelligent algorithm that matches artisans with job opportunities based on their skills, location, and past performance, ensuring the best fit for both parties.

4. Project Management Tools

   - Scheduling and Calendar: Tools to help artisans manage their schedules, track project timelines, and set reminders for important deadlines.

   - Invoicing and Payment Solutions: Integrated invoicing and payment systems that streamline financial transactions, reduce payment disputes, and simplify tax filing.

5. Community and Support

   - Artisan Community Forum: A community space for artisans to share experiences, ask questions, and seek advice from peers and mentors.

   - Customer Support: Dedicated customer support to assist artisans and clients with any issues or inquiries, ensuring smooth and efficient platform use.

Benefits of the Solution

1. For Artisans:

   - Skill Enhancement: Access to high-quality training and certification programs to improve their skills and credibility.

   - Increased Opportunities: Greater visibility and access to a wide range of job opportunities, both locally and globally.

   - Professional Growth: Tools and resources to manage their work more effectively, leading to higher productivity and job satisfaction.

2. For Clients:

   - Trust and Reliability: A trusted platform to find skilled and certified artisans with verified ratings and reviews.

   - Efficiency: Easy and efficient process to post projects, find the right professionals, and manage project execution.

   - Quality Assurance: Assurance of high-quality work from certified and reviewed artisans.

3. For the Economy:

   - Local Talent Utilisation: Reducing reliance on foreign artisans by promoting and enhancing local talent.

   - Economic Growth: Contributing to the economy by formalising and professionalising the artisan sector, leading to job creation and skill development.

   - Addressing Housing Needs: Supporting the construction and property development sector in meeting the growing housing demand efficiently.

Implementation Plan

1. Phase 1: Research and Development:

   - Conduct detailed market research and stakeholder interviews.

   - Develop initial prototypes and gather user feedback.

2. Phase 2: Pilot Testing:

   - Launch a pilot version of the platform in a targeted region.

   - Collect data, refine features, and address any issues.

3. Phase 3: Full Launch:

   - Roll out the platform across Nigeria and eventually expand to other African countries.

   - Implement marketing and partnership strategies to onboard users.

4. Phase 4: Continuous Improvement:

   - Use analytics and user feedback to continuously improve the platform.

   - Introduce new features and expand training and certification offerings.

Conclusion

The proposed tech solution aims to revolutionise the artisan and craftsmanship sector in Africa by providing a robust, efficient, and trustworthy platform that connects skilled professionals to meaningful opportunities. This will not only enhance the livelihoods of artisans but also ensure that clients receive high-quality services, ultimately contributing to the economic development of the region.

Future Steps

Goal: Develop a tech product that efficiently trains, certifies, and connects African artisans and craftsmen to opportunities in the local and global built environment.

1. Initial Research and Discovery

a. Market Analysis

  • Conduct a comprehensive market analysis to understand the current landscape.
  • Identify existing platforms and solutions, their strengths, weaknesses, and gaps.
  • Deliverable: Market analysis report.

b. Stakeholder Interviews and Surveys

  • Conduct interviews and surveys with various stakeholders including artisans, clients, industry experts, training institutions, and regulatory bodies.
  • Collect quantitative and qualitative data on pain points, needs, and preferences.
  • Deliverable: Stakeholder feedback report.

c. Literature Review

  • Review existing literature on informal sector employment, training, and certification processes in Nigeria and similar markets.
  • Study successful models from other countries or sectors.
  • Deliverable: Literature review summary.

2. Define User Personas and Journeys

a. User Personas

  • Develop detailed user personas for different types of artisans, clients, and training providers.
  • Understand their goals, motivations, and challenges.
  • Deliverable: User personas documentation.

b. User Journey Mapping

  • Create user journey maps to visualise the steps artisans and clients take to achieve their goals.
  • Identify pain points and opportunities for improvement at each stage.
  • Deliverable: User journey maps.

3. Concept Development and Validation

a. Ideation Workshops

  • Conduct ideation workshops with stakeholders to brainstorm potential features and solutions.
  • Use techniques like mind mapping, SWOT analysis, and user story mapping.
  • Deliverable: List of potential features and solution concepts.

b. Prototyping

  • Develop low-fidelity prototypes of the tech product, including key features such as training modules, certification processes, and a marketplace for connecting with clients.
  • Deliverable: Low-fidelity prototypes.

c. User Testing

  • Conduct user testing sessions with the prototypes to gather feedback and validate concepts.
  • Iterate on the prototypes based on user feedback.
  • Deliverable: User testing report and improved prototypes.

4. Technical Feasibility and Design

a. Technical Feasibility Study

  • Assess the technical feasibility of the proposed solutions.
  • Identify technology stack options, infrastructure requirements, and integration needs.
  • Deliverable: Technical feasibility report.

b. UI/UX Design

  • Design high-fidelity UI/UX prototypes based on user feedback and validated concepts.
  • Ensure the design is user-friendly and accessible for all stakeholders.
  • Deliverable: High-fidelity UX/UX designs.

5. Development and Pilot Testing

a. MVP Development

  • Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) with essential features for training, certification, and connection
  • Implement a robust backend and scalable infrastructure.
  • Deliverable: MVP of the tech product.

b. Pilot Testing

  • Conduct pilot testing with a small group of artisans, training providers, and clients.
  • Gather feedback on usability, functionality, and effectiveness.
  • Deliverable: Pilot testing report and iteration plan.

6. Full Launch and Scale-Up

a. Launch Strategy

  • Develop a comprehensive launch strategy including marketing, partnerships, and user onboarding plans.
  • Focus on initial target markets and scaling strategies.
  • Deliverable: Launch strategy document.

b. Rollout

  • Roll out the tech product to a broader audience.
  • Provide continuous support and gather user feedback for ongoing improvements.
  • Deliverable: Full-scale product launch.

7. Monitoring and Continuous Improvement

a. Monitoring and Analytics

  • Implement monitoring and analytics to track usage, performance, and user satisfaction.
  • Use data-driven insights to make informed decisions.
  • Deliverable: Monitoring and analytics dashboard.

b. Continuous Improvement

  • Establish a continuous improvement process based on user feedback and performance data.
  • Regularly update the product with new features and enhancements.
  • Deliverable: Product improvement plan.

Conclusion

By following these structured steps, the research will inform the development of a tech product that addresses the core challenges faced by African artisans and craftsmen, ensuring they are well-trained, certified, and connected to meaningful opportunities in the local and global built environment.

Learnings

Product Manager Learnings:

Omotunwase Osinaike

The most important lesson for me through this process has been learning how to devise a solid research plan which empowers me to critically scrutinise the problem. I have been able to confront my assumptions about what I believe users need and orient myself in a direction that is more suited to the reality they face. I have been able to more readily approach the project with a sense of foresight and direction, ensuring my decisions are guided by performance indicators that address user needs and are based on objective parameters for success. This process has empowered me with an approach that will allow me to work in a more thorough and defined manner on all projects in the future.

Designer Learnings:

Developer Learnings:

Developers Learnings:

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