D:Lab Mobile Summer Projects Update Session

Over the summer break, the D:Lab had several students use design thinking to innovate and co-create with organizations and companies such as Vodafone, Casa Trassaco, Café Kwae, Burro Brand, GN Electronics and our very own university Ashesi. This event was organised to get a sense of progress and the way forward for each of these projects.

Event Details:
What? – D:Lab Mobile Summer Projects Update Session
When? – Wednesday 12th October 2016
Time? – 2:40 – 4:10pm
Where? – McNulty Foundation Design Lab, King Engineering Building 102.


Audrey S-Darko, presented on her team’s progress with the Cafe Kwae Use Experience projects and how she looks forward to ending the project with a market strategy proposal that her team will present to the manager of Cafe Kwae. Kelvin Dogbetse detailed his team’s progress on exploring and improving employee productivity of Tradeworks. His team hopes to continue research work, however, the future of this project hinges on their availability outside school work; possibility during school breaks.
Aisha Jallow and Purity Musau, who worked on the Ashesi Fundamentals of Design and Entrepreneurship (FDE) Research project which centred on developing tools (templates etc.) for helping students visualize things in cleaner, more professional and more engaging ways such as developing hieroglyphic-mnemonic devices to help students remember the design thinking process and methods. They presented a few of their findings and how these finding will influence future FDE classes. The D:Lab Coordinators also presented on the state of other projects.


Casa Trasacco User Experience Project – D:Lab Mobile Report

Under this project, we aimed first at identifying what this experience is for a customer of Casa Trasacco. Once we discovered this, our next goal was to analyze the features of this user experience, under the elemental factors of usability (ease of use of services/products), content (layout of the products, display of pricing info etc.) and images.

Thereafter, based on our analysis and findings, we would have proceeded to crafting a user experience model for Casa Trasacco, which would detail out what the ideal experience/interaction is for anyone who walks into the showroom.  This step holds the key to unlocking results in the final project objective, which was to make an effort to create flexibility in the Casa user experience model so that it can be remodeled for other luxury retailers, in order to make it easily adaptable to the customer climate of other luxury retailers.


The problem was identified via the technique of immersion. Upon exploration of the showroom, we realized that the shopping experience was not smoothly facilitated. Different types of products were displayed within the same space; bedrooms and kitchens were displayed right next to each other, making it difficult to compare one product with a similar one.

The issue here, was that customers looking to buy one type of product were unable to find them in a particular section at the showroom. Thus, they were distracted by the several other product types on display. With other customers validating our discovery, it became clear to us that an opportunity lay in creating a seamless, unbroken shopping experience for the customers.


As aforementioned, our team set its focus as a three-way: identifying the user experience that currently exists for customers of Casa Trasacco, analyzing the features of this experience under the elements of user experience, and then creating a model that will improve the current user-product interaction for customers of Casa Trasacco. We also set out to discover, and observe, the kind of customers that visit the showroom, so that the final solution we craft will ideally cater to the needs of all customers of Casa Trasacco.


Under the aim of identifying the current UX, our team aimed at observing customers at the showroom at different times of day for a period of one week. The deliverable here was to find a persona/personae that we would use as points of analysis and ideation in the creation of the UX model. Thus, our fundamental approach was observation as a primary research technique.

Additionally, we sought to take a close look at the customer’s experience at every stage of his/her interaction with the products on display, and the overall service provided to him/her at the showroom. In order to capture this, we planned to use a journey map framework, which would ultimately help us to map out a customer’s step-by-step user experience, throughout their visit.


On visiting the showroom over the span of a week, our team realized several findings that were relevant to our goals and research objectives. The findings we discovered include:

  • There was no particular layout of the items on display,
  • Kitchen sets are the core product,
  • A restaurant is soon to open within the showroom,
  • For products that have multiple components, each component has its own price,
  • Promotions on products are not boldly advertised to customers,
  • Customizable color options for kitchens, cabinets and bedroom sets,
  • Sales personnel are very engaging and informative; front desk personnel, however, come off as rather strict and serious.


Given that our team was a third party looking to use a company’s working space and customers, our project was very sensitive; more so, because Casa Trasacco has very tight rules and customs regarding outside individuals who aren’t business partners. Thus, the only recommendation I’d suggest on behalf of my team, is to find out how high such a company’s interest level is, in connection with third party projects. This way, the decision to either pursue or abandon a project will be influenced from early on, so as not to cut short the flow of the project midway.

As regarding future plans, I believe I, with some of my team members, would like to pick this project up again. But at a time that fits best with the company’s plans for third party affairs. My personal plan is to take the roots of this project to another company, and grow them there.

by Jean Quacopome, Lead of the Casa Trasacco UX Project






2nd Ashesi D:Lab Mobile Presentations & BBQ


Starting off from Impact Hub Accra, the second stop of the Ashesi D:Lab Mobile was at the McNulty Design Lab, King Engineering Building on the Ashesi University Campus. The event took place on Thursday, Jun 30th 2016 from 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm.

27976287362_431f776daf_kThe D:Lab in partnership with the Ashesi Venture Accelerator (AVA), featured Lysanne
Denneboom, the Managing Director of Fundraising Africa, who gave a presentation about new and innovative ways to raise money online for things people care about. Her presentation explained the essence of crowdfunding and how it can be used to make ideas reality through running successful crowdfunding campaigns.

Student teams presented 5-minute updates on the progress made and challenges they face while working on their respective design thinking projects this summer. Teams also interacted on ways they could improve their design processes for their respective projects28044763046_618c87c23b_k.jpg.

Event Coordinators: Theodore Philip Asare, Carl Agbenyega

Media Production: Cybil Mupazviriwo


1st Ashesi D:Lab Mobile Presentations and BBQ


The Ashesi Design Lab (D:Lab) decided to go “Mobile” this summer with students working on exploratory projects with organizations. Ashesi University College (Ashesi) students are employing design thinking in innovating and co-creating products, systems and services with organizations and companies such as Vodafone, Casa Trassaco, Café Kwae, Burro Brand, GN Electronicsand our very own university Ashesi.

The 1st D:Lab Mobile presentations and BBQ took place at The Impact Hub Accra, Osu on Wednesday 8th June 2016 from 3 – 5pm. Students presented on their projects and got feedback from experts in design thinking: Dela Kumahor, Yaw Dankwa Oseo-Asare and Dr. Gordon Adomdza, on how to shape their projects using the design thinking process. Teams had 5 minutes to present on their projects. The event saw about 40 people attend.

Below are a list of projects students are working on:
  • Business Modelling – This project collaborates with PEN Education from the MIT D-Lab to train science teachers on how to teach and develop business models around hands-on-science.
  • Deep Dives – This project is a social innovation project in collaboration with Burro Brand and students from Brown University, employing ethnographic research methods to discover opportunities for innovation in rural communities.
  • Vodafone Innovations mUtility Applications: This project explores how to collaborate on developing technology to develop business models for utilities.
  • MDF’s EnterWASH project: EnterWASH is looking for young ambitious Ghanaians, interested in using enterprise to solve the water, sanitation and hygiene problems in their communities.
  • Cafe Kwae: Understanding the user experience at coffee shops with the study of the rapidly changing socio-economic profile of people in the developing world.
  • Farming Modelling: Exploring agriculture and using design thinking to model farming practices in response to unique food demands in the Accra urban market.
  • OPV Solar project: This team is using design thinking to explore functional forms for the application of organic photo-voltaic cells in collaboration with Dr. Hanne Lauritzen from the Danish Technical Institute.
  • Tradeworks: This project explores creative ways of optimizing work routines for employees while exposing students to the manufacture of solar panels.
  • Cassa Trassaco User Experience: This project explores a potential collaboration with Cassa Trassaco aimed at studying the in-store customer experience for their luxury brands and how to redesign part of it for better outcomes.
  • SE Ghana: The recently launched Social Enterprise Ghana is exploring a collaboration to build hybrid business models for social enterprises with a focus on sustainability.
  • The Cobalt Partners: Explore a series of paid service and (digital) product design opportunities at this Design and Technology consulting firm. Projects will include but not be limited to research, redesign and development of customer experience processes for key clients in the areas of financial services among others. Students are working with a growing team of designers and technologists, led by Dela A. Kumahor.
  • Ashesi FDE Research project: Developing tools (templates etc.) for helping students visualize things in cleaner, more professional and more engaging ways. e.g. developing hieroglyphic-mnemonic devices to help students remember DT process and methods, led by DK Osseo-Asare.