Proximity Designs

By Laura Hattendorf, Michael Kennedy, Laurent de Clara, Yin Li
2014 | Case No. IDE06 | Length 26 pgs.
The case follows Jim and Debbie Aung-Din Taylor, an American couple with backgrounds in international development, as they found and build Proximity Designs, a social enterprise in Myanmar. Initially, the Taylors are focused on redesigning the treadle pump for Myanmarese farmers, using design thinking and processes to formulate a pump that is affordable to their extremely impoverished target customers. However, the Taylors soon realize that they also need to build a distribution network in order to sell their products. Along the way, a natural disaster (Cyclone Nargis) and political reforms in the country create both new challenges and new opportunities for Proximity.

Learning Objective

The teaching objective of the Proximity Designs case is to explore two main topics: 1) the use of design thinking and methodology in social ventures and 2) how changing context and severe disruptions can define an organization’s growth and strategic choices.
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