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.
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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.