Asoriba hosts 6 Harvard Students Using A Human-Centered Approach To Aid Product Development

Dziffa Ametam | Monday, June 5th, 2017

Last month, Asoriba, one of our incubator companies – the acclaimed web and mobile church management and social application – hosted six MBA students from Harvard Business School in their offices at the Meltwater Incubator to aid Asoriba’s expansion efforts using human-centered approaches to improve user engagement and product development.

Dziffa Ametam had a chance to sit down with the Harvard 6 just before they jetted off back to the States. In the interview below, they share their experience working with the Asoriba team, living in Ghana, and connecting with the global MEST Community and Ghanaian tech ecosystem.

Q: Tell me a bit about what you do and why you’re at the MEST Incubator today.

Danny: We are students at Harvard Business School. It’s our first year and as part of the curriculum we do a project called ‘Field Global Emergence’ where we visit 15 cities around the world learning from industries we are interested in. There are about 70 (12 teams of 6) of us in Accra, right now, working with different businesses. Our one-week here gives us a cultural immersion experience while challenging us to come up with product ideas the companies we work with would hopefully find useful.

Q: Can you describe your experience working with Asoriba?

Christin: It was an amazing opportunity and we felt very welcome by the team. They scheduled interviews with pastors and students at University of Ghana, making the process very seamless for us.

David: We had a great time at MEST and Asoriba. We consider ourselves a group of mavericks and see ourselves as part of the Asoriba team.

Danny: It was a great experience listening to the companies tell us about the issues they face and brainstorming with them. The problems were small enough for us to have tangible impact on versus us working with big fortune 500 companies where the impact might be insignificant.

MEST is a great partner for HBS just because of where most of the incubator and portfolio companies are in their life-cycles.

 

Q: What stood out to you most about Asoriba?

Cory: What stood out to me most was they were generous and very invested in our time. They came along with us to learn about all the processes that we were involved in. They sat in on meetings and activities we worked on while we were there.

David: We saw the CRM system that they set up and it looked very beautiful. They were very capable and showed us that they will be able to execute anything we come up with.  

We were blown away by the quality of the talent.

 

Q: What value did this experience bring to your personal development?

Danny: I think one of the big things we learned was the importance of local cultural context. We interacted with churchgoers in Boston before leaving the U.S. to get a feel of things before coming to Ghana.

When we got to Accra we noticed the answers to the questions were very different. Pastors in Ghana really wanted control over the communication that went out to their congregation whereas pastors in the States did not have those needs and desires.

This helped us understand that you cannot sit in an office in NY and tell people the answer to their needs, you have to be close to your consumer.

 

Q: What are some things you’ll be taking away from your time here?

Danny: I got really close to the team and look forward to keeping in touch with them moving forward.

Christin: The relationships and connection we gained in Ghana are very valuable for us and we took home friends and really great networks.

 

To connect with the Harvard 6 who enthusiastically and generously shared their time with us, visit their profiles:

Have a similar immersion programme in mind for MEST or one of our incubator companies? Please contact Celine Duros, Head of Partnerships.