The project’s initial premise was clear: to have a digital DNA and bring innovation and social impact to Angola with commercial viability. However, the first obstacle we encountered was the lack of clarity on which sector to focus on. Starting a project in a country we knew little about presented an ocean of possibilities. Nevertheless, the discovery journey, alongside an enthusiastic and optimistic client, was the real beauty of the process.
As a result, DecolaAgro was developed. It is an app that focuses on knowledge sharing within the Angolan agricultural sector and aims to make this knowledge accessible to all stakeholders, including small and large producers, farmworkers, universities, and others. DecolaAgro’s primary goal is to prepare Angola for a digital and modern agriculture, moving beyond traditional farming practices.
Aside from focusing heavily on Human-Centered Design, our first step, as expected, was to define the sector in which we would operate. After extensive brainstorming sessions with the client, we decided to focus our efforts entirely on this sector.
In the phase that followed, we conducted in-depth research, interviews, and analysis to better understand the various perspectives, pain points, and expectations of all the stakeholders involved, including the government, non-governmental organizations, small and large producers, farmworkers, and competitors. Considering that all this happened in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, our trip to Angola could not be carried out, resulting in a 100% remote DPR (Digital Product Research).
In the advanced phase of the project, we faced a new challenge: how to integrate digital innovations in a context of economic scarcity, limited technological infrastructure, and, in some cases, lack of knowledge?
The agricultural sector, particularly small and medium-sized farmers, were at the center of the Human-Centered design process. Fortunately, the Digital Product Research (DPR) process was developed specifically to explore innovative opportunities in challenging contexts. Through the interview process with local stakeholders, the team gained critical insights into the problems that needed solving, and identified other related issues, leading to the development of a valuable digital and innovative solution.
With LOAD’s support and expertise, our client received a proposal that was fully aligned with their original business goals and anticipated potential. Designed specifically to meet the needs of small agricultural producers in Angola, the solution takes the form of a freemium digital platform that connects all those involved in agriculture through knowledge. This close-knit community allows access to courses and online consultancy, remotely or in person, helping everyone from small producers to improve their agricultural performance at all stages of the process, to large-scale producers to boost their business thanks to varied knowledge and support smaller producers in production.
The solution offers numerous benefits, including the retention of young people in agriculture or providing an alternative pathway for agronomists who struggle to apply their academic knowledge. For this solution, local partnerships should be developed with academies, the state, and other partners that can facilitate content production.