Engineering Reasoning and Visualization As Analysis - Tools For BOP Design

Engineering Reasoning and Visualization As Analysis - Tools For BOP Design

M. Eggermont (2011).  Engineering Reasoning and Visualization As Analysis - Tools For BOP Design. 27.

Base of the Pyramid (BOP) Design is a human-centred process that requires an in-depth look at causes and effects of poverty. Engineering reasoning (R. Niewoehner) and visualization tools were used to give 740 first year engineering students an opportunity to understand the complex issues in communities in developing countries (Fig. 1). Based on their analysis, students developed design solutions for one of seven interconnected areas: Water, Health, Energy, Agriculture, Shelter, Transportation, and Education. 

This project had students working in groups of four over a period of seven weeks.

The paper will discuss the project as a whole, student observations, analysis, and their subsequent increased empathetic view towards complex issues in this area of ‘design for the other 90%’. Empathy requires two components: “the first is that there are no ‘dumb users’, only dumb products, and the second is the appreciation of context and avoiding for example assumptions about the availability of spare parts and trained maintenance, or very specific assumptions about a user’s familiarity.”[1] Examples of design prototypes, including accompanying brochures, will also be discussed.



Authors (New): 
Marjan Eggermont
University of Calgary, Canada
Engineering reasoning
information visualization
Base of the Pyramid design
Prestero T “Better by Design How Empathy Can Lead to More Successful Technologies and Services for the Poor”, MIT Press: innovations / Tech4Society 2010:, accessed April 10, 2011: 
EWB Calgary Chapter case study, Fall 2009:, accessed June 25, 2010: 
Niewoehner, R and Steidle, C “The Loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia: Portaging Leadership Lessons with a Critical Thinking Model”,, accessed April 10.: 
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