How do I turn a conservation tech project into a product?
On Thursday, October 28th at 11 AM ET/4PM BST, Shah will discus and teach us some key lessons from his experiences with Fieldkit.
We’re back with an even bigger third season of WILDLABS Tech Tutors, the virtual series that answers the “how do I do that?” questions of conservation tech.
Join us on October 28th at 11 AM ET / 4 PM BST for Tech Tutors with Shah Selbe, who will answer the question, “How do I turn a conservation project into a product?” In this episode, Shah will talk about how to scale an innovative conservation tech project into something anyone can use and teach us some key lessons from his experiences with Fieldkit.
Register for your free ticket now.
Meet your Tutor: Shah Selbe
Shah Selbe is an engineer, conservation technologist, National Geographic Explorer and Fellow and a former spacecraft engineer. He is also the founder of Conservify, where he led the development of the revolutionary open-source software and hardware platform FieldKit. It provides a low-cost tool for conservationists all over the world to easily collect and share field-based research data and communicate through interactive visuals. The aim is to eliminate barriers in conservation technology and empower local communities so that anyone can deliver on their conservation aims. Shah has built and deployed low-cost conservation drones for coastal monitoring, open source environmental monitoring sensor networks in the Okavango Delta and the Amazon rainforest, acoustic monitoring buoys in the Pacific, and much more.
We asked Shah…
What will I learn in this episode?
You will learn how to take your project from a conservation tech prototype to an actual product that anyone can use. A lot of things need to be done in order to create something useful, whether it is a hardware product, smartphone app, or software tool. During this episode we will discuss what to think about when you want to take your project to the next level, including key considerations, working with potential users, common pitfalls, lessons learned, and the design process we use for Fieldkit. We will also cover user design, feedback and iteration, as well as specific conservation tech-related strategies and ways to think about growth and funding.
How can I learn more about this subject?
You can learn more about the principles covered here by reading things about product development, user design, DFMAT (design for manufacturing, assembly, and test), and different technology development methodologies. Over the last few years we worked with a number of experts to work through things like UI/UX, user design, hardware development, best practices for creating apps, software development approaches, how to build a team, technical support, and all the complications that come with selling a product. Some of that has been documented on the FieldKit blog and in videos on our YouTube page.
If I want to take the next step, where should I start?
For those looking to take the next step, you should start by better understanding the types of people that will be using your product. By understanding their needs and how they work on this stuff, you can make sure that you end up building the right thing in a way that will improve the outcome for everyone involved. There is also a lot to think about with respect to the technology itself, whether hardware or software, that will impact your ability to build or improve the product and how it will react to a lot of people using it.
What advice do you have for a complete beginner in this subject?
If you are a beginner, it helps to focus on the people that will be using the thing you create and the constraints they face in doing their conservation work. Put some thought into what it takes to design something that meets their needs, resolves some pain points, is easy to use, and gives you better clarity on the features that matter.
Ready to learn with Shah? Register to join this episode now!