Clean Water for All

Breaking cultural barriers and saving lives


Taoxi Li, Andy Silber, Sarah Morris, Amy King, Carrie JL Hickman, Xinglu Yao


Seattle Interactive Conference 2016



OCT 2016


Under 6 hours, how can you make MSR water purification more accessible to families in need in Kenya?


A widespread campaign that focuses on breaking the barriers between local Kenyan families and the MSR organization.


More than two million deaths are caused by diarrhea and other water-related diseases, mostly children under 5, according to UNICEF. Almost all these situations are entirely avoidable with access to clean water.

MSR SE200, a Seattle based no-profit organization, has created a compact create chlorine for safe water treatment on the spot. The problem they face now, is how to get this ingenious product to local communities in need.

"More than a billion people do not have access to safe water and well over 2 billion people live without adequate sanitation."


Brainstorm & Ideation
Brainstorm & Ideation

Photo credit to Seattle Interactive Conference 2016

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Ideas based on persona and scenario
Ideas based on persona and scenario

Photo credit to Seattle Interactive Conference 2016

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From our research, we found out that...
  • There exists some mistrust in the Kenyan communities towards the motivations of western organizations attempting to help bring clean water to them.

  • In a Kenyan family, the mother in the household usually takes care of all the daily chores, including cooking, clothes washing, and caring for family members overall. But the male figure (husband, father, or son etc) in the family gets to make important decisions.

  • Most families have access to radio and basic cell phones that they use to communicate with each other.

  • "Idea leaders" in a community has great influence on the whole group of people 

After a series of personas, scenarios, storyboarding, and secondary research, we decided to scope down and tackle one issue: trust. 


We came up with the following proposed approaches to solve this challenge. I, along with another teammate,  presented our whole process and solution to the audience and judges.

Coordinate with community leader and introduce MSR water maker at a festival gatherings

Development a mobile phone chatbot that answers questions about using the MSR device

Educate students at school on importance of clean water, and distribute pamphlets to students

Identify early adopters in the community and leverage their help to gain trust in more families.

Demonstrate effect of MSR clean water maker at trade shows

Work with local artists to create songs on water sanitation and broadcast through radio in popular areas, such as riverside and cooking areas


Given more time and resources, we would like to reach out to actual users of the MSR water purifier to understand their needs.

After the plan has been deployed for a while, we would like to ask for feedbacks and make adaptations accordingly.

We addressed only one aspect of the problem. To effectively solve the problem, much more needs to be designed and implemented. I got to listen to many creative and innovative ideas from other groups.

Overall, I enjoyed this hectic and fun 6-hour design swarm. It's lean, agile, and is a great starting point to more serious design later on.

Taoxi Li, Andy Silber, Sarah Morris, Amy King, Carrie JL Hickman, Xinglu Yao

Seattle Interactive Conference 2016

October 18, 2016