Application of Design Thinking Concept to Assess the Use of Renewable Energy in Rural Areas in Botswana
Received Date: May 14, 2021; Published Date: June 01, 2021
Over the past few decades, energy access has been a major challenge for most African countries due to increasing energy demand because of urban migration, increasing population, and enhanced standard of living. The issue of energy access in Botswana mostly affects rural settlements as the areas are usually far from the national electricity grid. This research was conducted using the Design Thinking (DT) approach to investigate energy availability and management in rural settlements. The DT methodology consists of six phases namely, understand, observe, define a point of view, ideate, prototype, and testing. Through the ‘understand’ phase, an intensive literature review was undertaken to assess the feasible renewable energy resources. In the ‘observe’ phase, interviews were conducted in rural settlements of the central region of Botswana. It was found out that cooking is the main energy need and the rural inhabitants travel up to 20km to collect firewood. A ‘point of view’ (POV) statement was then created from the interview to initiate the ideation stage. The ‘Ideate’ phase involved using viable technologies to generate solutions targeted at the profile defined in the POV. A selection matrix was then used to obtain the best energy solution. Through the ‘prototyping’ phase, a concept model biogas digester was designed for rural settlements. This paper reports on the first 4 stages of DT methodology and the other stages will be presented in future as the final part of the study.
Keywords: Design thinking; Rural settlements; Renewable energy; Botswana