Boom Boom Kring
Name of village: Kalakijo Village
Location: Food Industry - Boom Boom Kring

Partners: Universitas Muhammadiayh Yogyakarta

Introduction

Social Innovation Project (SIP) allows students to apply Design Thinking methods and tools to create innovative prototype solutions for real life problems. There are 4 stages to Design Thinking: Sense & Sensibility, Empathy, Ideation, and Prototype. In our case, we were working with the Indonesian students from Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta (UMY).

The project

1st Stage - Sense & Sensibility

We stayed 3 days 2 nights at Kalakijo village, together with the university students, where the emping makers resided. This enables us to experience the living and working conditions there.

Emping Melinjo are chips made of melinjo seeds that have a slightly bitter taste, and are a popular snack in Indonesia. The production process is tedious as the worker has to manually roast the seeds in small batches, remove the husk while it is still hot, and then crush the seeds to be flattened into chips. Next, the chips are laid out and dried in the sun, and then packaged and sold in markets.

We got to try out the emping making process! Zhao Xuan said “It was not easy. I did not have stamp the melinjo seeds hard enough, and ended up with a very small chip which could not be used. Also I found it very repetitive, which in the long run might get boring.”

2nd Stage – Empathy

The next thing we did was to interview the workers. From our empathy study, we found out that there were 2 main needs:

1. I need to dry the emping more quickly.

2. I need to have more efficient tools to have better production in making emping.

We encountered some problems during the interview. Yenn said “There is a language barrier in which we don’t know what the emping maker is saying. Therefore, the UMY students need to translate for us on the spot, and this leads to a pause in the interview as the ibu (emping maker) waits for us to ask the next question.”

3rd & 4th Stage – Ideation & Prototype

This was when all of us cracked our brains to come up with solutions for the 2 needs.

Stamping process: To stamp the seeds into chips, emping makers have to use a lot of strength, and this causes muscle soreness in their dominant arm. We have created a stamping device that uses leg movement by stepping on a pedal to reduce the amount of strength needed. This also enables the worker to sit on a chair instead of crouching on a stool, therefore improving posture.

Drying process: They are able to produce a limited quantity of emping per day due to the long duration of drying. We have created a solar dryer that makes use of heated air to dry the emping. Also, in the case of sudden rain, the emping will not be wet as it is covered.

Overall, it was a good experience. About the homestay, Faid said “It was an experience that I couldn’t get in Singapore. It taught me the other side of life which is not about comfort but to be in the shoes of people who stand on different social levels compared to what I’m living with.”

The fun stuff

On a jeep ride at Mount Merapi

Of course, it wasn’t all work and project. We had a lot of fun along the way as well! We attended an international cultural festival, went to shopping malls, tried out batik painting, and visited Mount Merapi and Borobudur.

Ken Yen said “In postcards, Borobudur was beautiful. When I saw it with my own eyes, Borobudur was really magnificent even in its present state.”

At the hostel, there was a table tennis table, so we were able to play table tennis to our heart’s content during our free time. And also, as a group with the UMY students, we often hung out at the café nearby chitchatting.

Xin Yi said “At the end of the 2 weeks, the biggest takeaway for me are the friends that I have made in Yogyakarta. We went through the fun times as well as the challenging times doing the project, therefore we have fostered a friendship that I feel will be hard to break. Even back in Singapore, I still keep in contact with them through Skype!”