Cassava Krupuk
Name of village:
Location: Food Industry - Cassava Krupuk

Partner: Universitas Muhammadiayh Malang & Kanazawa Institute of Technology and Kanazawa Technical College

My Learning Express Journey

On the first week of the March holidays, almost immediately after our examinations, 25 students from various courses of Singapore Polytechnic (SP) embarked on a journey to Malang, Indonesia for our Overseas Social Innovation Project (OSIP), also known as Learning Express. This was done in collaboration with the University of Muhammadiyah Malang, Kanazawa Institute of Technology and Kanazawa Technical College.
Joining this programme, my first goal was not to clear a module. Instead, I was genuinely keen on using my ability to help our target audience and getting hands on experience with the famous design thinking (DT) tools that have seemed to contribute to many successful projects worldwide. Also, if possible, I had wanted to immerse in the beautiful culture of Malang, whether it was their scenery, their way of life or their food.
Preparation for the trip
Before setting off to Malang, the SP students had attended a 1-day DT workshop. This workshop equipped us with skills that would be necessary during the 14 days of the trip. However, applying these skills in a real situation was much harder than the practices we did in SP. Nevertheless, the knowledge gained was still beneficial in Malang.
Despite having gone through the DT workshop with my group mates, I still did not have a sense of familiarity with them. As a conservative person during the first few meetings, I was really fortunate to have multiple live wires in the group. Everyone was friendly and it was easy to warm up to them within the first few days. As for our lecturer, Dr Carol, she seemed amiable and constantly encouraged the team to participate.
Starting the Project
In Malang, we were tasked to come up with solutions for a krupuk home business. After carrying out our sense and sensibility as well as interviews, we found out that most of the problems came from three areas, mixing, drying and marketing. This led us to our need statement, ‘I need to maximize my production capabilities at minimum costs.’
Tireless Mixing
The mixing process was very laborious as it took 4 hours to mix only one large batch of ingredients on a low concrete floor. Hence, the owner had to squat down for long hours, straining his thighs. Eventually, a foul odour would be liberated, resulting in dizzy spells when inhaled. The method used was also very unhygienic.

The final prototype for the mixing machine which consists of the product (top) and the explanation on how it works (bottom).
To tackle this problem, we came up with a mixing machine which can be used in two ways, automatic or manual. With the help of a motor fuelled by diesel, the mixing machine can be automatically run. Removing this motor gives rise to a handle which the owner can simply rotate in a clockwise or anticlockwise manner to manually operate the machine. This was intended to save the owner’s energy and time on mixing and provide a more hygienic environment for mixing. The whole machine would be made out of less costly materials such as bamboo, stainless steel and rubber.
Drying under the sun
The drying process, on the other hand, was only carried out during certain hours when the sun was present. Therefore, it would take about 2 to 4 days, depending on the season, for the krupuk to dry completely. Also, water coming into contact with the krupuk would lead to spoilage.

The final prototype of ‘The Dry Box’ displayed during the gallery walk.
For this, we came up with a dryer contraption called ‘The Dry Box’ that uses an inclined plastic cover to direct rainwater away from the krupuk. A pulley system was also implemented to draw and retract the plastic cover with ease. This would prevent the krupuk from spoiling during the rainy seasons. Since the intended materials were plastic and bamboo, it would be easy and cheap for the owner to adopt this idea.
Marketing Strategies
Besides the production process, making deliveries was also time-consuming. Spending 13 hours to personally deliver to markets, agents and certain customers is an extremely tiring job. We also noticed that his packaging was plain and not very attention grabbing.

The final prototype for the marketing strategy of placing the stall in front of the krupuk house.
Hence, we planned to set up a stall in front of the krupuk house in order to gain extra revenue. Having a strategic location which was near the main road and a T-junction, we believed that traffic flow across his house would be heavier. Since he lived in a small village, we recommended the owner to sell in smaller quantities as the villagers would have easy access to their house and might not want to buy larger quantities which supply could last beyond the expiry date.

The final prototype for the packaging with the cut-outs pasted on.
We also designed a new packaging for him which included pictures to make it more attractive as well as other important information for the customer’s knowledge such as his contact details, the expiry date and ingredients.
Memorable Experience
The final group picture of Team Carolpok, the owner of the krupuk business and his family to mark the end of our project.
Overall, I have seen myself and others grown through this whole experience. I have learnt the true importance of the DT tools, broken language barriers, forged lasting international and national friendships and have hopefully helped a family lead a better life. I look forward to applying the knowledge gained back in Singapore and will never forget the smile on the face of the owner of the krupuk business as he listened to our ideas. If given a chance, I would sign up for OSIP all over again and repeat this unforgettable and wonderful experience.

The final group picture of Team Carolpok, the owner of the krupuk business and his family to mark the end of our project.

Overall, I have seen myself and others grown through this whole experience. I have learnt the true importance of the DT tools, broken language barriers, forged lasting international and national friendships and have hopefully helped a family lead a better life. I look forward to applying the knowledge gained back in Singapore and will never forget the smile on the face of the owner of the krupuk business as he listened to our ideas. If given a chance, I would sign up for OSIP all over again and repeat this unforgettable and wonderful experience.