Practical Training in Product Development Methodology to boost innovation in Artisanal Manufacturing
This project was funded by the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council under its Social and Innovation Research Grant Scheme. The aim of this project implemented by My Pop-Up Store was to give practical training in product development methodology to stimulate innovation among vulnerable artisans in Mauritius. The training provided was adapted and tailored to each beneficiary to ensure pragmatic results. Through this project, 52 local artisans from 25 entities were reached. They were able to develop new products and test them on the market through different visibility platforms: pop-up shops, permanent stores, and hotel shops. They experienced the sale of their products in various stores and were able to get feedback on their products. As a result of multiple meetings, the artisans have acquired the necessary skills to continue developing new products in line with international trends. The use of product development methodology and conceptualization in the artisanal manufacturing sector has the potential to merge traditional Mauritian skills with international trends and standards, reinventing authentic local products and increasing their value. This could have infinite benefits: lifting vulnerable artisans out of poverty, making local SMEs in this sector profitable, stimulating the local economy, opening new recognized professions for young people, providing equal opportunities for "non-academic" citizens to succeed in business, attracting international recognition and interest in Mauritian talent, stimulating patriotism, and enhancing Mauritian know-how. Since the start of this project at My Pop-Up Store, the team have met with the artisans in their workshops and homes to better understand their creative context. It was very important for the Principal Investigator to understand how, where and under which conditions the manufacturing was done. It also allowed them to understand how the artisans source their materials, whether locally or internationally. The team has strongly encouraged the notion of upcycling their waste materials into their design process.