Improving the applicability of 'Design for X' (DfX) tools so that they are applicable in wider economic environments than those in industrialized economies offers great utility to large donor organizations and non-governmental organizations. Standardization and knowledge-capture would assist agencies in better understanding user groups, diminishing biases and providing a means to streamline assistance efforts.
In evaluating two such DfX tools, the Product Definition Assessment Checklist (PDAC) and the Customer Chain, relative to projects undertaken by a Kenyan non-governmental organization (NGO), I found the PDAC to be of limited applicability to the Kenyan environment. Information gained about the Customer Chain, however, led to its expansion to Customer Value Chain Analysis (in collaboration with Kosuke Ishii of Stanford) to consider the flow of value propositions between customers.
Research on the appropriateness of DfX tools to "peripheral" economies can indicate the robustness of various tools, give greater insight into different economic constraints and opportunities and, like the Customer Chain, reveal unanticipated utilities of the tools themselves.