Facilitator: Jeremy Haldeman July 18, 2019

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Kuja Kuja is a start-up of Alight (formerly the American Refugee Committee) that began with a simple observation: the humanitarian sector was not thinking of refugees as their primary customers. They did not prioritize the voices of the people that they served – and that was not good enough.

Kuja Kuja, Alight’s response to this issue, is a real-time feedback system that collects, analyzes, and supports clients to take action on real-time customer feedback, helping organizations to design and deliver better services.

The goal of Kuja Kuja is to create agency amongst customers around the world and to shift people from passive recipients of services to active, discerning, and demanding consumers of them.

Kuja Kuja puts customers at the center in two ways: First, they create real time data sets describing customer satisfaction with the services being offered to them. This helps humanitarian decision-makers understand the voice of their customer, and gives the public with information about their peers. Second, Kuja Kuja helps local actors reduce response times by showing them how to access, interpret, and take optimal action on the customer satisfaction data. Kuja Kuja has made great strides towards a more responsive humanitarian aid ecosystem. In the future, they want to expand their influence and make feedback in aid commonplace. How can Kuja Kuja spread their vision of customer-centered humanitarian aid across the sector and gain support?

  1. Create analogies. In order to make Kuja Kuja’s vision of real-time feedback commonplace in the humanitarian sector, they need to be able to explain their service to new actors in a simple, digestible way. Kuja Kuja describes itself as the “fitbit” of the humanitarian world, since they constantly record and report data about the “health” of an organization’s projects. But Kuja Kuja is also so much more than a fitbit. First of all, the feedback serves as an indicator for the whole humanitarian ecosystem, not just the “body” of Alight’s products and services. Kuja Kuja also has a predictive element – since refugee customers interact with Kuja Kuja employees or its system on a daily basis, and customers are giving their honest opinions, Kuja Kuja often uncovers implicit knowledge. This data can sometimes help Kuja Kuja see emerging trends before they become widespread. When Kuja Kuja explains their service, they need an analogy that captures their predictive value and ability to gauge the health of the whole humanitarian ecosystem. LabStorm attendees suggested analogies that go beyond a fitbit, such as NYPD software that allows the police department to effectively track crime and distribute resources in the city, or a weather station that continually records, and predicts weather variables for a given area of land. These specific analogies will help Kuja Kuja explain their service in a simple way and spread the word about their feedback mission.
  2. Take inspiration from successful businesses. Kuja Kuja seeks to transform humanitarian aid into a customer-oriented industry. LabStorm attendees suggested that in order to advance their model and adapt it to other organizations, Kuja Kuja should take inspiration from successful customer-oriented industries. One example was the self-care industry. For example, customers at Lush (a cosmetics retailer) can sample a variety of scents, and are frequently checked-in on during their time at the store. During their visit at Lush, they experience freedom of choice and frequent back-and-forth with employees. This is in stark contrast to customer experiences such as the DMV, where customers have no freedom of choice and very little opportunity to give meaningful feedback on services. Refugees face a similar, and certainly more serious, situation with aid providers. They often feel that they must accept and put up with inferior service because there is no other option. LabStorm attendees agreed that Kuja Kuja has the potential to transform customer perceptions of aid from a DMV-type experience to something closer to Lush. They must keep this value proposition in mind as they expand their model across the humanitarian world.
  3. Kuja Kuja can help organizations adapt when there isn’t a one size fits all approach. The hardest part of scaling is that every customer is different, and when humanitarian organizations expand or scale their services, they must adapt their model to whatever new context they are working in. LabStorm attendees saw this as a great opportunity for Kuja Kuja. Since Kuja Kuja delivers fast feedback, they can help humanitarian organizations adapt rapidly to new contexts. Even if organizations are not completely bought-in to the concept of feedback, Kuja Kuja promises to help them adjust more efficiently to new demands. This offers a great entry point for Kuja Kuja, which can eventually lead to their feedback system becoming more commonly used.

This LabStorm reminded us that feedback has a lot of ancillary benefits. Whether it is predicting the future or helping organizations adapt to changes quickly, Kuja Kuja’s feedback platform can help the refugee relief world in many ways. Do you have any ideas about how to make humanitarian aid more customer-oriented? Leave us a comment or send us an email at [email protected].

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