World Vision Canada

Iloilo Philippines  



UX Researcher 



Amirah Mohamed

Kris Fajardo 

Cindy Le 

Sylvia Bogdanoqicz 






Virtuous Waste

January 2019 - December 2019

Using Design Thinking and UX research methodologies, I worked in a team of five designers to develop a start-up, creating a solution for the plastic pollution problem in Iloilo, Philippines. My team worked to design a water-soluble and biodegradable seaweed bioplastic to replace single-use plastic packaging.


Design Process  

An impact gap canvas was used to define the problem space, attempted past solutions, and the gaps between these two categories. I determined our solution would have to minimize change to user habits, and operate without oversight from local officials. 

I used design thinking to solve the problem proposed by World Vision Canada. User and environmental research was conducted to understand the ecosystem our solution would operate within. 







User personas were used to define the key attributes and characteristics of our users. The team referenced this resource while in the prototyping and business development stage. Storyboarding was used to illustrate the user's experience as they dealt with their product purchases, and their waste practices. Pain point mapping was used in tandem with the storyboards, to identify a possible problem space. 



















The team used Crazy 8s to rapidly iterate. With the team, I communicated my ideas and we worked collaboratively to develop the solution of bioplastic made from seaweed. 

Design Thinking: Second Iteration 


After winning the Social Innovation Challenge, it was possible to work with a team in the Philippines to gather in-depth research. User interviews were conducted with community members to understand their willingness to try a new product and their key needs and pain points, such as pricing. Journey mapping was used to map the experience of our bioplastic, which helped to define questions to ask users in the Philippines.   























Three different low-fi bioplastics were prototyped in usability testing. Each prototype was visually and physically different, creating different experiences. I asked users to interact with the three prototypes, and comment on the prototypes with their five senses. From this testing, I received feedback that one of our prototypes felt stronger than regular plastic, but could be used for the same purposes. Another prototype was commonly described as “dirty” due to the ingredients in the prototype. 




After conducting usability tests, the next steps for prototyping were determined. The knowledge of bioplastic within the group, from a science perspective, was non-existent. This created a large obstacle because the team did not have the knowledge required to develop a fully functional prototype. The team attempted to partner with individuals from the University of Waterloo, in the bioplastic field, but we were unsuccessful. 

Business Development 

My team developed the business model canvas to outline the key functionalities of the company. As the product and company developed, the business model adapted. A SWOT analysis was continually used to identify the pros and cons within the business. 






I gained experience using UX research methodologies, learned about business development and start-up culture. If I were to make changes in the future, I would develop a multi-disciplinary team. All the members were designers which created large knowledge gaps in the business and prototyping stages. As well, I would have conducted more preliminary research to understand the environment in the Philippines. This was difficult to conduct while working remotely with no assistance from the Philippines team until after winning the Social Innovation Challenge. 

VW Proposal boards Final_2.jpg

Journey map and interview Q/As, developed with the team in the Philippines

One of the bioplastic prototypes 

Storyboarding and pain

point mapping

VW Proposal boards Final_2_Page_4.jpg

Final iteration of business operations after completing the BMC and SWOT analyses