Pilot Finished?


It feels weird to type that in two ways:

  1. We’ve been working on the pilot and anticipating the end for so long now, that to actually type it feels…immense.  It also feels like an accomplishment and it is.  Everything in India went incredibly well.
  2. Finished isn’t the right word, but part of why it feels finished is only because we’ve come back from India, we’ve executed on a lot of work in a short time period and this round of testing is complete.  We now of course have a lot of reflection, video editing and numerous other next steps to take.  But nonetheless, it does feel like a chapter is closed, and successfully at that.

Not luck but like-mindedness: We were incredibly honored and privileged to work with this supplier.  Their team stepped up in so many ways; adapting their schedule, being honest and open with feedback so we could adjust, and opening up their doors and really their hearts to us.  This didn’t happen by luck though: it really was a team that shares our vision and is willing to take a chance on us because of it.

We have an incredible team who STEPPED UP: A huge shout- out to:

  1. Rhea, our incredible UX designer
  2. Megan, our former intern and lifelong supporter  who helped us prep so much for the pilot and set up so much infrastructure
  3. Monte, who helped with our metrics work for months and even entered questions into our system while we slept
  4. The team at Solutions Park, our tech team, especially Ghazi and Abbas, who were so responsive this week as we tested the system
  5. Our families.  We challenge anyone to a family off, who always keep us going with words of encouragement, whatsapp messages, good food, prayers and perhaps most importantly unlimited love and hugs

Challenges: There were some challenges of course and we did two things well: we listened carefully and adapted and we did it quickly, making the most of our time there. The main items we’re going to have to think through are:

  • Worker surveys are a great idea in theory:  JUST will have to be clear about why and how we implement worker surveying.  At organizations where a good amount of trust already exists between worker and management, the goal of surveys is unclear and can even confuse relationships and cause suspicion.  We don’t want to provoke questions like “why would management want to survey us?” and “why would we submit grievances by phone” when the common practice is to walk into the office now and sit down across from management.  We are reflecting on why we really want to survey workers and how we allow the supplier and management to come to an agreement about what’s most constructive for the supplier and its workers in terms of an arrangement
  • The personal stories and communities around these organizations are their most valuable and incredible asset but to capture them isn’t as easy as taking a picture: These stories are why we started JUST, to tell them better.  We always knew it was going to be tough to do these stories justice (not a pun), consistently. Our visit and work at this supplier has only reemphasized this.  But its also renewed our resolve because these stories ARE so incredible.  It will require some more thinking and testing to figure out how we can get in depth at a scale that we can do this at any and all suppliers.
  • Planning: while we have plans for the coming year, results and takeaways of the pilot will change some of these plans.  Start-ups operate on a month to month basis for a reason:
  • v2: we’ve taken a lot of notes on the platform for suppliers and will make a v2 to share with other suppliers with whom we work.  We’re also now developing the supplier profile pages which will be consumer and brand facing, and linking them directly so we have real time data flowing in.  These will be the pages that all the consumers in the store will be able to scan their tags and see.  We’ll have another round of testing.
  • Some well deserved rest :)
Natalie Grillon

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