Design problems can be understood as emerging change. In order to fully span this space, research has to incorporate a deductive/ design element as well as an inductive/ feedback element. As a researcher, I have developed an extensive toolbox of theories and methods which allows me to select among a variety of theories, qualitative and quantitative methods and data gathering tools.
My interest in design originally was geared towards understanding market design and how technology-based platforms can be aligned with market behaviour. Developing economies are market-dependant: transactions are liberalized, there are few regulations and market intermediaries. A great proportion of the population are active market participants not only as wage-earners and consumers but also as entrepreneurs. As a result, the allocative role of markets is more prominent and the livelihoods of greater sections of the population are directly dependent on the smooth functioning of decentralized markets. In the absence of effective safety nets, the importance of the successful operation of markets cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, in practice, market exchange can be “costly, cumbersome, time-consuming, and unpredictable” (Fafchamps, M. (2004). Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa. MIT Press.). Markets often fail thereby impacting the welfare of numerous traders in the informal sector who do their utmost to avoid sinking below the poverty line. MMD4D is focused on studying market behaviour and the design of mobile information systems because I believe that mobile technology can contribute to addressing well-documented transaction failure, coordination failure and access failure problems.