Our team worked with Itza Wood, a social enterprise based in Guatemala’s Petèn Jungle that seeks to expand local employment opportunities through creating home and office goods out of sustainably sourced wood. We traveled to Antigua, Guatemala, to meet with Eliza, Itza Wood’s founder and director, and help her determine steps for successfully scaling up. Drawing from our own past work experiences and our classroom lessons, we created and implemented a weeklong workshop directed at Eliza’s specific business needs and goals. This included full market and company analyses, community mapping and impact metrics, local networking and information interviews, and determining action steps and definitions of success for short- and mid-term business goals.
One challenge we experienced was that we were unable to visit the Petèn community where Itza Wood is based; Eliza was the sole representative of both the company and the community with whom we were able to meet. In response to this, we shifted our human-centered design focus to industry representatives and investors, using their input and advise to understand what Itza Wood’s future may look like. Our advice for other groups or individuals interested in international social enterprise strongly relates to this challenge and our approach to solving it: Don’t underestimate the value of expanding your perspective beyond the direct contact with your client or organization.