d4d lab

It’s Wednesday (day 7). I followed up on three projects which are all going well. This trip has fostered progress and resolution. The results of this visit are seeing the necessity of a quarterly calendar as a good approach with bi- or tri-weekly phone calls when there is not constant email contact. Communication is perhaps the single most important factor I can identify in continuous success. Mostly because I have seen a lack of it or mis-communication result in extra, mixed quality work and an expenditure of resources (time and money) that actually erode the work in progress or at the very least would benefit from it. One of these cases is Milpa Maya – with new, substandard labels were created when we could have leveraged other prototypes since projects were similar. Why weren’t we consulted from the start? Because we’ve already done so much work. So people don’t ask – but because they share – they are passively asking because they want a better quality product. At least that’s my interpretation. I’ve met some potential collaborators and one theme that is close to my heart is improving the artisan offering in the region through creative and design thinking. I would LOVE to work on a project like this – which I consider both about the process and the product – therefore allowing all of the potential of design to be released. This could be a specialization and there is already a lot of information available—but fundamentally this is about both empowerment, representation, innovation, and agency.

On Saturday morning, I participated in the Radio Show “Club Tierra Viva” which is on the state radio station via the local station – Radio Chan Santa Cruz. This program focuses on sustainable solutions and proposes to educate people in rural communities on practices, resources, and new ideas. During the 1 hour program, I spoke about our projects in the region as well as had a dialogue with Gilmer Arroyo Sanchez on sustainability. In particular, my focus was on design for development and the fostering of a responsible representation of Maya people in every aspect of public communication.

On Tuesday morning, I met with the 4 presidents of the cooperatives that form the Unión de Sociedades Apícolas del Estado de Yucatán. I can say it was an excellent meeting overall with many issues resolved. Most of all, I was impressed that they had moved so far forward since we had met face-to-face in Mérida in August. For one, they started to work with Pymexporta, the Yucatán state government association that provides free assistance to people wishing to take their products to market. They are also working with Manuel Mungia, who is a consultant on fair trade. The hope is that fair trade certification will open many more markets.

Raúl had just received the letter from IMPI telling us that our name had been rejected for trademark. I had thought that was what the letter said, but given all the legal-ese it was indeed hard to understand. We passed it around the table. Not understanding exactly why, we began to brainstorm new names just in case we needed them. As it turned out, we went to IMPI later that day and were told the reason for the rejection was because KAAB is the same as KA’AB, which is already trademarked. The only thing I could think is that the people in Mexico city do not read or speak Maya. So, we paid $250 for NOTHING. Now we have to contest their decision. Believe me – I will be right on that. We didn’t pick this name for nothing. In any case, I suspect we can register it in the US and Europe. But another letter to write and another $250 pesos to pay to respond to the decision. Once again, I can’t help but think that the government does not support the legal development of small enterprises based on these exhorbitant costs.

About the Author

Leave a Reply