mSurvey, MIT Video Case Study

Bridge Intl. Academies, MIT Video Case Study
May 20, 2016
Senior Research Topics
October 14, 2016

mSurvey, MIT Video Case Study


While a PhD candidate and Legatum Center Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Kenfield Griffith founded mSurvey, based in Kenya. After finishing his studies, and with a commitment from an initial funder—one who also became a mentor—Griffith was in Nairobi. There he hired a lead engineer, MIT interns, and a few local team members with tech skills. A mobile survey company, mSurvey employed a proprietary software system to collect and aggregate data using Short Message Service (SMS) text messaging over mobile devices. mSurvey’s system was appropriate for a short, direct survey-question format and inexpensive to use—no questionnaires to print, administrators to train or pay, and responses to tally by hand. It worked to solve the problem of gathering real-time, high-integrity data in the developing world. Griffith had some concerns. Potential customers were unfamiliar with the technology and method and needed to be educated about the features and benefits of SMS-based surveys before making a decision, signing a contract, and sending mSurvey a payment. On average, that cycle took about eight months; it needed to be shortened. And, while 50% to 80% of clients typically renewed their contracts each year, Griffith was anxious to increase that number. Could the renewals be made more automatic? Griffith had to face and deal with these issues.


Director: Franco Sacchi
Cinematography: Franco Sacchi
Editing: Franco Sacchi