At 3M we seek to observe, understand and solve. What we believe is simple: We are people committed to helping other people. Every day we help tackle problems, big and small, in pursuit of our vision to improve every life.

Solving data monitoring problem for e-waste management organization

March 19, 2020

Environmental Synergies in Development (ENSYDE) needed help collecting data to prove its impact on proper e-waste disposal. Through the 3M Impact program, two employees traveled to India to help set up a solution.

Bins of electronic components like circuit boards, chips and motherboards being sorted for disposal.

In a time when electronics are involved in every facet of our lives, the proper disposal of e-waste has become an increasingly important issue.

Environmental Synergies in Development (ENSYDE) educates communities in India on this critical mission while facilitating appropriate disposal methods.

However, the organization was struggling to prove its impact. To do so, it needed data. But they didn’t have systems in place to consistently collect and synthesize the numbers.

Through the 3M Impact program, Yanique Walters-Dynott, IT Administrator from 3M Jamaica, and Grant McPhee, Category Insights Analyst from 3M Canada, rose to the challenge. The two were excited by the opportunity to create a database system that could both manage the data ENSYDE collected and provide proper reporting to sustain its business. 

“Given that our task called for building a data repository with reporting capabilities, my analytics background complemented Yanique’s IT skills perfectly,” says Grant. 

Though their skills were a great match, the task at hand was by no means easy. Knowing their assignment before they left for India, Yanique and Grant had a vision in mind of what their solution was going to look like.

When they arrived, however, they realized their plan was not going to work. ENSYDE didn’t have a network, server or standalone machine that could host the database. So, it was back to square one, where they came up with a different solution: building the database system in Excel.

Yanique and Grant learned that a tool like this would save ENSYDE 15 hours a week — valuable time that can be used to run more campaigns and educate more citizens about the dangers of improperly disposing electronic waste.

As much as ENSYDE benefitted from their work, Yanique and Grant were impacted just as much. 

“I can’t stop expressing how much I have grown from this experience,” Yanique said. “Working on this project reignited my passion for databases and encouraged me to do a refresher course in database development and create applications in Excel for my friends and their businesses. Now I want to find other ways to volunteer around the world, so that I can help as many people as possible.”

“Watching the presentations of our other colleagues on the work they did left me with a great sense of accomplishment that as a group, we had made a difference during our time in Bangalore,” Grant added. “There is no doubt that this experience has changed my outlook on how I approach work and will serve me well moving forward.”

About 3M Impact

When asked why they love to work for 3M, many employees say they enjoy making a difference in the world. To draw on this passion, 3M offers a program called 3M Impact, where employees travel to communities around the world to spend two immersive weeks collaborating with a local organization to contribute to a solution for a pressing social or environmental issue. 

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