Test for failure to drive success

STeP evaluates technology performance, both overall and at the component level, in real world settings. They identify failure and capture user experiences. In-field prototype testing and troubleshooting combined with user insights offer rapid cycles learning and design optimization.

Field-testing is an essential piece of product development that supports health and safety, informs design and drives adoption.

STeP follows a disciplined and rigorous field testing process:

Site Selection

  • Determine requirements
  • Work with local partners & stakeholders to identify suitable sites
  • Gain permissions from management, owners, and tenants
  • Sign Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs)

Prepare Site

  • Identify contractors & suppliers to support retrofitting and installation
  • Conduct site assessment
  • Sign necessary contracts
  • Iterate on design plans
  • Conduct town hall meetings and other educational programs with stakeholders
  • Secure informed consent from management and owners/tenants
  • Conduct baseline, pre-testing phase technology-user studies
  • Prepare sites (e.g., retrofits, exterior pads, piping, shut – off mechanisms)

Install System

  • Deliver unit to site, possibly from storage
  • Engage plumber and other contractors at site
  • If necessary, secure fork-lift, crane, or other lifting equipment
  • Assemble parts
  • Make any necessary connections to electrical and water
  • Conduct preliminary tests to ensure safe operation
  • Turn on any necessary back-up systems

Test & Analyze

  • Turn on unit and monitor closely for the first hours/days
  • Troubleshoot and optimize as needed
  • Conduct daily, weekly, and monthly tests
  • Follow STeP Global Protocols
  • Analyze results
  • Conduct mid-testing phase technology-user studies
  • Manage stakeholder and vendor relationships


  • Drain/empty unit
  • Revert site to prior state, diverting sewage to prior disposal system
  • Safely remove systems
  • Re-package unit and ship to investigator
  • Conduct post-testing phase technology-user studies
  • Host closing meeting with management

Access STeP’s standardized test measurements to assess the safety and performance of the sanitation technologies.

Additional resources are available in STeP’s Resource Center.