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Good City Guides

An alternative city guide to inform visitors and locals about the businesses that are providing social value to their community. Where to eat, shop and visit whilst supporting social enterprises.

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner
25 26

Written by

Think: Broadsheet meets Wallpaper City Guides meets Goop, but for social good. Recognising the restaurants, retail and places/attractions that provide sustainable value to the community, and making this information accessible, engaging and well curated to encourage people to visit and support these businesses. 

Searching the directory, 'Eat' will feature restaurants such as Scarf, Charcoal Lane and  STREAT, 'Shop' will highlight businesses such as The Social Studio and local enterprise SEW, and 'Visit' will include attractions like CERES.

I have used Melbourne as an example, but I am sure you could add in your own local businesses, and in fact the beginning of this type of directory could be crowdsourced.

Taking the Broadsheet app as inspiration, the phone app would provide a location based directory so that users can, for example, find a nearby cafe that meets social values.


How does your concept celebrate, identify or inspire for-profit businesses that act as agents of world benefit?

The guide acts as an alternative guide to a city, recognising businesses that are implementing social initiatives, and supporting them through advertising. It would direct people to choose 'socially better' alternatives to their usual cafes & shops, or let visitors and tourists discover a city's social enterprises that are often unique and hidden.

How will your concept help us create or leverage stories of world benefit that are sticky and shareable?

By providing a multi platform directory - app/web/hard copy, the stories from social enterprises will be recognised, advertised and featured on the website, allowing people globally to learn from how others are achieving outcomes. Monthly emails will highlight our round-up of visiting the social enterprises of a city.

What will it take to scale your concept so that its reach is global and widespread?

1. Develop a prototype on one city - crowdsource contributions? 2. Replicate that prototype in cities nationally, and then globally

Evaluation results

9 evaluations so far

1. How well could this concept surface or identify examples of businesses that currently innovate for world benefit?

Really well: this concept clearly outlines the steps to identify great examples - 55.6%

Pretty well: this concept talks about identifying great examples but it's not clear exactly how - 33.3%

Not so well: this concept doesn't focus on identifying great examples - 11.1%

2. How well could this concept create or celebrate stories of world benefit that are memorable and shareable?

Really well: this concept is clearly focused on creating or celebrating stories of world benefit - 66.7%

Pretty well: this concept talks about creating or celebrating stories of world benefit but it's not clear exactly how - 33.3%

Not so well: this concept does not focus on creating or celebrating stories of world benefit - 0%

3. How well could this concept inspire or enable other for-profit businesses who want to innovate for world benefit?

Really well: this concept is clearly focused on inspiring or enabling others who want to innovate for world benefit - 66.7%

Pretty well: this concept talks about inspiring or enabling others who want to innovate for world benefit but it's not clear exactly how - 22.2%

Not very well: this concept does not focus on inspiring or enabling others who want to innovate for world benefit - 11.1%

4. Does this concept have the potential to scale globally and reach diverse audiences?

Yes: this concept absolutely has the potential to scale globally and reach diverse audiences - 88.9%

Maybe: this concept may have the potential to scale globally and reach diverse audiences but it's not clear exactly how - 11.1%

No: this concept does not have the potential to scale globally and reach diverse audiences - 0%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world - 88.9%

I liked it but preferred others - 0%

It didn't get me overly excited - 11.1%

25 comments

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Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Was thinking that perhaps it could be good to devise a few scenarios for the Good City Guides concept. What might the experience of of a user look like? And a featured business? And perhaps even a content curator? Just a thought to help give shape to the various discussion here...

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner
Team

Ah I think I'm too late to put these ideas onto paper/pixels.! Once it wins I will !! :)

Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

Great concept! Maybe it would be interesting to also have a Foursquare presence, and have users add their tips. Maybe even have a badge or two, which always helps in getting a certain group of people to a certain kind of business. Would be a start in convincing these restaurants and shops that it will increase their sales if they're 'good'.

You could also add, in a later stage, businesses in the category 'work'. This might help people to select the companies they'd like to work for or do business with.

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Great concept Charlotte, and nice builds Arjan. I'm excited about this one!

Photo of Nathan Maton
Team

Nice concept Charlotte. It could be cool to combine the Social Impact app with as many other similar things out there and get them talking more to each other. I know an older version was the GreenMaps movement (see the SF GreenMap here - http://www.greenmap.org/greenhouse/user/46).

Photo of Sylvia Stein
Team

Definitely can see this as its own app or perhaps integrated into existing apps (ie yelp) so that you can search places to go / shop through a 'social value' filter. It would be great if the filter could take into account your personal values / priorities so that businesses promoting those of most concern to you rise to the top. Three questions for this challenge: How to evaluate social value impact of businesses? How to build the community of users? and How to elevate stories? will think on these

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

This was my thought as well. Might be more valuable to integrate into an existing platform (ie Yelp), with a redirect to your own site/app to learn more. I love on the iPhone how the yelp rating/profile is integrated on the map now. Make it easy and valuable. Will also greatly help the business see the direct correlation with their social impact and overall rating.

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Nice questions and thinking here Sylvia and Ester!

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner
Team

Yes, Ashley I think there is a Yelp + Good Guide team to build?!

Photo of Ashley Jablow
Team

Agreed! Too bad we don't yet have the functionality to merge concepts on OpenIDEO (although we're hoping to get there soon :)) In the meantime, feel free to update your concept with any of the text or suggestions from mine – we could fold a lot of the Yelp concept right into Good Guides to make it one Super Concept!

Photo of Simon Fich
Team

Hi Charlotte,

Cool concept. Some inspiration for your refinement.

http://shanghaisideways.com/datas/

Ignore the commercial at the beginning of the video.. Essentially this is a guided tour to the parts of a city you normally don't see with guides who have inside knowledge.

How about having guided tours for social good whether in a sidecar or not. You are brought to some of these places where the guides will show you the real stories and let you meet the people etc.

Simon

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner
Team

Thanks for the link, great idea. What about a bicycle tour?

Maybe it could hook into a previous OpenIDEO inspiration (I think in the Cities challenge) where an example was for homeless or unemployed locals to be tour guides.

Photo of Johan Löfström
Team

Perhaps, you could take a brief look at some of my concepts that I just added for the "Singapore environment awareness"-challenge, and please borrow bits and pieces from me, if you wish to include some of them into your Good-Guide!

and please, if you can, and have the time, comment on my concepts if you come up with additional ideas and details that I could use from your ideas: http://www.openideo.com/profiles/664458357/contributions.html :D

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Leave my applause here even the idea is not that new and mostly relies on how it can be refined and decorated, as well as in-time updated.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I like the incentive for businesses to innovate to make it into the app, but all of this incentive is purely based on how successful the app is. So the quality of the app is very important.

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Charlotte, way to go on making the Business Impact Challenge Top 20 shortlist! We were really excited about how this idea can celebrate local businesses who innovate for world benefit, and give consumers the chance to reward those actions through their purchases.

In Refinement, we encourage you to think about how the guide's information would be sourced and vetted? Would consumers submit stories? Would businesses apply? Who would certify the guide's information as accurate and honest? For more tips on how to iterate and prototype your idea during the Refinement phase, read here http://bit.ly/bizimpact-refinetips and check this Lowdown: http://bit.ly/oi_refine

Photo of James Robertson
Team

Hi Charlotte,

I saw this article in the papers this morning about tourist ipads and though of your concept:

http://www.straitstimes.com/breaking-news/singapore/story/ipad-tour-guides-visitors-singapore-20121105

A link up with or the inclusion of this type of service could solve the telecom network issue that any overseas users of the app might have. Even though wifi is almost everywhere, it is still frustrating to be reliant on finding cafes etc in order to get online when we are in foreign countries, and somewhat reluctant to pay $20/mb for data roaming!

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I like this idea; my question is: how do you create a globally recognized guide (similar to how the GRI / Global Reporting Initiative is emerging as the vanguard for sustainability reporting)?

Photo of Mike Hatrick
Team

This idea immediately appeals to me. I can imagine businesses making changes for the good just to qualify to be in such a guide.

I think to make it stand out from the crowd it would be important to get some sort of active endorsement from an influential public person (trying to avoid saying celebrity ...).

Also, if it could have kind of a gritty persona that makes it a "cool club" to be part of that would help - a bit like Lonely Planet was when it started.

In other words, savvy marketing to avoid it being just "another start-up/App".

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Would the good city guides attract other businesses to follow the model of the good city guide or would the businesses seek to replicate what the good city guide would direct them to? who makes the profit in the system? How does it serve to provide "agents of world benefit?"

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Concept!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Way to go, Charlotte! Might also be some learnings from this: http://www.openideo.com/open/business-impact-challenge/inspiration/social-enterprise-app/

Photo of Charlotte Fliegner
Team

Ohhh thanks !! Totally missed that one

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Hi Charlotte, This is a really great idea. There's actually a startup that's doing something like that, but using the template from Yelp. They're called Social Impact.

http://www.good.is/posts/yelp-better-local-search-app-to-find-retail-social-enterprises?logged_in=true

Arjan is right, I'd love to add companies that are doing good so they can be additionally patronized here. It would be nice to see some metrics too, like what concretely are they able to contribute to "good" so people know it's not just a badge a business wears.

Photo of Arjan Tupan
Team

Oh, I like the metrics idea. Also, maybe it's good to look at the Good Guide ( see http://bit.ly/PVMQAm ), who do this on a product basis.