A low tech solution that enables flat inhabitants to connect with each other sharing their knowledge, skills & time.
Together with a team at the openIDEO Jamming session in Singapore, we came up with this low tech concept for 'wingpost'. We recognize that within a flat there is a lot of knowledge and skills & even time that can be shared. Elderly have time during the day for example for watching over kids while they need help for example with heavy groceries.
We want to enable dates between inhabitants of the flats in order for them to get to know each other and establish relations in which both neighbors can help each other. One neighbors can help with groceries while the other will share 'grandma tips'. Getting to know your neighbors & being able to help with easy tasks will increase the bond within the flat.
Because the flat has both elderly people & younger people living there we thought of a 'wing man service' that appeals to them both. It should not be accessible on internet only as that would not attract the elderly people. However, plain whiteboards can get messy when everybody just sticks his note on. Besides that, when offering skills or knowledge others would like to know if you really have the skills you claim. It would be useful if somebody could already recommend you to a neighbor, telling you about his experiences with this neighbor.
Therefore we created "Wingpost". Inhabitants of flats can display their skills at their letter box, show what they need and what they offer, show who their network within this flat is and show recommendations. All this information can be visualized on the letter boxes and makes it easier to connect with a neighbor via a small note in their postbox.
We decided to make the concept simpler & tested a prototype in Singapore, Jurong.
From the agency people get stickers that fit the size of their letterbox. With those stickers they create their wingpost.
People can make the sticker visually appealing, telling something about them selves (can be creative; everything is oke so also words is fine). Next to the visual is a small note area/sticker. At this sticker they can write their interests; they can say that they like to play tennis or go to the market. This note will tell other neighbors what the interests of this household is more directly than the visual that tells who the household is.
Next to the letterbox small note paper and a pencil can be found. People can write their neighbors directly when they want to 'date'/ get in contact.
The start of Wingpost should be a community gathering where the concept is explained. Enthusiasts will start with Wingpost and others will follow.
Because it is difficult to fill in the visual and difficult to start, people get triggered with Questions that appear on top of the letterbox every 3 days. These questions help inhabitants to think about what their visual should tell. These can be questions like: "What is your hobby" or "What is your family history".
These questions can be put up by the management or community centres in the neighborhood.
We created two letterboxes with Wingpost on it and asked people from the building what they think of it:
The questionnaire was given to +- 12 people. Some people filled it in directly but others told us to put it in our letterbox. Eventually we got 9 responses.
From these 9 people 8 liked the idea. One person did not like the idea "Won't spend time reading because the print is so fine. & ..if everybody decorates its letterbox it will look pretty messy."
We asked them if they would also use the concept themselves:
6 persons would decorate their letterboxes, 7 people would use a small note to communicate their interests and 5persons would use the small paper to establish the first contact with their neighbors.
Some neighbors mentioned that they do not use other facilities (such as swimming pool) so they also do not use this Wingpost facility.
Some comments we got:
"You have a nice letterbox"
"Interesting idea! It reminds me of bulletin board with news and updates from friends."
(I would write my neighbors) certainly if we share common interest or hobbies"
"It makes the living environment more welcoming and friendly. It is more comforting to know that our neighbors are acquaintances so that we can help each other in times of need."
"It is not in our culture to be meticulous. Most of the time we strike up conversations to know more about each other. "
"Letterbox decorations can stand out and this might let people know that we love arts or whatsoever. "