Adventure Clubs is an experience design company with a team of ECD experts creating memorable group adventures for young families.
Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)
Adventure Clubs found out about this Prize a few weeks ago and were invited to apply by Matthew Ridenour (from IDEO). He saw us present Adventure Clubs in San Francisco at a pitch night event. I am a female founder and one of twelve 2018 Business Accelerator Fellows chosen by Praxis, a leading business accelerator focused on social impact companies.
I have been developing this business for over 3 years, and the Adventure Clubs app has been in place for 2 years of that time. We are finding that the adventures on our app are being opened by parents over 10 million times a month and the demand for what we are doing is growing fast and furiously. We are currently trying to match supply and demand, as it is growing so fast.
Every day, our team is working on efficiencies and how to make things faster and smoother so we can scale to 50 cities in America over the next five years. Our creative team (all ECD experts who are mostly moms who work from home so they can be with their children and have a career) are always innovating incredible adventures for parents with small kids to enjoy through our offering.
When our team develops a great adventure, it goes through a process of refinement, but eventually becomes a template we can take into all our cities. We built Adventure Clubs for scale from the very beginning so that we can have as big of an impact as possible.
We know the idea has great merit and our demand just keeps growing, so now it's about full-scale rollout.
Name or Organization
Adventure Clubs Inc.
San Diego, California is our US headquarters and US test market, and we are operational in 5 other cities as well. We are on track to launch Adventure Clubs into 50 US cities such as Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Seattle, LA, San Francisco, NYC, Houston, Chicago, Nashville, Miami, Washington DC, Boston - just to name a few. We are launching a new city as we match resources of human capital and financial capital with opportunity.
What is your stage of development?
Advanced Innovator with 3 to 10+ years of experience in ECD
What is the stage of your proposal?
Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.
Describe your submission in one clear sentence
Adventure Clubs is an experience design company with a team of ECD experts who create meaningful group adventures for young families; these focus on deepening parent-child relationships through intentional memory making, and are being offered in five cities so far, and soon to be 50 cities in America.
Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)
Adventure Clubs offers parents something they cannot find anywhere else: expertly designed, child-focused experiences hosted by companies and NGOs in their own city.
Why? The Harvard Grant Study found that the #1 most important predictor of a person's happiness depends on the quality of their closest relationships while young. Yet parents are spending only 34 minutes of quality time with their kids each day. They need better options for how to make memories together. They need well-planned group experiences that provide education, socialization and stimulation for both parents and kids.
Select an Innovation Target
Service: A new or enhanced service that creates value for end beneficiaries.
Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)
Adventure Clubs realized that parents needed a better way of engaging with their children and making memories together.
So we cultivated a top notch team of ECD experts (educators, child physiologists, educators, occupational therapists, physical therapists, entertainment designers, and more.) They work as a team to design the kind of experiences parents WANT to have with their children.
Adventures are offered in the categories of Animals, Creative, Education, Environment, Food, Music & Dance, Museums & Culture, Sports & Fitness, Transportation and Water Play. All take place in venues around the city which gets families out of the house and into the city that surrounds them.
Adventures are presented to families on the Adventure Clubs app (on iTunes and Google Play) which parents download for free and then browse the adventures to find ones that are best-suited for their family. Then they RSVP and pay on the app, chat to other adventurers, and more.
The adventure happens on a specific day, time and place and is co-hosted by one of our Adventure Leaders and a staff member of the host company.
We've built a native app and customer management system and have over 50 people on our ECD creative team, mostly highly-skilled, highly-educated moms who have stepped out of their careers for a time so they can work part-time from home while their kids are young. This leverages their expertise in our virtual workplace that breeds collaboration, which leads to innovation.
What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)
We serve a two-sided market: Adventuring Families & Local Companies (our adventure hosts).
Parents WANT to spend time with their children but they find it exhaustingly difficult to find unique experiences that are child-focused and yet stimulating for both parents and their children while providing education and socialization at the same time.
75% of millennial parents prefer experiences over "stuff", but brands need help designing child-centered experiences and reaching young families.
Explain your idea (5000 characters)
Adventure ideas start in our Concept Lab, where more than 50 people work on developing the idea, pushing and pulling it to make it the best it can be. It then becomes a prototype on our app, where families engage with that adventure and give us both real-time and post-adventure feedback about the adventure and it's creativity, logistics and enjoyment. Our team takes that feedback and works to make the adventure better according to human-centered design thinking, before we roll it out across all our cities.
Adventures are presented to families on the Adventure Clubs app (on iTunes and Google Play) which parents download for free and then browse adventures that are on offer in their geographic area before they choose the right ones for their family and RSVP and pay right on the app.
They experience the adventure as a small group of 10 - 20 families (usually) on a specific day and time and it is hosted at a local company or NGO (we call them Adventure Hosts) who we have a business relationship with. This serves the families as they explore the city together and serves the Adventure Host who seeks to have customers in their place of business engaging with their brand.
Adventures are co-led by one of our Adventure Leaders and a representative from the Adventure Host. This provides excellence and brand consistency for Adventure Clubs and provides brand connection to the local Adventure Host.
On the Adventure Clubs app, there is a chat function that opens up when someone RSVPs to an adventure and that chat is between all those who are going to that adventure. There is also a "See Who's Going" list featuring names of others who are also going on that adventure. And, there is a "share" function on each adventure which encourages parents to invite their friends and family to come adventure with them. All of this is to serve the purpose of fostering community among the Adventure Clubs families.
Any parent can RSVP to an adventure on the app without paying a subscription fee, which makes all this accessible to anyone with a smart phone running Android or iOS. But if families want deeply discounted prices on their adventures or access to our VIP range of adventures, they can opt for our monthly subscription for just $3 per family per month. We kept the subscription price as low as a cup of coffee so that it would be as accessible as possible for even those who are lower income.
On the adventure, we always have a "selfie moment" where everyone takes a photo of them and their child making a memory on the adventure. Everyone then posts it to social media, where they tag both Adventure Clubs and the adventure host company, making it even more social, and great marketing for everyone involved.
Adventure Clubs is a global brand with a local feel. Although we are designing systems and processes for consistency across all the 50 cities where we are opening, we are tailoring each cities' vibe and feel to be hyper local in order to build a community of adventurous families who support local entities in what they are doing in their own city.
Adventure Clubs is also planning a field guide to each city where we work. This will be a book featuring 52 awesome Adventure Clubs adventures in their city as well as child-focused stories, essays and poems from that local area or about that host company offering the experience. A parent can buy this book for their children and it becomes a family treasure as well as a commitment to their children to do 52 parent/child dates in a year. Throughout the year, they go on various adventures together in their city and check off those adventures in the book and can even take notes on what they did (like a journal component). We feel this will further help parents to go deep into that relationship with their child by turning away from screens and into real life, human experiences. For children, LOVE is spelled T-I-M-E and so for them, this is a gift that gives all year long.
Adventure Clubs experts have been featured on panels and stages, on radio and TV, newspapers and online journals. We seek to be the go-to experts for how to live adventurously with kids.
We must do this because it's a proven fact that 90% of a child's brain is developed before the age of 5, so what we do is literally life-defining. And what is more special than to share many of our children's "first" moments together as we explore the city around us?
Adventure Clubs make it easy for parents to live adventurously with young kids through quality time and intentional memory making, which leads to more well-rounded, happy children, stronger families, and more connected communities.
Who benefits? (1500 characters)
Parents WANT to spend time with their children, but they find it exhaustingly difficult to find unique experiences that are child-focused and yet stimulating for both parents and their children while providing education and socialization at the same time. Parents benefit because it's easy for them to browse the app and pick adventures, or change their RSVP any time, even cancel and get a full refund if their child gets sick or they have an emergency. Children benefit because they get time with mom or dad doing something really special while also building their development in many different ways.
Over 75% of millennial parents prefer experiences over "stuff", yet most companies fail to understand how to create human-centered experiences focused on young children. Adventure Clubs expert experience designers work with host companies / NGOs to create a unique adventure that families will love. This gives the host a chance to engage with their target market in a new way, fills slow days / hours with customers in their place, and gives them social media exposure through our media coverage of the adventure itself.
We have over three years of experience doing this for both sides of our market and are always learning how to serve them better. As a founder, I'm also the mother to four children who are all in our target market (under 10 years old). Nearly all of our staff have children in the target market well.
What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)
By 2023, we aim to bring Adventure Clubs to 50 cities across the US, serving 1,000,000 parents and young children sharing together 36 million hours of relationship building experiences and intentional memory making.
The average parent spends 34 minutes a day with their child and yet the number one indicator of the future happiness of an individual is found in the quality of their early childhood relationships. In the next five years, we will create opportunities for young children to be set up for long-term happiness and fulfillment because of the pathways we create for young families to spend quality time together. Change will require 3 key things: a path (adventures), an elephant (the app) and a rider (parent). The impact will be stronger, healthier children with deeper, richer relationships. The hands on experience with the world around them will mean a greater ability of understanding and perception.
Presently, we have 15,000 parents and young children who have shared 110,000 hours of relationship building experiences. Customer (parent) feedback says adventures created a common language with their children, helped with postnatal depression through the community formed, overcame loneliness, helped their child grow in self confidence, met families from different backgrounds and they've been enriched as a result. Adventures became a highlight of their week, took out the planning and stress on finding what to do and allowed them to spend quality time with their kids.
How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)
Being part of Adventure Clubs is open and free to anyone with a smartphone. Once a parent signs into the app and filters the experiences based on their current location, they will see a broad range of local adventures that range in activity, time, date, location, duration and price.
Every family, regardless of their socio-economic status, can contribute to the community by joining some of our free adventures or by publishing their own free adventure using the "create" button.
If a parent chooses to publish a free experience to the app, they can invite friends and family to join them. This "create" feature is free and allows families to always have community and support, even when family budgets are tight and other adventures we offer might out of reach financially.
We have developed hundreds of well-crafted, free adventure templates, which our Adventure Leaders can all browse and use to create free adventures on the app (or make up their own!)
Because we bring a group of people at a specific time and place to a local host, we get batter prices than their walk-in prices, making adventures more affordable for all.
Another beautiful way Adventure Clubs benefits children from low-income families is the cross-pollination with children from different socio-economic backgrounds. For children to meet others and share experiences together regardless of backgrounds means greater levels of empathy as their world of relationships is expanded from an early age.
Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)
Adventure Clubs is creating a new way of brands engaging with families. We bring innovation by creating experiences that didn't exist before and we invite families into a world of imagination and possibility where everything around them can be an adventure with them and their children.
We are helping parents share moments with their children that break out of the monotony and daily rhythms and innovate upon their own framework of educating, stimulating and socializing their little ones.
It's far superior to any idea list of things to do with kids. It's far better than kid's classes and drop-off play centers. We even believe it's better than early schooling, because at adventures, each child has their parent nurturing them as they explore the world.
Adventures move families into experiencing their city differently and as they do, they find an Adventure Clubs community that is widely diverse in background, yet like-minded in wanting to live adventurously with kids.
We co-create with our hosts and innovate new ways to leverage their domain expertise on behalf of local families by offering new group experiences. When our ECD creative team supports these hosts in co-creating the adventures we offer together at their premises, the hosts learn how to better serve families with small kids.
Adventures are hosted at places such as:
- solar energy plants
- urban gardens
- art studios
- animal farms
- symphonies and ballets
Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)
For any idea to scale, it has to address a deep human need. Why would Adventure Clubs reach a significant number of young parents enjoying quality time with their kids? Because our approach is intuitive. When we tell people what we are doing they say, "Yes! I get it! I can't believe it's not done already."
Usually when something receives this response, you know you're on to something big. We see this deep human need of parents is even more pronounced by the upcoming baby boom, rising childcare costs, more moms staying at home, flexible work schedules for working parents, more hands-on dads and a deep hunger to move beyond isolation and into community, especially during the critical early years.
Four million children are born each year in the US. Soon, 75 million millennials will have 75 million babies, with three-fourths preferring to spend money on experiences rather than on things.
Independent third parties have valued this market at $32B. Long-term financial sustainability is already built into the business model, and with greater operational efficiency and scale, the profits generated will allow Adventure Clubs to build even greater ways to fulfill our mission by helping families live adventurously in the early years of a child's life.
At scale, Adventure Clubs would serve 1% of a city population in each location where we have established communities. In a city of 1M, we will have over 10,000 parents, children, extended family going on adventures often!
Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)
Adventure Clubs began prototyping January 2015. After initial feedback validated the concept, we invited a small group of families to focus group the initial product offering. After five months of feedback loops, surveys, personal interviews and subsequent iterations, we encouraged early stage users to invite others. The only technology piece that enhanced our work at this point were free tools available to anyone: email, online forms, calendars and WhatsApp.
On a WhatsApp chat groups, we grew 5% a week for 20 weeks with no marketing and no advertising. Each week confirmed both the market need and demand for our service. During this time, we created the technology prototype that would automate much of the human processes that made Adventure Clubs a unique offering for families with young children. Seven months after design, user testing and intense focus groups, we released the first technology application February 2016 on the App Store and Google Play.
This was the minimum viable product that had five key functions: browse, rsvp, chat, filter, create. Four signifiant and subsequent technological product iterations have enhanced the user experience and continued to reduce friction, automated key tasks and freed up human and financial capital as we creating the scalable model and roll-out strategy for new markets.
At present, we have 15,000 parents and young children who have shared 110,000 hours of relationship building experiences. Every month, families open the app over 1M times and we have an average of 10M page views. On average, 20% of these users purchase an adventure.
Each city's required staffing is covered by a revenue share from adventures, generated by participating families. The subscription fee goes to headquarters to further develop the product and keep the platform running smoothly. Future plans are to grow into other US locations with the working, viable model.
Our technology platform can scale elastically with demand, and our distribution channels are accessible. Our intellectual property of crafted experiences allows scale and excellence.
Our human resources are a key part in the organization and we've split them into three important stratum: headquarters team, tech team and city team. Our HQ team focus on building a strong foundation in product, research and development, finance, HR, marketing, etc. Our tech team focuses on building and maintaining the code base for the app, web and servers. Our city teams focus on all things local to that city including finding hosts, training adventure leaders (up to 50), on-boarding families and ensuring excellence in service delivery.
We employ 52 staff members - an almost entirely part-time staff, most of whom are moms who work from home. This means the team knows and understands the product well and experiences it as a lifestyle for their family. This corporate culture keeps our overheads low as a company and empowers moms who want to stay home with their kids.
Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)
Our business model is based on a two-sided market; the more users on the app, the more adventures are created and the more adventures that are created, the more users will join the platform. As growth moves left and right, the value of Adventure Clubs grows.
As noted by the Harvard Business Review, the main challenge to get right in a two-sided market is pricing. The app is a free download on the App Store and Google Play Store. The user pays nothing to use the service. Our revenue model is simple. Every adventure is structured as a revenue share between the host company and Adventure Clubs. Hosts also allow the adventure leader and one child to go free in exchange for them co-leading the adventure. Then we also have an optional VIP Family Pass which gives families access to our best adventures and the best pricing on all adventures they RSVP to. This is a monthly subscription priced at $3 per month.
Here's an example: an art studio offers reduced session pricing of $15 including a two-for-one deal to Adventure Clubs families for a parent/child painting adventure. If 15 paying families participate on that adventure, $225 of revenue is generated. Adventure Clubs keeps $45 and pays the host $180. The adventure leader saves $15 since they go free in exchange for leading the experience.
Premium Adventures happen daily and simultaneously in each city with local Adventure Clubs families. On average, each city offers between 4 - 10 adventures per day.
HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)
All throughout the narrative above you would have seen human centered design, especially around prototyping, focus groups, user feedback loops, creating a model, focusing on a geographic location and building a team.
Other ways we've incorporated human centered design that may not be as apparent have been through:
Business Model Canvas
This has been valuable in both crafting and iterating on it. We're now on draft 15 and it's still a work in progress!
We've conducted over 200 one-on-one interviews with users of our service and invited their honest feedback.
We've conducted countless interviews from multiple subject matter experts in tech, experiences, building teams, running scalable systems and more.
We've done this with users formally in a specific gathering along with informally over forms and chat groups.
We've developed user journeys for users both in terms of technology and in person on the end point of our brand promise.
Built Upon feedback
The feedback loops are consolidated and synthesized, then we build better ways forward with that new information.
Created a model
Our initial models were rudimentary and lacked, but users saw past that!
With limited characters left, we've also:
Created mock-ups to test / Created role plays / Created stories to share / Defined feedback activities / Held weekly debriefs with our team members
Tell us more about you (3000 characters)
Simon Sinek's famous Ted Talk "Start With Why" explains that the "how" and "what" will come from there. This is the reason I wrote a four part blog series that tells the fuller story behind my "why" in starting this venture:
START-UP STORY BLOGS:
1) The Moment (https://www.adventureclubs.com/blog/the-moment/)
2) The Possibilities (https://www.adventureclubs.com/blog/the-possibilities/)
3) The Adventure (https://www.adventureclubs.com/blog/the-adventure/)
4) The Community (https://www.adventureclubs.com/blog/the-community/)
My inspiration for Adventure Clubs came out of a need I experienced firsthand as a mother. I want families to enjoy Adventure Clubs in the same way I do with my family every day.
Early childhood is filled with beauty, magic, wonder, delight, discovery. New little ones are being introduced to family, friends, community, nature, environment, all while learning and developing at a rapid rate. Study after study shows that investing our time and effort in early childhood has a huge impact on the trajectory of a person's life. This opportunity excites me!
Additionally, seeing the astonishing development taking place for a little one firsthand as a mother of children in this space means the work I do here has a direct impact into my own family, which is hugely rewarding personally and professionally.
My broader experience is one of entrepreneurship, capacity building, training and teaching. I started my first business was a bakery and my second business was a dance studio.
After university at Westmont College in California, I moved to Washington DC and worked in various consulting firms on ground-breaking peace negotiations among waring nations, and then on global health initiatives. Afterwards, I began training practitioners in the developing world to improve lives through entrepreneurship. Then I taught high school literacy in one of DC's toughest neighborhoods before co-founding a non-profit organization called Paradigm Shift, which serves microentrepreneurs in the developing world with access to education, training, mentoring and financial support.
For nine years, I was the Managing Director then Chief Strategist working on developing Paradigm Shift's training platform, volunteer program, mentoring program, business training program as well as our replication strategy. While helping successfully scale Paradigm Shift in 12 countries to over 75 locations with 25 staff and 1,000 volunteers, we have seen that impact over 8,000 African microentrepreneurs.
I had three beautiful daughters and started Adventure Clubs. After holding both positions at Paradigm Shift and Adventures Clubs in tandem, I made a bold choice to pursue Adventure Clubs full-time in 2016. In that second year of building Adventure Clubs, I had my fourth daughter and I now enjoy the balance of parenting and working while continuing to pursue intentional parenting while building a growing venture.
Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)
We partner with hosts which are companies, government services and NGOs. Business hosts range from local bakeries and art studios, to brands like Apple, Ferrari, Maker's Faire, and FuturePark. Government hosts could be fire or police stations, and NGO Hosts examples are urban gardens and animal rehabs. These hosts offer adventures, which we co-design with them.
We also partner with adventuring parents (usually 50 per city) who become our Adventure Leaders, co-hosting each experience.
As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)
We need more staff as we are growing so fast, specifically moms with expertise in Early Childhood Education who are home with their children at the moment and want to work part-time two to four hours a day. Email our HR Director, email@example.com, to initiate that conversation.
We need media connections to get the word out about what we are doing, not just about the app, but about the movement we are creating with regards to living adventurously with kids through planned, group experiences and how that benefits families, the city, and the businesses we work with. Email our Head of Marketing, Jedd, if you are interested in helping with this: firstname.lastname@example.org
We need hundreds of adventure host companies in each city where we work, and we have the ideas and expertise to co-design an adventure with them. If you are a potential host, email: email@example.com so we can direct you to the right city team designer.
We need 50 moms and dads in each city to be our Adventure Leaders, which is a chance to model leadership while exploring the world with your kids. Plus, you get to go for free to adventures when you lead! We are recruiting leaders in all our cities. If this is of interest, email our HR Director, Shelley: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Would you like mentoring support? [Relevant only for Early Submission Deadline]
If so, what type of mentoring support do you think you need? (1200 characters) [Relevant only for Early Submission Deadline]
N/A, submission past early submission deadline.
Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?
Yes, share my contact information
[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).
The two founders, Janelle Schroy and Jedd Schroy, lead the team at Adventure Clubs and they created this company out of a passion for creating epic childhoods for their four daughters.
This couple have started seven successful ventures previously. The latest was an international non-profit that scaled in 11 countries and 75 locations.
Janelle's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/janelle-schroy
Jedd's LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jedd-schroy
[Optional] Attachments: Please upload relevant attachments or graphics or show us how you prototyped.
This is an overall video we did of our first six months of prototyping.
More prototyping videos below!
MESSY PLAY ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
ENTREPRENEURSHIP ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
HEALTHY EATING & FOOD EXPLORATION ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
BOOK CLUB ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
FIRST AID & CPR ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
FAMILY OLYMPICS ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
RHYTHM & STORYTELLING ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
SPINE & NERVOUS SYSTEM ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
BAKING FROM SCRATCH ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
FLOWER CROWNS ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
FARMER FOR A DAY ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE
ART MUSEUM SCAVENGER HUNT ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
SCIENCE EXPERIMENT ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
SUPERHERO TRAINING ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
SURFING & SEA SAFTEY ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
HOW THINGS ARE MADE: TEA ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
TRAMPOLINING ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
PLAYDOUGH ON LOCATION ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA & INSTRUMENT MEETING ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
DINOS & PALEONTOLOGY ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
OBSTACLE COURSE ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
HOW THINGS ARE MADE: GLASSBLOWING ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
ALICE IN WONDERLAND ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE (CLASSIC LITERATURE SERIES):
FARM ANIMALS ADVENTURE PROTOTYPE:
Here is a quick look at the inside of Adventure Clubs where parents and kids (ages 6 months - 10 years old) are exploring their world together on adventures all over their cities. These children are experiencing the most important gift a parent could give them - their time. We make it easy for families to spend quality time with their children while exposing them to animals, creative activities, the environment, museums and culture, sports, and more! What a way to learn as a young child!
[Optional] Video: You are invited to submit a 30-60 second video that introduces you and/or your team and your idea.
Here is a video introducing the Adventure Clubs app and how it works: