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Rider Meets Driver

App feature that fosters meaningful connections between drivers and riders by matching common interests & inspiring genuine conversations.

Photo of Nicole Sorci
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Drivers are often not seen as real human beings, but rather as service providers. Rider Meets Driver aims to humanize drivers and promote a larger amount of meaningful connections between drivers and their passengers by matching both parties' common interests through personalized profiles. 

Each driver and each rider has a profile built into the ride-sharing app, where they list hobbies, interests, and favorite conversation topics. Once the driver accepts a ride, both the driver and passenger will get a visual alert showing what they have in common, aimed at inspiring conversation. 

Helping drivers and riders get to know one another will facilitate more engaging conversation and genuine interest in the human side of drivers.

User Testing + Feedback

Idea Title

Rider Meets Driver

How the Idea will inspire the experience and expression of gratitude within an organization.

Drivers told us that sincere conversations with riders about mutual interests are the highlights of their shift. These connections, however, are rare. Drivers mention they are uneasy about starting a conversation with a complete stranger. Our idea makes it easier for drivers and riders to initiate authentic conversations about mutual interests, which will inspire more gratitude. Once the driver fills out their profile, Rider Meets Driver does the rest. A simple alert will display which will remove the effort and anxiety around starting conversations and finding common ground. Drivers and riders knowing they have common interests will humanize the experience and create a more enjoyable ride.

Who are you innovating for?

Ride-share drivers & their employers. Our concept humanizes drivers and helps them feel acknowledged and appreciated by their riders, and also creates a better riding experience. When employees feel valued, it benefits both them and the company, as they are more likely to stay with the company when they don't feel replaceable.

What type of workplaces are you innovating for?

Independent gig workers that drive for a ride-share company all over the world. Where a corporation employs gig workers and their success depends on it.

How you envision the Idea being introduced to your selected organization?

We have already started taking action on this by meeting with a major ride-share company to share our ideas and start building a potential partnership. They are willing to continue to provide feedback on our development, as they were intrigued by our research. With additional user testing we can continue to refine the prototype and develop a more high fidelity prototype that could then be used to foster further support from potential partners.

What obstacles, if any, do you foresee in implementing this Idea, and how would they be overcome?

Ensuring buy-in from the company, that they are willing to invest the time and resources to incorporate this idea into their existing software. This will be overcome by conducting studies that show how this idea will benefit their company.

How will you test and prototype your solution?

Iterate on current designs to be higher fidelity. Create an enhanced prototype. Contact employees at ride-share companies that have access to drivers and ask them to post an ad about testing our prototype for a minimal compensation. Get feedback and iterate.

What immediate next steps will you take if you receive an implementation grant.

First we would continue to improve a mock-up of Rider Meets Driver and test our prototype with additional drivers/riders. Then gather and synthesize the feedback, and iterate on our prototype. Once we have a final prototype, the next step would be to contact the selected organization for additional support. The opportunity to work with mentoring organizations would greatly help develop the prototype as well as how to communicate the benefits of gratitude in the workplace when pitching our idea.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Prototyping: You have conducted some small tests or experiments with prospective users and will continue developing idea through these tests.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Our initial concept emerged from an OpenIDEO SF Chapter Ideation Meeting. After some initial user research, we were impacted by drivers saying things like, "when they [riders] are all on their phones I feel invisible, like just part of the machinery to get them from place to place." This inspired us to come up with a solution that will humanize the drivers.

Tell us about yourself

Members of OpenIDEO SF Chapter

Where are you / your team located?

San Francisco, CA, USA

Please describe, in detail, how you will test and get feedback on your concept.

We tested our concept by observing several drivers engage with the prototype. Drivers gave us verbal on-the-spot feedback on every screen they saw. The main takeaways from our initial user testing were that drivers are more motivated by connecting with their passengers and improving the ride experience than improving their ratings. Additionally we found that even though a profile feature already exists in ride share apps, hardly anyone fills it out because it is open-ended and requires too much effort. This led us to emphasize creating a profile feature that is simple and easy to fill out. We are actively building partnerships with ride share companies to get feedback on our idea from a business perspective. We also plan on leveraging these connections to further test our idea on a larger sample of drivers and get feedback from them. We will test in a similar manner as we already did.

Please describe specifically how you plan to scale your idea. What are the key next steps you will take, and how will those steps inform the evolution and growth of your concept?

Our immediate next step will be to continue refining our prototype and testing it on more users. Once we bring our prototype to the level of Minimum Viable Product, we will work with ride-share companies to pursue them to get our feature piloted and tested on a sample of randomly selected drivers. The next crucial step will be gathering data from this pilot. We will take a look at how many drivers started to use our feature, and then ask those who did to complete a survey measuring their work satisfaction and how appreciated they feel. We will compare it with answers to the same survey from randomly selected drivers who did not participate in the pilot to see if there is a significant difference. Assuming positive feedback from the pilot, the feature will be implemented company-wide.

As we have seen in the Challenge, there is a tension between authentic expressions of gratitude and mandatory gratitude. How does your idea inspire truly authentic expressions of gratitude versus mandated ones?

Drivers feel that they receive gratitude when their riders treat them as humans, rather than service providers. Drivers enjoy when riders engage in a conversation and express appreciation towards the drivers. Our solution does not force riders to engage in certain behaviors, but rather aims to change riders' perspective on drivers. When riders are exposed the human side of drivers, it is natural for them express gratitude towards them.

Gratitude often thrives when opportunities for connection are created. How will your concept create new opportunities for human connection?

Human connection is at the very core of our idea. Our solution uses connection between drivers and riders as a vehicle to foster gratitude. The connection between drivers and riders is created through common interests.

Who (specifically) will benefit from your concept, and how they will interact with it? What design considerations have you included to ensure easy and intuitive interactions? 

Our users are drivers of ride-share services. They will interact with our solution within the framework of an existing ride-share app. As we were developing our prototype and performing testing, we tested several value proposition and picked the one that users responded to most positively. We also got users feedback on how they usually get updates in their apps and adjusted our prototype accordingly. Additionally, we got feedback on what would be the most convenient and least distracting way for drivers to get notifications about common interests.

Please describe how you intend to use the prize funding, if selected as a Top Idea. Be specific.

We would use the funding towards sponsoring the development of a higher fidelity prototype, as well as to fund more comprehensive user testing.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Flor De la Mora

I think this is a great idea! I even think it could go both ways and make both, the driver and rider feel a sense of gratitude. I've heard of friends who get low ratings for little things like closing the door too hard, which may have not even been intentional on their part, but maybe riding with drivers you can build a connection with for a couple minutes can humanize both users involved.

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