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November Project

The November Project is a free fitness movement that uses social media to build a powerful community of active people all over the country

Photo of Maddie Wiener
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it inspire the end user to lead a healthier life?

Anyone who is inspired to wake up early in the morning and workout with an energized community! I'm specifically exploring ways to engage various socioeconomic and multicultural groups.

I recently graduated from college and moved to San Francisco. As a DI soccer player in college, sports were always the way that I worked out, stayed fit, and got outside.  Sports were also always at the center to my social life and friend group. But after moving to a new city and no longer playing competitive sports, I was looking for ways to stay in shape, be outside and meet new friends. So that’s when I found the November Project.  

The November Project is a free fitness movement that was born in Boston, Massachuttes during the cold winter months. Now it is present in multiple cities across the U.S. and uses verbal accountability to motivate and encourage people of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels to wake up early in the morning 3x per week and work out with a whole group of motivated people. It uses the slogan “Just show up!” Some cities have had up to 300 attendees just for one workout!

I initially learned about this because a friend of mine was tagged on Facebook in one of the November Project San Francisco photos from an early morning Monday Workout.  There were pictures of people sprinting up hills, doing pushups, and standing with their hands on their head gasping for air. But then there were also people smiling, high-fiving, clapping and cheering people on, and enthusiasticly hugging post-workout.  These pictures began to pop up all over my Facebook after every workout and I was totally intrigued. I did want to show up! Their photos and social media presence made workouts look engaging, fun, and also tough - exactly what I was looking for. 

So I checked out their website and watched their video and was even more intrigued.  The November Project is a free event and is described as “a word of mouth thing, a social media thing.”  They have been able to create this community by word of mouth and from their dominant and memorable presence on social media.  They have 909 posts and 14.4k followers on Instagram, nearly 25k followers on Facebook, hundreds of eventbright activities, 13.k followers on Twitter and over 20,000 youtube views.  The “tribe” that they’ve created is incredible and also quite visible.  

I’m so impressed with the way that the November Project has built out their community by using the power of technology.  How can we expand their community to tap into ALL socioeconomic and multicultural groups? 

I’m imagining using other social media tactics to extend their community and reach an even larger and more diverse crowd.  What other social media or technological tools could we activate to engage even more community members? 

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

As a November Project attendee in San Francisco, I would tap into diverse socioeconomic and multicultural groups and see if they would be interested in attending. I could interview them, build relationships, and get them to come to one workout.

What skills, input or guidance are you keen to connect with from the OpenIDEO community to help you build out or refine your idea?

Are there any networks in San Francisco that I can leverage and see if they'd be interested in attending an early morning workout?


Join the conversation:

Photo of Ahmed Rub

My roommate starts running every Saturday with group in san francisco downtown (it doesn't matter how long you run just show up kinda of thing) , cool thing about the group yesterday he got t-shirt from them in our mail, it is thoughtful and way to spread the word !.

Photo of MelissaRichSkehan

In the early '90s in NY and other metro areas, many large banks and large companies were involved in the Corporate Challenge, an Olympic like sporting event benefiting cystic fibrosis. Corporations sponsored teams. Participation was great because employers condoned and even encouraged the teamwork and exercise. Are there ways to encourage employers of low and middle income folks from more "stagnant" backgrounds to incentivize participation in something akin to the November Project? Great way to forge community interactions. Have seen coverage of early morning "raves" in SF and silicon valley - seems to attract the high tech workers - getting huge participation. Perhaps focus something similar on a different target market?

Photo of Joanna Spoth

COOL, Maddie! I wasn't sure how you were going to suggest twisting the November Project, but I love where you're headed, especially this bit: "I’m imagining using other social media tactics to extend their community and reach an even larger and more diverse crowd. What other social media or technological tools could we activate to engage even more community members? "

What do we know about people who are NOT currently participating that we could draw upon? What are the incentives that make the existing movement successful? I think the ENERGY behind the November Project is one of the most powerful things. How could we leverage the awesome & motivated individuals to get diverse groups involved?

Photo of Shane Zhao

Thanks for the post Maddie, November Project in the house:) It's pretty amazing to consider that so many people are willing to wake up before dusk 3x a week to participate in this movement - and a movement it is! There are definitely some great lessons that can be learned from this phenomenon. It makes me wonder how there can be a synergy between the November project and Andre's outdoor exercise idea: Thanks for the share Maddie. Let's see how our community will build on this!