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Less - make recycling a social and collective effort.

A mobile app that converts our recycling actions into points that are ranked against friends and communities on a social platform.

Photo of Kaye Han
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Explain your idea in one sentence

A social platform that helps motivate users to recycle more by tracking user progress with a point system, providing social competition with friends, showing collective impact among selected communities, and giving reminders.

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The app has three main goals:

  1. Track the recycling progress of each individual and reward points for each good action (such as donating clothes).
  2. Put each user into a rank (competition) among their friends and communities - weekly/monthly goal targets and award badges for certain milestones.
  3. Show the collective recycling impact by aggregating data into user created groups called 'communities' that displays recycling progress in an understanable context (e.g. 1 million plastic bottles). Users can make these 'communities' public or invite-only, this works well when the 'communities' represent real-world groups such as work, family, school alumni, physical neighbourhoods, clubs, etc. This works great for international companies who have offices all around the world, users can join the 'Coca-Cola Community' and play a part in that company's global collective recycling effort. 



USER JOURNEYS:

Rebecca is like most people and doesn't really think much about the environment; with recent news she has grown increasingly worried about the sustainability of our world but really doubts that recycling at home will have any real impact. She sees friends posting their Less scores on Facebook and decides to download the app to see what the fuss is about. She joins her Facebook friend's 'community' on Less and sees that in the pass month they have collectively recycled over 3 tonnes of paper which is the equivalent of growing 51 trees! She now understands that if everyone does their small part it adds up to a huge impact - Rebecca is competitive by nature and starts to recycle religiously with Less to compete with friends. 


Jeremy wants to recycle more and more but he's not really sure of his progress or how he compares to his friends. He hears from a mate that there's an app that works similar to NikeFuel which tracks your progress and puts it in context with the communities around you. He downloads it and notices that he's actually recycling less than most of his friends by 20%! He then learns from the friends feed of how other people are recycling and picks up tips from the suggestions section - such as colour-coding his bins at home. Jeremy now always has a goal of how much to recycle each month, which is to always stay above average among his friends and communities. 


Kelly is a year 11 high school student and her school has started a competition to see which year group recycles more. The winning year group not only gets bragging rights across the whole school, but they also win free-dress day passes, discount at the canteen, excursions to the local waste facilities, etc. They use Less to create 'year group communities' on the platform to track the progress and allow each student to see the scores in real-time. Kelly has a little brother in year 8 and would not be able to live it down if she lost and is doing everything she can to get the year 11s to win. In pursuit of this initial goal, Kelly starts to build great recyling habits for the future. 


 

HURDLE TO OVERCOME:

Data input is the biggest hurdle to jump. Smartphones have automatic sensors for things such as travel distance which makes it easy for apps such as the Nike Fuelband to work because it requires no concious effort on the user's part. It is incredibly important to make the data entry as easy/seamless as possible as nobody wants an extra task in their lives (especially when recycling is already seen as one).


When it comes to recycling, it is difficult to have that action's data automatically input to the app. For example, it's very difficult to know how much paper I recycled in my home this week, or if I donated 20 articles of old clothing. Some potential workarounds; 1. weighing the waste by putting a scale under the bin. 2. scanning items via barcode. 3. selecting items from a pre-made list (e.g. 3 bags, 10kg paper, 20 bottles, etc.).


If people have any ideas regarding this, please write a comment below - I would love to hear from you! :)

 

IMPLEMENTATION

Less's success requires its user base to reach a point of critical mass; it needs to overcome the 'chicken-and-egg' problem that all platforms encounter in the early phases of growth. In the beginning, Less will partner with schools who already have focus on improving their student's awareness on sustainability and recycling. It will help by creating a custom competition program for each school and explanation material to be passed out to teachers/students. Hopefully the schools will make it mandatory for students to partake in the program. For example, it will create a 1 month competition for the High School to see which year group recycles the most while arming the teachers with information on how to recycle better at home to teach the students. This will enable large groups of real-life connected users (friends/schoolmates) to join the Less platform and immediately interact with each other on the network. During the month of competition the students will learn new ways to recycle and subconsciously develop habits around the home (influencing other family members). Less's activities such as badge achievements will be pushed onto Facebook/Twitter to further solidfy it into the social space. 


Another element to improve the Less adoption in the beginning is to partner with companies also in the fight to improve recycling, and provide rewards to the school competition programs (such as recycled plastic bottle companies providing plastic for 3D printing). An example could be sponsorship with method (sustainability focused cleaning products) on providing its products as rewards for the competitions. 


After targeting schools, Less can also move towards targeting large international companies with a focus on corporate social responsibility; Coca-Cola and IDEO are both great examples to start. By aiming for large groups of related-users, it allows for higher traction in the beginning as new users already have real-life connections on the platform (similar to Facebook's university strategy). This gives Less diversity in its user base and lower barriers to adoption as it's initial users are actually encouraged by their organisations/schools to participate. 

Describe how your idea would help form new habits and improve recycling at home

Habits often require motivation that is beyond an individual's ability to muster alone - especially for mundane tasks like recycling. By making recycling a social experience it not only motivates by showing the collective greater impact, it also directly encourages each person to do more through peer-pressure. By allowing users to create/join their own communities, they stay constantly connected to the people who matter to them - and ultimately can influence them.

How might you design an early, lightweight experiment to further develop your idea?

Use app prototyping tools such as Flinto (thanks Nathan) or Proto.io to create interactive wireframes that users can navigate through. Use interviews to solicit feedback on how to improve the platform to provide more motivation and social interaction. Observe when users would decide to open the app compared to when users actually are in the action of recycling.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input of our OpenIDEO community?

What kinds of recycling/sustainability actions do you think this app should record? What is the best way to have the user's actions recorded by the app? E.g. how should the app record how many plastic bottles I recycled this week at home? Besides ranking, weekly goal targets, and badges - are there any other effective motivational tools to use on this social platform?

Evaluation results

15 evaluations so far

1. How well do you think this idea will create new habits for the people involved?

Really well. I can see it creating lasting behavioural changes - 33.3%

The idea is pretty good but I’m not sure it will make new habits - 60%

Not sure the idea would really help people establish long-lasting habits - 6.7%

2. Can the idea be scaled to work in different countries and with different people?

Yes – it’s clear how the idea could be adopted by people from far and wide - 53.3%

Seems like it could work but needs some fleshing out - 33.3%

I don’t think it could be easily used in different locations - 13.3%

3. Can the idea be used regardless of the local recycling schemes?

Yes – it doesn’t seem to rely on a particular collection scheme - 57.1%

Possibly – although it might work better under some schemes rather than others - 28.6%

I think it might only work under particular circumstances - 14.3%

4. How easy would it be to pilot a version of the idea to test it out?

Really easy – ways to test this idea further are already springing to mind - 40%

Piloting this idea would be possible but it could take a lot of time and resources - 53.3%

A pilot doesn’t seem easy at this point - 6.7%

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

It rocked my world - 26.7%

I liked it but preferred others - 66.7%

It didn’t get me too excited - 6.7%

63 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Thi Mui Nguyen
Team

Hi Rob,
This is such a great idea. I really believe that this app could be a success! Just compare to the success of apps that calculate calories when exercising. People want to know how much they are improving. Moreover, the best part of this idea is the innovative thinking of making recycling to a social trend! Good luck!

Photo of Khanh Ngo
Team

I agree with you. This is a feasible idea. People love to spend their free point and protecting their earth at the same time. By using this app they know what they can do, how can they recycle stuffs and getting point through doing that. I really want 1 of those app in my phone

Photo of Roshni Patel
Team

The great thing about making this social is that it's prone to instill recycling habits in people at an early age (since kids/teens/young adults are the most social media savvy people right now). Also, younguns love games and competitions.

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Way to go Rob! I've really enjoyed seeing this evolve over the last few months. Can't wait to see where you go from here.

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

And I finally stumbled that link I told you about ages ago. LEED enables buildings occupants of a building to track the building's energy consumption again five different factors ( energy, waste, transportation, water, and human experience)
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3030896/innovation-by-design/ideos-digital-scoreboard-reveals-how-leed-buildings-really-behave

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hey Jes, thanks so much for the support! You've constantly been providing lots of positive feedback and great suggestions since the beginning, so I'd really like to thank you for that. Also congratulations on your ideas being selected among the winners as well! :)

Cheers for sending across that link, I just read through the article and am impressed. Hope to see that plaque get to be installed in more and more buildings - the design is really nice. Definitely something that provides more food for thought for Less.

Photo of Prashant Rao
Team

I rate this as one of the best ideas presented . As one gets more users and communities hooked on the App the data will flow. Recognition for Green efforts and a direct link to the benefit achieved are powerful motivators to participation. Getting the sponsorship of schools in their hobby clubs and sponsored drives by Corporate CSR programs will boost this concept. It can work through social media . Forming clubs and having joint actitivities should make it a fun experience.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Prashant, I'm very glad to receive such praise for the project - thank you very much! Also thanks for the suggestions. :)

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Rob, congratulations on your winning idea! Much like the ‘Cycle Up’ idea, we like how it helps motivate users to recycle by tracking their progress with a point system and provides social competition within communities. It may be worth testing how best to engage communities in competition. Perhaps it could be piloted in a university or workplaces? We’re excited to see what’s next for the Less App, Rob. Make sure you share any impact updates with the community once the Impact phase goes live – we’d love to hear them. Congrats again!

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Thank you so much for selecting Less as a winning idea! This really means a lot and has helped immensely so far with the refinement of the project. :)

Apologies for the delayed response, it has been incredibly busy at my workplace. I will make sure to take your feedback regarding community competition into the refinement loop - once there's notable progress I'll post something up! Again, I'm very happy that this was a selected idea and really appreciate all the support from the OpenIDEO community!

Photo of Paul Reader
Team

Congratulations Rob.
Although I don't have a smartphone or tablet I shall follow the progress here through OpenIDEO.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Cheers, Paul! Appreciate it mate!

Photo of Leigh Cullen
Team

Super job Rob & congrats! I've enjoyed this idea from the start. When it's ready for iOS, count me in -- I'll definitely download! ...Leigh

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hi Leigh, thank you so much for the support - it certainly helps when those tough hurdles approach! :)

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Great updates, Rob! Have you managed to try any aspect of the app out with potential end users?

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Thanks Meena! The UX and UI has been tested and it's mostly positive results so far - easy to understand and navigate. The graphs and visuals used to communicate 'world impact' has been well-received as it gives users understandable context to their recycling actions. The issue is that in order for a true Less prototype to be tested, many difficult elements need to be created; this includes the data input system (like syncing with a wifi-enabled bin), an algorithm to calculate points and then into 'impact', etc.

The easiest way to do data input at this point is the manual system; selecting from a list such as 'donated 17 pieces of clothing'. It's straight-forward but not 'seamless' and requires more conscious effort. The goal is still to find great ways to aggregate the data automatically without the user needing to do a single thing, so the electronic weighing scale idea that a few others have is something that works really well in conjunction with Less.

Photo of Saskia Baard
Team

Hi Rob, nice idea. Two quick thoughts:
Would it be possible to integrate this idea into an existing social network / other platform? Your app does seem quite specific , but it might be an easier way for people to immediately engage with it.
I understand you want to use the peer pressure to get people to recycle more, but what will the initial incentive be for people to download and use the app / join the network?

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hi Saskia, great questions! Firstly, I definitely feel there can be integration with other social networks but not in its entirety. E.g. we can utilise the API of Facebook to have users login to Less via their fb account and then have updates posted throughout the newsfeed - this helps with easy sign ups and exposure to new users. Initially I'm not inclined to completely integrate with another network because the vision of this project is on enabling people to easily lead a sustainable lifestyle. So brand conflict is one thing, then function is another. What are your thoughts, did you have another platform in mind?

Your second question is also good one. The first incentive is to gain the ability to track how much impact you are having on the world - initially in terms of recycling, but it can also be so much more. E.g. how much electricity you save per month, water bills, walking instead of taking a car, bringing your thermos to the coffee shop instead of using their disposable, and the list goes on. These are all sustainable actions that can be tracked/award points by the system that shows your sustainability progress and put in the context of your friends/neighbours/network. The second incentive I did not go in-depth yet because I did not want to complicate the idea but it's in the form providing new information/ways to the user of how to be more sustainable. An example of spreading information/events: Starbucks actually discounts your coffee if you bring your own cup. An example of corporate sponsorship: if Nike suddenly released a new shoe made entirely out of sustainable materials, the app can be an exposure platform for these items. Did you have any ideas regarding initial incentive? Would love to get your feedback! :)

Photo of Paul Reader
Team

The idea is great, as indeed were the others that had the same essential elements.
In addition to Saskia's questions how might we ensure the app really reflects actual recycling.?
As with the similar concepts in the challenge I would like to see such an app incorporate the capacity for monetisation of recycling efforts. This would not be an either or situation but I believe such a system requires the means to corroborate the veracity of the data being collected.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hi Paul, thanks for your comment. Indeed there is going to be the problem of dishonesty, however my thought is that users have no real motivation to be dishonest with the system as long as there's no money involved. This is because the whole purpose of the app is to try to live more sustainable and keep recycling; to lie is simply to lie to yourself. That obviously moves into your second point (monetization) which is a very difficult thing for implementation and auditing. At this point I think it's best to leave this aspect out of the development due to the complexity, but it's a possibility in the future. Did you have a particular idea on how to incorporate money into this system, I assume rewards?

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Fantastic idea...a bit of healthy competition is a great motivating factors..also good to be able to quantify your recycling efforts.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Thanks for the comment, Ashegan. Appreciate it!

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Nice job on your Top 25 idea, Rob. We’re in awe of your awesome visualisations and the way you’ve communicated your very well thought out idea. It feels very current, and moving forward in Refinement, you might want to look at similar apps in the health space for engaging communities and creating peer based change. The Ground Miles Bupa app is a good analogy, and was created on the back of one of the ideas in our Healthy Workplace challenge. We’d like you to consider how you’d best recruit a wide range of users, as well as keeping the app engaging and fresh. There are a couple of other social influence apps and community leaderboards in the Top 25 shortlist, so as always we’d encourage you all to collaborate and share your findings, particularly around data-input. We’re very excited to see where you’re headed with this, already very fleshed out idea – well done! For more tips for this Refinement phase, check out http://ideo.pn/re-refine-tips and catch our Lowdown on Refinement at http://bit.ly/oi_refine

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Thank so much, OpenIDEO! I really appreciate all the advice and feedback on how to improve, will definitely take them all into consideration moving forward. The Ground Miles Bupa app definitely has many similarities with what we're trying to do, thanks for bringing that to light. :)

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

I'm loving the user stories Rob!

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Cheers, Jes. :)

Photo of Zach Dierberg
Team

Hey! I really like the level of thought you've put into this! I think this is a great way to get current recyclers get even better, as well as a great platform to motivate kids right away to better quantify their environment impacts! Since the data collection will will require more effort by people than just recycling, perhaps you could incentivize people with a large community kickoff goal. I liked the visual you mentioned of 1,000,000 plastic bottles. It would be cool if that couple be a neighborhood/community challenge and they could see their contributions towards the goal in realtime (i.e., I recycled bottle # 127,543). Keep up the awesome job!

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hi Zach, that's a really great suggestion - thank you so much for that! It'd be a lot of fun to know which number 'bottle' you contributed - maybe we can add a random lottery in the mix so that if you contribute the winning bottle number you get extra points or a badge. Yes, I agree with the kids thought. I think this app could be very effective when used to motivate kids, especially since they're quite competitive and peer-influenced. I added the user journey of 'Kelly' above to explain how I see this working in high schools. I really appreciate the great thoughts and support, Zach! :)

Photo of Rakesh Prabhu
Team

Hello Rob, your idea is very much familiar to modern time (Smartphone age) task implementation, that's by designing an app! However, the only challenge that I see is the cost that's involved in this recycle process (Chain); basically, to maintain the statistics of everyone's contribution toward recycle process.
Because when we say a social app, scanning provision for each recyclable material that's involved in the process, and etc. This adds cost, and which might hamper the efficiency of recycle process as a whole.
Definitely there is a way out for this, and I’m looking forward for this idea to grow, all the best.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hi Rakesh, I'm not entirely sure what you mean by 'scanning provision' for each recyclable material? At this current point, the idea doesn't involve any scanning of materials but I'm probably misunderstanding you - care to explain further? I'm not a back-end developer so I'm unsure of the complexities of designing a social platform, so thanks for the enlightenment.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

Hi Rob, your idea is perfect. the way of how to recycle more efficiently could added in the App. People could exchange the ways of how to recycle waste that could be helpful for the householder. Further more when someone think something is not useful for themselves and regard them as waste, they could take some picture of those thing and put them on this App. may be the waste is useful for the others. In this situation the app is also an exchange platform for people to collect something which is useful for some specific people. This is my through towards your idea.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hi Fangqiang, thanks for the suggestions! The first one is actually already illustrated into the app on the 'slide-out menu' image, the user can either use the feed to understand how others are recycling or go straight into the tips section. The second suggestion you have is a great idea as well, cheers.

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

I like the profile page!

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Cheers Rachit! Glad you like the design.

Photo of Priyanka Kodikal
Team

Hi Rob! What a great idea and beautifully designed as well. i'd love to use a version of this app for recycling champions as a motivation tool and also collect points, etc. Looking forward to seeing an interactive prototype.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hey Priyanka, thanks for the comment and glad to hear you like the design! :) Yes it'll be exciting to move on to an interactive prototype so people can having something to play with.

Photo of Karoline K
Team

Great collaboration guys, it's awesome to see that you're thinking about how ideas can either merge or inspire one another. And mega props to the detailed visualisations, Rob! Priyanka Recycling Champions idea http://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/ideas/community-recycling-champions has a great user scenario describing what happens when you become a recycling champ. Perhaps you could write or visualise how and why people engage with your app?

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hi Karoline, thanks for the comment - I really appreciate it. Yes, I've now finished three user journey scenarios for the app usage and updated the idea. Hopefully they illustrate the engagement process clearly enough. :)

Photo of DeletedUser
Team

DeletedUser

wow... Rob... This idea is awesome. This app will bring motivation among the community to put more effort for recycling. I'd love to use that . Looking forward to see the prototype.

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hey Rob and Shermaine - such a great idea (and fantastic mock ups of the app!!!)

With regards to automatic data input, could you design sensors that sit inside the bin to measure weight or entry? I agree that the barriers to inputting this data manually are really high - which means that people will probably loose interest really quickly.

With respect to what the app should track - is there anyway that you could link it up to purchasing information so that it can track % of recycling / reducing the amount of packaging you are purchasing? You could potentially hook up the system to customer loyalty schemes / other data points that aggregate purchasing decisions to get this data. That way you can encourage the people who recycle a high % of their purchased packaging (and not just the individuals with the highest amount) and you could also reward people for reducing their use of packaging materials.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Thanks Jes, glad you like the mock-ups. :)

Yes, sadly the data input is most certainly the largest barrier - which is why I'm really trying to think of innovative ways to enter the data automatically. Sensors inside bins to measure weight is an interesting idea, it could possibly work for apartment complexes where an entire floor shares the bin. Maybe you enter your room number, throw in the recyclable waste, it measures the difference in total weight, and voila - you're given points automatically.

That's a very interesting idea you have regarding customer loyalty schemes - I see this working really effectively in the groceries realm as most recyclable waste that is constant comes from there. I think tracking the purchasing information isn't difficult (like you mentioned by utilising the customer loyalty schemes already in place), the main issue still remains in how are we going to measure the total amount recycled in the end? Maybe it can be as simple as tracking how many bags of recycling waste do you throw out compared to regular waste?

Originally our big idea for this app stemmed from tracking all sustainable life decisions we make each day - not just recycling. For example: you get points for taking the train to work, but even more points if you walk - this data can be aggregated automatically via phone sensors. Also if you spend less money on your electricity bill compared to the previous month, you'll also be awarded points. There's lots of actions each day that can be incorporated into this social point system - letting the user know their progress, impact, and putting it all into a social interactive setting aims to provide constant motivation throughout each day.

Huge idea, but it's probably best to start small and with a strong focus on recycling. Keep the ideas coming! :)

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hey Rob - these guys are also thinking of using sensors to track recycling data: http://www.openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/ideas/do-to-trashcans-what-nest-did-for-thermometers#c-0b5a37bc2c7f039ceed54c28073e35b9 Maybe you should hook up?

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

In response to your comments:

You could also include sensors in the bins you use inside your apartment. That way you don't have to rely on the apartment complex to include the technology. I always forget about the perils of apartment living (although I do live in a share house, so tracking individual input would probably be impossible).

Alternatively, you could pull away from an individual score to creating building scores, so apartment buildings compete against each other. It would be easier to quantify recycling behaviour as you could use aggregate scores. Individuals would then receive a cut of the building's score. This could encourage community participation (although it would require a certain critical mass to get going). Individuals could also collectively participate in their building's sustainability quest by signing up to different pledges - eg: cycling rather than driving to work for two weeks etc. which could add to the building and individual's score. I remember seeing a video on the inter webs about design company who created a building wide sustainability tracker. I'll try and find it.

Another idea is to enable individuals to pledge commitment to certain causes (eg: zero waste challenge scores / pledging not to use plastics for a week / pledging to recycle all paper / glass / plastic etc for a month). You could rate the difficulty of the pledges and then give points accordingly. People could add to the platform by blogging about their struggles / pain pints - which in turn could raise awareness about the issues that need to be fixed within a process.

With regards to using the customer loyalty schemes data - I don't think it is desirable to then use the supermarkets as a recycling end point - no body wants to lug their recycling back to the supermarket. I just thought that it would be a great way to get a basic snapshot of a person's packaging consumption. Although this will never capture all of the waste a person consumes, it would be a great starting point.

I really like your idea about a holistic sustainability tracker. I've always been someone who responds to fixing the whole problem rather than focusing on discrete elements. I think it will be really difficult to define the metrics you want to judge against. Eg: how do you judge recycling behaviour vs. energy usage. But is sounds like an incredible challenge.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Thanks so much for the trash can sensor link, Jes! I commented on the idea already.

I think you and I are probably very similar - I much prefer looking at the system holistically and trying to solve a root problem rather than a small problem which is actually the symptom of a larger problem. You're right, coming up with the algorithm to decide how many points should go towards what kind of action will require a huge amount of considerations. I don't want to compare it's complexity to SEO and SERPs, but it'll start off simple and get more complex through learning - it'll never be perfect.

You make a good point about building scores; my thoughts regarding that is to have a function where users can create a 'community/group' and it essentially aggregates the data of all users who have joined it. So if I created a 'community' for my workplace and have all my colleagues join, I can see the progress according to that data set. And maybe I can create another 'community' for the suburb that I live in, etc.

Love the pledge idea, definitely something that can be incorporated too. I think this is a great way to crowd-source more sustainability lifestyle 'actions' so that people can learn from the app. I myself want to be more sustainable but often just don't know how.

Right now the focus still on removing the barriers to data entry, so that trash can sensor idea you referenced to me is awesome. In regards to customer loyalty schemes, I was referring more towards utilising it's data in the app rather than dealing with physical recycling activities. E.g. I buy $120 worth of groceries from Coles, the app figures out roughly how much 'recyclable waste' there is, and then gives you a goal to recycle that amount of 'points' for home. Wild idea, so yeah not worth thinking about right now I suppose haha.

I'll try and update the idea more as I get more free time, I really appreciate the feedback btw. Please keep it coming! :)

Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hey Rob - you hit the nail on the head, I really like tackling problems holistically too.

I agree that you will need to start small when you create a 'sustainability' score. That way you can experiment to see what works. It's such a complex area. Perhaps you don't have to aggregate your score into one number, but instead have multiple sub scores. This means that you don't have to translate efforts between areas. Eg: you could have a recycling score, a transportation score, an energy use score etc. You could even break down scores into sub-scores: Eg: for recycling, could be broken down into how much energy you saved / how much raw material you saved / how much material you diverted from landfill etc. This could also a great way to communicate what the impacts of recycling are and give people a 'why'. It could also help people appreciate that sustainability impacts upon every action they take (especially if it links you to information about how you could recycle etc. better). In this respect, it may make people more mindful (and perhaps change their behaviour - although, you have to be careful not to overwhelm people).

The downside of a system with multiple scores is that the information is much more difficult to digest (and compete against each other). Perhaps it could look like the OpenIDEO DQ score - so you have individual scores with strengths that are then weighted and aggregated. You could then link information about each of the areas by clicking on that segment of your score.

I think it's a great idea to have individual scores that you can then aggregate into different groups - this really designs the system to adapt to the competition that people want to use (eg: you may want to compete against family members, or with your family against other people in the street etc.) I also like the possibility of being able to use my score across multiple communities - it means that there could be a large number of social groups and networks who hold you to account. These groups will also interact with you (and hold you to account) at different times of the day which could also help increase group commitment.

Finally, I think that's a really good way to approach the customer loyalty data - setting you up a weekly / monthly goal that is determined by your actual spending? Perhaps this data could also be used to highlight your 'problem' areas and point you towards more sustainable habits. Eg: If you constantly purchase bottled water it could point you towards more sustainable ways to find drinking water. If you purchase a lot of packaged meals, it could link you to really easy recipes to replicate your pre-purchased choices.

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

Hey Jes, great ideas you got going there - provides me with a lot of food for thought.

RE: Multiple Scores, I like it. Regardless of whether or not the user will see the score split into sub-groups, it will be calculated in that manner in the first place. So it's more a matter of displaying it or not. I've yet to go in-depth in this regards, but we most certainly can use a similar methodology that OpenIDEO has here with DQ. It will be beneficial should this platform become more complex in the future as there will be certain users who are focused more on recycling while others on carbon emissions, etc. Allows for segmentation. This is all far out the future though, probably a good idea to just stay focused on one area first.

Another great point you bring up regarding suggestions derived from the customer loyalty schemes; this is why I think it'd be awesome if there's more ways to aggregate data in more automatic ways. The most important thing is of course minimising user labour providing a convenient experience, but the other thing is that it allows for larger amounts of data. With more data, more can happen with this platform.

I've updated the idea with some new images outlining the different pages/functions of the app. If you have some spare time, please let me know any feedback you have. :)

Photo of Denoja Kankesan
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Hi Rob, I was thinking what if we looked at ways to motivate users to log-on and upload their own recycling data...What if each time users logged-on and entered their data they received points to buy actual goods from retail stores (or similar). This would be paid for by sponsor ads on the app that users will view when they upload data. As an example, FreeRice created a quiz game where each time you answered a question correctly, FreeRice will buy 10 grains of rice, which are paid for by the sponsors of the site.

Photo of Jes Simson
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Hey Denoja, that's a really cool idea. Equally, you could incentivise people with discounts or points towards their shopper loyalty schemes.

I'm wondering how we might help ensure that that data uploaded by users is accurate, especially where the user gets a reward for uploading data (regardless of whether it is accurate or not)?

Photo of Kaye Han
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Hi Denoja, you bring up some great thoughts that were actually debated heavily before; that is, should the points be correlated with financial reward? Jes insightfully already brings up one of the issues; when points start to have real-world value it becomes a process that requires regulation. This is a very grey issue in it's entirety as using points to buy from & support sustainable/social companies is a good thing, but incentivising people to consume more doesn't necessarily align with sustainability. At this point in time, it's probably best not to incorporate anything to do with financial gain because it's a complex system and a very slippery slope. It's certainly something that will have more dialogue on the future, but I believe (initially anyway) the points main purpose is best not aligned with money.

I hope that the community connection, peer pressure/comparison, tracked progress, and goal setting will be enough to stimulate this behaviour and habit change in a positive way. If you have any more great thoughts regarding user motivation, I'd love to hear more! :)

Photo of Antonin Jirou-Najou
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Great idea that have inspired mine "Global Brands Challenges: Be a recycling hero and get the chance to win incredible prizes!" so as to involve brands in the process to provide valued incentives for people.

Photo of Kaye Han
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Great to hear Antonin, I like your idea too involving brands into the recycling change!

Photo of Congmin Liang
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To open a social platform or design an apps to let more and more people involved recycling not matter where they are. And the apps could also help to track people what they do and how they do about recycling. It is a great idea to let everyone understand and to do the recycling in their daily life.
People could tell their friends and family to let them use the apps to track the recycling everyday. A single person to do the recycling might be a small thing, but if everyone do it, it will become a huge impact to the whole world. It will make a lot of different for our lives and could keep our live green than not doing it. To have an apps to let everyone involved recycling is a great idea!

Photo of Kaye Han
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Hi Congmin, I'm glad that you like the idea. If you have any other comments or thoughts please feel free to share. :)

Photo of Nathan Waterhouse
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Rob what an awesome idea - I love it – I wonder, have you thought about how you might create a quick prototype to test it out with a few people? Maybe something like https://www.flinto.com/ could get in people's hands easily so you can test it out?

Photo of Kaye Han
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Hi Nathan, thank you so much for the link to Flinto - I've come across various prototyping tools before but this seems a whole level better! I'll certainly test it out when I get the chance...using Illustrator isn't good enough haha. And cheers for the support, it really helps!

Photo of OpenIDEO
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Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of Kaye Han
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Wow, thank you so much OpenIDEO. That's an amazing surprise to wake-up to in the morning. Cheers! :)

Photo of Meena Kadri
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Woohoo, Rob – lots of great thinking here. You might consider helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by describing some example scenarios which illustrate user journeys through some of the proposed interactions you've outlined. Check this example: http://www.openideo.com/open/e-waste/concepting/neighbourhood-e-waste-champion/ where a few simple scenarios were created in an attempt to explain the goodness on the idea. (You can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right.) Looking forward to seeing this idea grow.

Photo of Kaye Han
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Thanks for the tip, Meena! Definitely something I will get onto once I have some time - cheers for the reference as well. Might even try an illustration...

Photo of Stephan Kardos
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Hey Rob,

what an interesting idea. I lately came acroos goodify, which seems to go in a similar direction. It's kind of a volunteering / doing good tracker for companies and schools: https://www.goodify.com/ You might check it out for further inspiration.

You may also want to check out my Recycling Champ game idea. http://www.openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/ideas/recycling-champ
I propose an offline and an online approach. For the online approach I think that monitoring and displaying your challenge progress will be a fun element. I somehow sense that regarding this aspect there are some nice take aways from your approach.

Eventually, I also immediatley thought about measuring weight when it comes to data collection. What if you hack a kitchen scale so that you can easily weigh bags in which you collect bins, cartonage, paper, organic waste .... Or, what if you use one of those travel scales (for bags) and modify it for your needs? I know it would take a bit of prototyping but their might be someone in the community able to to so.

Hope to see that idea evolving further as this seems really cool and fun.

Regards, Stephan

Photo of Kaye Han
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Cheers for the comment,Stephan. I just checked out the Goodify blog as their website is down - not sure if they're still in business. There's definitely things to learn from their approach although they're more focused on employee's volunteer work. Goodify seems to use literal rewards (lunch with CEO) in order to motivate users to stick with the program.

Yes, I've seen your recycling champ game idea - really cool. There's similarities in each of our approaches - we can learn and build from each other. I like the idea of using 'rewards' in the beginning in order to make the habit stick. A shared negative the two ideas both have is that it requires a certain level of honesty among users in order to make it work - even more so for Recycling Champ as it's literally a game. It's not the biggest and most immediate problem, but what are your thoughts on users 'cheating the system'?

Good point, I think there's definitely possibilities when it comes to hacking a scale to weigh the waste in our homes; a potential issue here is I think this may not be appealing to the mass-market. The Less project relies on connecting a large quantity of users in order to be successful in creating a motivating network, so my thoughts is that it needs to be an even more seamless process. I'm still struggling to think of ways to make the data input easier.

Yes I'm excited too in seeing how the ideas evolve over time.

Photo of Stephan Kardos
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Hey Rob,

regarding honesty. I think this isn't too much of an issue with Recycling Champ. I somehow don't believe that someone would cheat at the cost of lowered impact. You challene yourself in the first place, so being dishonest rather harms your self-esteem. There might be some black sheeps but that wouldn't matter. Of course in an online version where you probably race against others thats different. But here again; in the end you are all engaging towards one big goal. I somehow see it like running a marathon. All those people face the same challenge. They challenge themeselves in the first place not so much fellow runners. When I think about it, the very opposite is true. What I experienced is an environment of mutual help and motivation. Everybody runs for a reason (here: a huge challenge). I think the same forces apply on the recycling theme.

Regards,
Stephan

Photo of Kaye Han
Team

That's a great point - most people will find it more of an encouraging environment to do more rather than to 'win'. I was first worried about the competitive nature of people but the feeling of community impact should certainly outweigh that. Agreed, it may be a good idea to just ignore the 'black sheep' in this situation. Cheers for you the thoughts, Stephan!