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Green Energy Social App

A Social App to engage communities into the use of green energies, through a friendly competition. For example, Peter installs a solar panel at home and gets 100 "green points" reaching the top of his community's Green Ranking and becoming the "Green Mayor". Peter's points will accrue for his Community that will ‘compete’ against other Communities.

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
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Through this app, people can track their use of Green Energies and accrue it to their community’s efforts. Communities will ‘compete’ against each other resulting in a ranking and thus feel the social media pride through Facebook and other digital platforms.

People will record the efforts they make to transition to green energy, which will translate into points. The person with more points within a community will become the ‘Green Mayor’. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th person on the ranking will also have specific status recognitions (e.g. badges). Only the people of each community can see the community’s internal ranking.
 
How will the app look like? 4 simple screens:
1) Personal Profile: picture, name, motto and points
2) Add effort: install solar panels at home (100pts), go in bike to work (2pts), buy a hybrid car (60pts), etc. People should upload a picture as a proof of performance’. Efforts will translate into points!
3) Community ranking: among the participating communities, and progress made
4) Conversation/blog: people can post tips and make comments 

Define the Community:
More people participate, the better this app will work. Therefore, a way to start making buzz could be by defining the Community as high schools or universities.
Other alternative for the Community could be Sports teams. For example, Chicago Bulls Fans could be the greenest of NBA.
We can redefine the communities however we want!
Ultimately, Communities would be definied as cities accross the world.

 
Reference:
While I was thinking about the "Green Energy Social App", I came across  this idea that served as inspiration. 

What community does this idea benefit and who are the main players?

As the App becomes more popular, we can define larger Communities. This app is thought for young people, with a clear concern for sustainability.

How does your idea specifically help your community rapidly transition to renewables?

The friendly competition will accelerate the transition into renewables. The "social status" will trigger people's pride and desire to top the ranking. Similar to what happens with other apps, such as foursquare.

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

The app should be relatively easy to prototype. Then, we can try it with small predetermined communities.

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

All feedback is welcome! Please write your thoughts and help making this idea better.

Please indicate which type of energy is most relevant to this post:

  • My post doesn't mention a specific type of energy

This idea emerged from:

  • An Individual

29 comments

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Photo of Jes Simson
Team

Hey Ramiro, fab idea.

It could also be interesting to enable people to be part of multiple communities (so an individual is at once a member of a family, workplace, sportsclub, building, neighbourhood, city etc). By building in multiple points of engagement and social pressure from multiple facets of a user's life, you could enhance the likelihood that people participate.

I really like your point about sports teams' ability to engage their fanbase - for a similar hack of a soccer team's fanbase, see this great campaign by a football club in Brazil: http://adage.com/article/creativity-pick-of-the-day/donate-organ-ensure-heart-beat-team/241878/

You could also play around with different rewards (although you have to be careful with extrinsic and intrinsic rewards on gamified solutions). Perhaps you could offer the 'mayor' a chance to talk renewable energy with their town's mayor.

Photo of Carles Guerrero Santiago
Team

Nice Ramiro.

I agree on the need to make "more community" out of the challenges. Fostering individual competition might make loose the power of the idea.

I am in talks with some guys in Barcelona whose purpose was to gamify the energetic behavior of people (the company is called Enerbyte). However, I think OPower, in California, shares something with your idea.

Thanks for sharing!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Jes, thanks for your comment.
Yeah, it is a good idea to let users participate in different communities at the same time! will include it when i update the post
The rewards part is a difficult aspect, because it could mislead the whole spirt of the 'competition'. However, giving talks could work just fine. If we manage to have sponsors, they could donate something, or even offer the mayor to talk at their office...

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Carles, thanks for your comment!
I didn't know Enerbyte nor OPower, they look awesome, thanks for sharing :)

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Hi Ramiro, Jes and Carles.
Great idea Ramiro and I really like the build to open this idea to layers of communities. (go Jes!) I particularly like this because it has the potential to bring together people of different ages, for example families. You describe your target with this app "young people with a clear concern for sustainability."
In what ways can your Idea expand and reach beyond this group? There are many older folk already engaged with this issue and there are many concerned youth that can use the App to engage family members that may be less involved. Apps and competitions like this might appeal to youth in particular but working within communities, pitching in and working towards a goal, extends to folk of multiple generations and within different communities. Lots of possibilities here! Good luck prototyping!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Bettina, thanks for your comment!
I agree that we should go beyond concerned young people, we can think of such group as the entry level, and -as you say- pitch their close group into collaborating.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel
Team

Great Ramiro! One reason I think it would be good to engage other family members as an example is that one of the obstacles to renewable energy solutions at this time is cost. Some of the items you suggest, such as biking to work, have no monetary cost (if you already have a bicycle). Other options can be expensive. Families may need to help each other financially when making these choices and in some cases it will be parents and grandparents that can help younger people invest in these items, helping them secure better futures. Youth who are concerned, knowledgable, and informed can help others make informed decisions about energy choices, transportation options etc. Combining resources can help all around. What do you think?

A thought about Sports Teams and their Fan Bases -
I wonder if you can engage a team to offer a "match" to their fans. In the US many corporations offer matching programs as a way to incentivize employees to contribute to certain causes. Example - If an employee contributes $25 to The American Cancer Society the employer contributes the same amount. I wonder if a sports team can be persuaded to offer a challenge to their fans - Ex) When our fans earn 100,000 points on the Green Energy Social App we pledge to supply solar panels for the roof of " The .....Youth Sports Club of ........" - something along those lines, so the power of the App amplifies.

This also might work as a local community/business initiative. In some communities local businesses support children's sports leagues - providing funds for equipment and uniforms. What if a community/neighborhood came together as a team using your App and a local business did a match - pledging to put solar panels on their own roof, or on the roof of a local school, when the community earns a set number of points?
I am not sure if these ideas align with your thinking seeing the comments above about rewards - what they may or may not be.
What are your thoughts?

Great project! Have fun working on it!

Photo of Johan Löfström
Team

I would like to add lots of energy conservation methods to your project. Such as: when you lower your electric bill or gasoline costs for your car (in average per week or per month)
When a family reduces the number of times (average miles) they take the car to go shopping groceries.

Think about awareness projects such as Earth Hour and so on...

Do you like to brainstorm further? Let me know, and I will help out.

(biggest reason that I wish the energy saving was more highlighted, since buying solar panel for your roof or buying a new car is something that average family will invest in very few times of their life.)

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Johan, thanks for your comment!
I agree with you, but the reason there aren't as many ideas on that direction is because the brief of the challenge requests for ways to make the change to renewables, not consuming less energy altogether:

"Focus on renewable energy. Energy efficiency efforts are critical to reduce overall energy demand, but through this challenge we are searching for projects that focus first and foremost on accelerating renewable energy."

https://openideo.com/content/renewableenergychallenge/

Photo of Johan Löfström
Team

I am thinking holistically, renewables will be needed, reducing power losses and effectivising domestic appliances and industrial uses of electricity will be of equal importance, and systems can focus on both, simultaneously and parallell.

It would be silly to develop an App for one purpose only, and ignore the potential to use it for similar purposes that are interconnected and very closely related at the consumers daily life.

Photo of Johan Löfström
Team

Doing a project with anything about electricity efficiency can lead to higher awareness about wind mills and hybrid cars and so on...

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Johan, I agree, thanks for your input!
I will take into account when I update the post

Photo of OpenIDEO
Team

Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution. (the first one for 2015!)

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Could also be interesting to check out shortlisted app ideas from our Recycling Challenge so you can start thinking deeper on how you might evolve this: https://openideo.com/challenge/recycle-challenge/refinement plus here's some tips on prototyping: http://bit.ly/pr0totype We're looking forward to seeing this idea grow!

Photo of Meena Kadri
Team

Plus we think there could be good collaboration synergies between your idea and this one: https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/ideas/take-solar-viral-pioneer-a-solar-block-share-sbs-program-in-cities-with-incentive-structure-to-encourage-100-participation-by-a-certain-time-i-e-2020 We love the opportunity to mix the social aspect of yours with a specific goal like increasing solar block shares!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Meena, thanks for your comment and sharing those links!
I agree that the Solar Block Share program can complement the Green App!!
Will write to Risa

Photo of Joanna Spoth
Team

Awesome - be sure to keep the text of your idea updated with any new discoveries or iterations that come up so the community can follow along!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Joanna,
I will make the updates soon :)

Photo of Jaime Gusching
Team

Hello again, Ramiro!

Joanna Spoth recently commented on my idea that "gamifying green" is the way to go. I couldn't agree with her more. I'm glad to see you've fleshed it out an idea.

I love your idea of creating teams of people. What would be really cool is if you also offered real prizes.

Convince your entire team to join the app and you'll get a small percentage of their points. Then you can cash in those points. Bike to work and you stand to gain a new bike yourself.

The sponsor gains visibility and community wide-recognition.

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Jaime!!
sounds great!! thanks for another great contribution :)

Photo of Samantha Schulman
Team

I agree with Jaime that finding a great way to incentivize will really help the app to gain traction as well as long-term participation for users.

I came across something called “Diet Bet” recently where people working to loose weight can join or create a “game,” and dedicate to pledge a specific amount of money in order to loose 4% of their starting weight in a 4-week period. At the end, everyone who contributed and reached his or her goal splits the pot.

The website can be viewed here:
http://www.dietbetter.com

In our challenge here, one may be able to start a pot/game titled “Bike to work,” for example, where the players can pledge to ride their bikes to work a certain amount of days a week. Not only is there a clear incentive for following through on an individual promise, but also it’s a great way for users to see what their peers are doing in their day-to-day life to incorporate renewable energy solutions.

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Samantha, thanks for your comment!
I like the way you adapted diet better to this challenge :)
Tangible ("Monetary") awards are complex since it might distort the whole sense of this app. I am not saying we should not do it, but we must be careful..
When I update this post I will include something related to prices/awards, so feel free to continue sending ideas :)

Photo of Samantha Schulman
Team

Totally agree, Ramiro. Thanks for the feedback!

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hey Ramiro,

You might want to combine teams with Nyko. His idea for a smarttraq (fitbit like) application seems like you guys could create a pretty great hybrid.

https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/ideas/smartraq-track-play-compete-save-a-community-driven-app-that-could-be-a-first-step-in-helping-communities-understand-their-energy-usage-better

I also think there is some great potential for overlap with Giusj. Hers is a lot about social status.

https://openideo.com/challenge/renewable-energy/ideas/a-social-network-focused-on-renewable-energy

Keep the great ideas coming!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Natalie!! thanks for your comment!
yeah! I actually built upon Nyko's idea, but since we were taking different approaches, I thought it would be better to do a new one.
However, I would be glad to join forces with both Nyko or Giusj

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Hi Ramiro,

I can definitely see the differences and understand why you are keeping them as separate now :). Yours is more like king of the mountain quizup style while his is more like fitbit/garmin style competition.

How often would the app update the rankings or is this a permanent kind of thing? I love that this idea will help create different communities and I like that as an individual, I can choose to donate points towards the community I want! I could choose to support my alma matter or support my sports teams with my points for the day.

Could you maybe add points for sustainable eating? This would again be kind of hard to validify, but hopefully running on the honor system would work? Maybe it could work off a check in type system like foursquare used to? So if you check in at a restaurant that serves local organic food for example you could get a point?

For the walking to work you could maybe combine it with those pedometer iphone apps? So for every 1000 steps you get a pt or something? I'm not sure if it would work with biking too?

I'm excited to hear more titles, quizup has such funny champion titles for each of their categories. It'd be nice if you could come up with clever pun-y ones as well!

Just spitballing some ideas here. I'll let this marinade in my mind a bit and get back to you if I think of anything else!

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

Hi Natalie!
thanks for your comments and good ideas! here are my thoughts:
- I think rankings should be updated on a monthly basis

- sustainable eating works great! if you have more ideas for categories, send them and when I update the post I'll include them :)

- This idea is based on the honor system, it's hard to validate the efforts that people add. Actually, it might work the other way around, it would be extremely humiliating if it's discovered that someone's lying.. don't you think? It could be useful to use foursquare or gps, but it's always about honor...

We can definitively put some funny titles, so feel free to send your thoughts :)

Photo of Natalie Lake
Team

Climate Connoisseur, Planateer (Captain planet could have some really good ones), Reef Defender, I bet there are a ton of better ones, I'm not great at this haha.

Photo of Ramiro Sanchez Caballero
Team

hahah, good enough :)
thanks!