OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

" Women’s Pool " - Journey Sharing Community Platform (UPDATED with experience map - April 14)

Based on the insight that women’s feel stronger & safer when they are together, the “Women’s Pool” project is a carpooling-inspired concept: Women’s Pool aims to design ways for women to meet eachother in an easy and safe way, in order to “share” their journeys (walk, bike, transportation, whatever).

Photo of Mathieu Chevalier

Written by


Shalmali is a young indian girl. After a hard working day in Bombay (Shalmali sells fruits and vegetables), Shalmali needs to come back home, in the Bombay suburbs. She will have to take a train, and then to walk for about 30 minutes to join her family.

Shalmali never feels safe when coming back home alone. You never know what could happen, especially in crowded areas.
Sometimes Shalmali has the possibility to walk with other girls of her low-income suburbs, and she feels much more safer !

Yesterday, someone talk Shalmali about a new thing called “Women’s Pool”. The thing is easy and very useful : Women’s Pool is a girls-dedicated service, materialized by “meeting pools” installed all around the city (in the streets like bus stops, but also in schools, shops, laundries, bars, etc.). Women’s Pool is a physical place where girls can “post” / inform about their next journeys (destination, hour, etc.), and meet other girls with whom they can share it.
Women’s Pool becomes therefore the “starting point” of a safer journey.
Today Shalmali is going to try it !


Meeting Pools
  • As possible, based in closed areas (train stations could be a good alternative), with restricted acces for women (guard), to maximize security, to keep journeys confidentiality (avoid bad attention : for example someone who would use the service to track women).
  • Meeting Pools in the Cities + Suburbs
  • Visual identification of the meeting pools (cf. illiteracy).
  • "Journeys Board" as a market place where women could share their journeys information (here again, we should think about the illiteracy problematics)

Meeting Pools Mapping :
  • Implement meeting pools mapping in diverse places (bars, restaurants, shops, laundries, associations, etc.)

Badges / Community Sign
  • The Red Bangle could be a great community symbol (+ a useful self-defense tool - for the "last mile" problematic).
  • Community Sign as a pride + dissuasive tool + identification tool (easier to meet women who are looking for a journey partner)

Ambassadors / Concierges 
  • Women's Pool Guard could be good ambassador.
  • The Bindis Idea  could be very interesting to mix
  • Imagine a reward system, to encourage womens to talk about the Women's Pool.

Cell Phones & Smartphone devices
  • In developped countries, the Women's Pool could be complementary with a mobile app (Basic Cellphone Device or more evoluted Smart Phone Device, depending on the country developement level)

Beyond Journey Sharing
  • Women's Pool is more than a journey sharing platform : it's a sharing platform that could help women networking, sharing their daily problematics, etc.

How to prototype this idea ?
  • Install Women's Pool in Train Stations (waiting for the SNCF french railway firm response).
  • Prototype to be developped in NYU, by the great Design Tinkering Club 

(UPDATED 04/14 - see sketches)

#1 Service Discovering
The user discover the women's pool service in a train station. She enters the place and get informations about the service thanks to the community concierge who is running the place.

#2 Inscription
Next Day. Before going to work in downtown, the users stops at the train station. She gets in the pool aera that she discovered a few days ago, to mention on a board her back journey informations (time + destination). The community concierge is here to help / guide her.

#3 Meeting
After her working day, the user comes back to the pool. She checks wether there is an other user with whom she can share the journey. Yes there is : in 20 minutes exactly.
While waiting for her "partner", the community concierge gives her a "women's pool" badge, to symbolize her appartenance to the community. (could be #3bis ?)

#4 Journey Sharing
The users share their journeys. They talk about things and others.

#5 Home
The users arrive at their first destination.
In order to be accompanied for the last mile, the last user ask her partner's male friend to bring her back to her home, at a few blocks.

#5 Community Management
During the night, the users talk about the service to their friends and families. They decide to open a new "pool" in their neighborhood.

- Design / Graphic Designers to work on the Women's Pool Identity
- Local helps to prototype in train stations, universities, 
- Mobile Apps expert 

Bienvenue :)
I have also created a Google + community to share contents :
" Women's Pool Project " <-----


Explain your idea in one sentence.

Based on the insight that women’s feel stronger & safer when they are together, the “Women’s Pool” project aims to design ways for women to meet eachother in an easy and safe way, in order to “share” their journeys (walk, bike, transportation, whatever).

What is the need you are trying to solve?

The need I'm interested in is the "psychological" need for safety. I believe that if women "feel" safer, they will "be" safer, since safety feeling is a very good danger disperser. So we need to find ways to make women feel safer. Women's Pool concept aims to reinforce women's psychologic strength, using the community force to help them feel psychologically stronger, and therefore safer.

Who will benefit from this idea and how would you monitor its success?

Who will benefit from this idea ? - Women coming from suburbs to city (and from city to suburbs) will benefit from this idea, feeling & being safer, networking and sharing good moments during their journeys. - City places (shops, schools, bars, laundries, etc.) will also benefit from this idea, since they will become valuable places How would we monitor its success ? - By the numbers of Women's Pools areas + by the number of Women's Pools Ambassadors.

Who would be best equipped to implement this idea in the real world? You? Your organisation? Another organisation or entity?

Local associations could be very relevant, since they'll have the possibility to "deal" with the different places where Women's Pools could be installed. City Mayors / Representents will also have a very important role.

Where should this idea be implemented?

In the main cities + their suburbs. We probably shouldn't choose the most "unsecured" cities to prototype the Women's Pool, but neither the most secured one , of course.

How might you prototype this idea and test some of the assumptions behind it?

The Women's Pool concept could be first prototyped inside train station, since we could easily find places to host the Women's Pool Area. I'm am presently trying to get in contact with SNCF (french railway firm), asking for help to prototype. Any other OpenIdeater's initiatives with local railway firms are welcome !


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mathieu Chevalier

Too bad, our concept has not been shortlisted for the refinement phase :( ... although it has inspired many great comments and contributions :)
Thanks all for your help.
I'm looking forward to understand why the concept was not in the shortlist. Next time ! Cheers

Photo of Luisa Fernanda

Hi Mathieu,
Great job at doing such a thorough job on this idea. We really liked the collaborative spirit that you have shown throughout the process and are excited about seeing your idea develop further.

While not all ideas move on to Refinement, we encourage everyone to keep on working on their ideas and benefit from the collaborative efforts of our community to continue refining their idea. Check out our blogpost for the criteria used to select the Refinement list:

We look forward to hearing about the further development of this idea.

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Mathieu, it is great idea and learned alot from it while trying to develop our concept of Mama Shwari; I look forward to learning how to refine the idea more. lets share more information.

Photo of Meena Kadri

Indeed, we'd love it if might continue to iterate towards pursuing social impact through this stellar idea. Mathieu – could be really awesome to see if you could collaborate with Rapudo as a potential prototyper in the field / implementation partner?

Photo of Mathieu Chevalier

Thanks Rapudo & Meena.
I think Mama Shwari Experience Map could be refined using the IDEO tool - see + the women's pool's experience map that we have worked on with Cansu.
I could help for that.
Just let me know.

Photo of Rapudo Hawi

Great to follow this words of inspiration.

Thanks Meena for wise counsel for prototype partnership with Mathieu in order to refine the ideas.

Mathieu, i welcome the suggestion of refining and building interface of the Mama Shwari. I am willing to sharing community experiences with local women that i work in kenya

View all comments