Good Local is our client, Ben Pecotich's (from Dynamic4, Sydney) social enterprise/purpose-driven start up idea to tackle over-consumption and associated negative environmental impact by making local sharing services easier to find and access. Even though some early research had been conducted, our client approached Ayca and I to do more exploratory research for the idea to come to life or to validate if it would work at all.
Ayca and I worked together to do project planning and conduct extensive user research. While we both were in charge of managing client expectations, I led literary review, research synthesis and presentation design of our findings.
CONDUCT USER RESEARCH TO VALIDATE CLIENT ASSUMPTIOMS
The challenge was to bring research and insight driven strategy skills to this project with the purpose of:
- Understanding users’ attitudes and behaviours in terms of consumption and waste as an environmental hazard by planning and running customer interviews/research
- Constructing the core customer/problem hypotheses and their associated riskiest assumptions
- Testing assumptions to validate if adoption of local sharing and collaborative consumption services can work as a solution to reduce environmental hazards.
- Depending on research insights (which may include disproving core assumptions), the team could work on potential solution concepts.
Our client came to us with initial hypotheses for a solution concept. "The concept of Good Local is to be like Airbnb for sharing services" - a community and marketplace enabled by a digital platform to promote and map sharing services, making them easier to find and access. The key benefit being people save money, space, carbon impact, packaging and other waste. This will divert waste from landfills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage behaviours like switching to renewable energy and water conservation.
Main assumptions that came with the brief were categorised under:
Environment and Waste
- Adoption of local sharing services will divert waste from landfills and encourage conscious behaviours
- People don’t know about sharing services they can access
- People use sharing services for environmental reasons
- There is a desire to take action
- If sharing services are visible and convenient people will modify their behaviour.
UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM LANDSCAPE
To identify our key areas of work, we mapped the persistent themes and repeating keywords in the founder's statement of purpose. In order not to get attached to any solution concepts, we approached the problem from all angles then narrowed down our scope to easily approachable aspects (aka: low hanging fruits). This led us to identify the individual goal associated with each aspect of the brief. We organised our thinking and key assumptions within this framework, which defined our research scope.
UNDERSTANDING SHARING ECONOMY
Our client provided us with a Trello board that has all the examples he collected under "sharing / collaborative economy" These companies varied from Car Next Door to coworking spaces, community gardens and many more. I conducted secondary research to categorise these examples and find the correct definitions to ask the
Collaborative Economy: An economic system of decentralized networks and marketplaces that unlocks the value of underused assets by matching needs and haves, in ways that bypass traditional middlemen.
Sharing Economy: An economic system based on sharing underused assets or services, for free or for a fee, directly from individuals.
Collaborative Consumption: The reinvention of traditional market behaviors—renting, lending, swapping, sharing, bartering, gifting—through technology, taking place in ways and on a scale not possible before the internet.
On-Demand Services: Platforms that directly match customer needs with providers to immediately deliver goods and services.
Although, the founders solution concept that he wanted us to test was towards an aggregator for commercial / startup sharing services.
UNDERSTANDING THE USERS
First we wanted to know what the user knows.
We wanted to get an idea of the common notions in the customer/problem landscape and also to check if we are missing anything before I finalised the survey questions. So we had casual interviews with 8 people that represent the target user. Following were our learnings:
People have different views of what sharing services mean
Convenience is the most important thing in the world
We added new answer choices to the survey that we
previously had not though of.
Then we asked what we wanted to know.
We adjusted our questions and checkboxes according to the insights that came through the mock interviews.
We wrote the interview script and structured the survey to derive answers in the 3 main areas of study and also see if the users connect the use of sharing services with waste and environmental impact. Following were our learnings here:
We observed a gap in attitude and behaviour: Interviewees who rate themselves 8/10 in environmentally conscious behaviour scored 6/10 in reality.
Convenience and saving money are the driving factors in user behaviour.
Below is the summary of our findings:
We facilitated an affinity mapping workshop to synthesise the research findings. This helped categorise data according to our research framework and also clarified the possible features to address pain points and motivations related to different aspects of the brief.
These varied research techniques helped us to quickly gain insights into the needs of our users and gave us a concrete understanding of the environment and workflows. Our research revealed the following key insights:
BACK TO THE VALIDATION BOARD
With the data we gathered through interviews and surveys, we went back to the validation board to synthesise
our findings. We confirmed that the targeted user group exists and they see waste and environmental effect as
a problem. However, user thinking in the solution hypothesis is motivated by economy and efficiency rather than environment. Now that it is confirmed that environmental impact is important to users, the solution can utilise this concept as a secondary motivator.
"It was determined that the target users are interested in collaborative consumption over commercial sharing services. They use sharing services to save money, not for the environment. We thus decided
to narrow down our approach and focus on renting and borrowing between users as a solution to tackle our client's problem with over consumption and associated negative environmental impact.
WHAT'S OUT THERE?
Once we were clear about our approach, we then headed towards understanding the competitor landscape in the area of peer to peer sharing. This gave us insights into concepts and features that work.
Startup founded in 2012
Raised $4.6 million in 6 rounds
Operating in USA
What's Not Good
To save $, space and the environment and meet neighbours
Users can post a request
Layout of categories
Startup founded in 2011
Based and operating in Australia
To reduce waste and excess
Response rate and reviews
UI design is outdated
Startup founded in 2014
iPhone & Android app
Based and operating in Australia
Helps communities towards
a zero-waste-to-landfill solution.
While Ayca focused on creating personas, I started picturing their user journey. Through synthesis of research data, we identified 2 personas as our early adopters, based on their interaction with the product:
A convenience seeker that searches and filters to get to specific products based on need
A community oriented user that browses leisurely to see what is out there to try new things
We decided to focus on our early adopter personas and making them happy so they spread the enthusiasm for Good Local and help build momentum.
USER JOURNEY MAPPING
Once we were done defining the personas, I used journey mapping to visualise and communicate Charlie's end‐to‐end experience across various touch‐points while he goes through through the process of lending and borrowing with his peers. This allowed me to represent his pain‐points and see where we needed to focus our attention. Mapping out the users emotions was key to setting client expectations about the aspirational emotional state we were aiming to design for.
Increase awareness and adoption of local collaborative consumption to reduce waste and promote a positive message about the environment.
Our client Good Local has a problem with the waste and negative environmental impact associated with over consumption
Our approach to address this problem is to establish an alternative for our consumption driven throw away culture, by providing a platform for the local community to connect and share.
The main groups of people who will benefit are those who live in urban high density areas and want to reduce their consumption to save money and space.
PRIMARY BUSINESS GOAL
is to provide a reliable and convenient platform to facilitate peer to peer tradeso that under-utilised resources can be shared.
PRIMARY USER GOAL SUPPORTED
The primary user goals supported to get more value with less consumption while connecting the community and helping the environment.
Reaching critical mass on demand and supply sides through product quality, reliability and marketing
Ratings and reviews on App Store and other platforms
City of Sydney 2030 Innovation Grant
As the first iteration of the product for testing, feature prioritisation was focused on the key functions that define our user's journey. We addressed key paint points and supported main user gains: discovery and efficiency.
Visualising impact with indication of carbon footprint saved
Reliability assurance through bond and insurance
Seasonal / curated content for browsers
Advanced filters for searchers
Buy, Sell, Swap
Chat & notify
Recommended items to list or rent
Aggregator for sharing services
Create sharing groups & events
Environmental impact of sharing
Community notice boards/events
Review & Rating
Pricing & Bond
Review & Rating
Follow up interviews
Focusing on problem/solution hypotheses
Iterating on experiments in the solution landscape
Get out of the building or get users in
Synthesis of second round research findings
Data data data
Iterating on gamification possibilities
Entice & extend engagement
Branding & Content design
Looking the part and talking the talk
Web and/or app? Points and/or money?
Better strategy than sorry
Finding the channels to reach our local heroes
Preparing for the City of Sydney 2030 Innovation Grant
Preparing the pitch
What's Not Good