We ourselves, our friends and many people more are willing to act for a sustainable planet and to drive down our carbon footprint. Just this Saturday about 100'000 people came together in Bern to demonstrate and demand more action to save our earth. We all have to act before it's too late. But when it comes to our every day actions we are convinced that many of those 100'000 activists have a hard time following through. Quite often the climate-friendly alternatives are simply missing. It is not enough to know what we should do better, we have to enable ourselves to act. For this we believe it adds a lot of value to communicate to business our wishes and ideas. For a business, organisation or event on the other hand it is a valuable insight to see what their customers want. This knowledge backed with number will provide a business-case to take action. Of course a business can also find a market advantage by adapting to the more and more climate conscious customers.
What it does
A customer can submit an idea for change to a local company or organisation. This is ideally a specific and actionable solution to a problem they see. (Problems like plastic dishes, no recycling bins, very little range of sustainable brands or even climate-destructive investments of a bank.)
Other local users can express their opinion or support with comments and up-/downvotes and they can discover ongoing discussions on a map view.
Being part of such a community can shape the way we and people around us think about those topics. We should rather demand change and search alternatives than to give in to habit and comfort.
If a certain threshold of positive votes is reached, the author or a volunteer is encouraged to bring the idea to the people responsible within the business.
A business can choose to interact with the community and position themselves in the growing landscape of climate conscious companies.
A feature that we would like to see is an option for a company to commit to a certain amount of climate-positive change and with it bring visibility to our platform and give themselves a competitive edge with the new and growing customer persona.
How we built it
We started with a validation of our hypothesis by talking with other participants and pitching the idea over the phone to friends and family. Based on that feedback we were able to imagine different personas of potential users. With some sketches and very basic user testing, we were able to evaluate different design ideas. On that base we defined and prioritised a feature set that we wanted to build for our MVP.
As a team of two we had to cut corners on the tech and feature side. We built on top of a very basic JSON Storage API and built a user facing web application based on React. The core is a map based view that allows the user to discover and submit "ideas for change" nearby. The functionality to vote and comment on those ideas is also an essential part of the platform.
Challenges we ran into
Mostly time and sleep. But also the fact that it was weekend which gave us limited options to validate a potential response and partnership with shops, companies and other organisations.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We believe that we found an idea with potential to shape a local community. With a small team we built an MVP that helps to paint a picture of our vision and could already be used for its core purpose.
What we learned
By investing some work in the planning and validation an idea it's possible to find the right focus for an MVP. Cutting corners for the implementation allowed us even as a small team with little time to build a somewhat functioning prototype.
What's next for Speak for Earth
We would like to evaluate the idea by searching conversations with different businesses and to have a proper test run with a prototype that is a bit more polished. Also evaluate more options to motivate business to interact with the platform and the community. For example an achievement for adapting a certain numbers of ideas. An other idea could be to adapt the idea for employees in larger companies to improve their internal efforts like missing recycling opportunities.