My App Idea

Our mission was simple, find a way to make Toronto a better place to live. Unfortunately I am the wrong person to be tasked with a project of this nature. I am the biggest fan of my city and I rep the “6ix” in every way you could possibly imagine. Yes our transit sucks and we could nitpick at a lot of day to day problems but to me these imperfections are grounds to relate to one and another. And to know your way around these problems is to become a true Torontonian. So I did what anyone in my position would do, I googled problems with my city…

One issue that really stood out to me was sustainability. Toronto had a food strategy since 2010, which was revamped in 2015 with focus on urban farming but it’s still a concept that has yet to gain traction. (The Star, 2016) This issue really stood out to me is because my neighbours are awesome, let me explain.

While I wouldn’t classify my immediate neighbours as “urban farmers” there is still healthy competition amongst us to see who can grow the most amount of produce, primarily fruits and some vegetables as well. I live in a fairly new, cookie-cutter neighbourhood so every house has approximately the same sized backyard. Our community is always competing to see who can get the most utility out of their space. It’s common practice to share your produce with your neighbour, which is possibly the best part about growing your own food, there is always more than one family can possibly eat.

In my ideal city I hope that everyone would utilize the space they have, from backyards to balconies, to grow food and in turn reduce their carbon footprint. I even thought I had the perfect way to achieve that goal, a subscription service for seedlings and essential tools to get you started on your own. There are services that offer that as I quickly found out but what set my idea apart was possible “gamification” of the process so there is healthy competition and a reward system to keep people encouraged. Sharing my idea with the class one thing that immediately stood out to my peers was that I was focused on the solution without really identifying a problem. We did practice interviews in class to get familiarized with the research part of UX which helped me identify the key problems to focus instead of trying to ambiguously tackle the whole urban farming issue at once.

Through mostly secondary research I learned that Toronto has a huge problem with food waste and Torontonians are paying a lot to get rid of food that is not properly composted. A single-family household in Toronto discards about 275 kilos of food each year. The one part that I really liked about my original solution is the sharing of excess food product, my community has been doing it for years. Focusing on just one part of my original idea did not feel right at first but it helps me focus on an identified problem and find a solution for it. I want to create a platform that allows you to give away/share your excess food with people who need it. The lesson to be learnt here is that we must identify the need for a product through research before actually creating one. Sounds simple enough but as with my experience, I learnt that ideas need to evolve through research to help tackle specific needs of the consumer.

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