Social Impact Collaboration — Global Service Jam 2022

Authors: Saranya Villavankothai and Vinodhini R Nagarajan

Introduction

A community of people join the Global Service Jam from all walks of life and over 100 locations worldwide. As jammers, we used service design-thinking approach to solve problems and make an impact. For 48 hours, we adopted a playful mindset for a serious goal and built prototypes to inspire the world. We were a part of the online Mumbai Jam hosted by Beyond Design Studio in partnership with Service Design Drinks(SDD) India. There were over 30 jammers from unique backgrounds that brainstormed on what the secret theme of the year, “Brightness we share” meant to all of us. There were a wide variety of areas that we explored but our team, which consisted of Vinodhini, Shreya, and Saranya, gravitated towards environmental and infrastructure impact in urban parts of India.

Slide template credit: https://slidesgo.com/ and Image credit: The Sunday Times

Day 1

Identifying our team's strengths and skills

We were three strangers that came together for a common purpose of making an impact with our thinking. We began our journey with two critical activities that took us 10 minutes, which proved beneficial for the rest of our journey. One activity was to introduce our strengths, and the other was to address the bright pink elephant in the room of how we are going to work together and be efficient for the next 48 hours. Surprisingly, we felt a connection among ourselves already, and we were confident that the rest of the journey would be a smooth collaboration. It was crucial to know our working style to get past any of the awkward situations that might arise later.

Our design process

Before we started any task, three things were thoroughly discussed — purpose, time limit, and the expected outcome. We time boxed the tasks and created a high level action plan to be on track with our 48 hour countdown. We used dot voting technique to make quick decisions and have all of our voices heard and used Mural that helped us collaborate effectively.

Research

We decided to desk research and explored the various angles of the who, what, where, and why of sustainability and zero waste. Out of the many wicked problems we wanted to tackle, we ended up with a How Might We (HMW) bridge the gap between Gen Y & Gen X consumers and providers to adopt zero waste systems in tier 1 cities to build a sustainable future?

We were excited because it seemed like a quick process to complete this and we were on a high that we were ahead of the game. We broke down our HMW statement to address our assumptions and to note what would we like to learn. With the help of Jam organisers, we were able to connect with Mr. Rakesh, who is a Mumbai based sustainability expert. During our interview with him, our team’s assumptions and hypothesis were challenged as we weren’t specific enough about our problem. The golden rule that we learned was to narrow down the problems where the impact is measurable. We knew we had to get back to the drawing board and take the opportunity to reframe our HMW statement. Our refined HMW statement:

“How might we bridge the gap between consumers and providers to adopt zero waste takeaway food packaging systems to build a sustainable future?”

Diving deeper into our research, we identified two types of user personas with the demographics, needs, pain points, behaviours and actions. We mapped out all the current state user journeys within the take-away food packaging system and were ready to ideate. At this point, as a team, we felt the need to begin the ideation activity with a fresh mind. Our team concluded day 1 by reviewing our accomplishments for the day and having a plan of action for day 2 with tentative timelines for the activities.

Slide template credit: https://slidesgo.com/

Day 2

Ideation: crazy 8’s and affinity mapping

It was either the good night’s sleep or the zeal that brought us all pumped for Day 2. The three of us used Crazy 8 technique to come up with eight distinct ideas each in eight minutes. It was a bit intimidating but all of us sketched out 24 ideas on paper and spent 15 minutes discussing the themes that emerged across the solutions using the affinity mapping technique. Our ideas were primarily on people (Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z) and food packaging processes that included preparation, order & delivery and post food delivery and props — Digital platforms. The ticking clock forced us to pin-down two ideas that worked for hand in hand.

Our two big bold ideas that emerged:

(1) Narrative visualisation to induce accountability in Gen Y and Gen X

(2) Instant gratification to onboard Gen Z with the Zero Waste principles

Prototype fun

Our clock was moving at a faster rate than the output that was being produced. At this point, we took a pause to look at ways to divide and conquer. Two of us had access to potential users that we could test the prototypes with and the third person toggled between the two teams to assist as needed.

Prototype 1:

As consumers, do we feel responsible for delivery package plastic? Do we still think only the food providers and the aggregators are solely responsible?

Target: Frequent consumers who order more than 3 times a week — Gen X and Gen Y are hard to persuade.

We introduced design interventions to an existing food delivery consumer app by including the visual narration of the journey of re-usable food packaging containers and tablewares. The visual journey included packaging material warehouse, food providers, consumers, drop-off by consumers, pick-up by partners after use, professional cleaning for reuse and recycling. A hand-sketched prototype with visual motivators and drivers at digital user touchpoints was tested with a Gen X user test participant. We observed that the participant, on one hand, was reluctant to the idea of the reusable containers on account of a perceived lack of hygiene and on the other hand keen on receiving rewards for exhibiting sustainable behaviour. Additionally, the participant appreciated trust-building signals and visual indicators displayed by the actors of the zero waste ecosystem.

Prototype 2:

We wanted to promote activities that create dopamine hit, reinforce positive feedback through instant gratification, and develop sustainable habits on Zero Waste. We looked at analogous industries, task-oriented kiosks, and gaming kiosks typically used by Gen Z to generate ideas.

We sketched a storyboard for an interactive reverse vending kiosk that could be built with recycled materials, give digital rewards, and vend physical gifts upon depositing plastic waste to reuse or recycle. The sketches were then tested with a Gen Z participant. Our biggest insight was that our participant was ecstatic to have the “cool experience” of having a visual way of getting the instant gratification of recycling the plastic packaging. The participant was willing to get their family and friends to do the same with them for the joy of the tangible interactive experience. When we asked what ideas would the participant change or enhance, if given a magic wand, the participant expressed ideas on integrating rewards system, setting goals and tracking progress. Since these were features that enhanced the experience considerably and was possible to integrate immediately, we iterated our prototype to showcase gamification elements to the kiosk experience.

Slide template credit: https://slidesgo.com/

Documentation and presentation

With two hours left on the clock, it was now crunch time! Again, as our structure was in place, we followed the divide and conquer method to collate the content. We believed that the storytelling aspect was critical for presenting an idea because you can have the best of solutions but if your audience isn’t impacted by it or it doesn’t provoke any thought, you haven’t created the needed impact. We spent the remaining amount of time crafting the storyline, including statistics for our 10-minute presentation and practised the pitch. The presentation to our fellow jammers and jury panel marked the end of our Day 2 and wrapped up our 2022 Jam.

Conclusion

We as humans don’t easily understand the nature’s way of communication. Creating value for the environment and realisation takes time. We ventured into rethinking the food packaging service journey of “make-use-dispose”. With the given time, we decided to tackle the low hanging fruits and looked at design interventions in the existing digital space of the food delivery ecosystem. It was a pleasure discovering Infinity Box , Just salad reusable bowl program, Chop’d Keepie salad bowl, DeliverZero, which are revolutionising solutions aimed towards creating a circular economy for reusable and recyclable environment-friendly food packaging containers. In 2022, technical solutions do exist, supply chain and operational efficiency is getting better. But to capture value, consumers should be ready to pay for it. The challenging part is bringing in behavioural change which takes time and effort.

Key takeaways as design practitioners

A collaborative environment that creates the space to pitch in equally and encourages open communication among new collaborators is always more enjoyable and produces better results. Time is not the constraint for an iterative design process but the mindset. Compliments on our storytelling method motivated us to rethink our own ways that we can repurpose for the environment to practice sustainability.

This article is a collaboration between Saranya Villavankothai and Vinodhini R Nagarajan to celebrate our learning and two cents towards sustainability at the Global Service Jam 2022.

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This is a part of Service Design Drinks India: Offline meetup community for service designers, entrepreneurs. Visit www.servicedesignindia.com

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Vinodhini R Nagarajan

Vinodhini R Nagarajan

Experience design and research

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