A few days ago I introduced Design For Meaning: A Co-Op Project For Positive Change and promised to share where I landed as I generated ideas for potential social businesses. After tinkering with a few different concepts, I decided to focus on the intersect between what I really care about, what I believe to be the root cause of many other issues and something I think we can have an impact on in the short term and potentially scale. The concept I've decided to explore further is ways we might encourage people to ease up a bit on the mindless consumption cycle. A possible way may be to increase the awareness and adoption of existing local sharing services.
Business model outline
Here's a basic outline of the concept. I've also drafted a quick business model canvas to capture the thinking and identify the key focus areas for the initial research... so here's the rough outline!
Provide an integrated service that makes it easier to share and trade locally. Purpose of increasing sense of local community and sharing resources rather than having to own everything - especially in urban and high density living areas. Saves everyone money, space, carbon impact, packaging and other waste.
Possibly build a franchise model or platform so other people could start a social business using the same model in their local area. Also provides a revenue stream and provides a direct and actionable channel for our teaching others angle.
Increase awareness and adoption of existing local services that share things like cars (share cars and car pooling), bikes, community gardens, books, movies, music, art, office space, internet connections etc. Currently fragmented and relatively low awareness of what I can use that is conveniently located near me. Bring in recognition and levelling up to drive adoption. Reward using multiple collaborative consumption services more than just using one of a lot. Identify where there are gaps in services to get current services providers to expand into those areas.
Revenue may be a combination of subscription to our service, commissions or profit share from commercial partners, grants from local, state and fed governments, sponsorship / unobtrusive relevant ads. Professional service fees from commercial partners to for superior integrated web & mobile distribution. Maybe discount vouchers to local businesses like Entertainment Book but more local. Concept of money saved from discounts more than pays for our service.
Channels would be mostly web and mobile. Strong focus on local, social & mobile (LoSoMo) design & tech. Integrate with existing ATL (and any BTL) marketing from partners. Delivery and support channels would be the existing services we are directing people to. Allow review and feedback. Focus on integrating existing channels and services rather than building hi-tech services of our own.
Partner with progressive councils like City of Sydney, companies like GoGet, local communities, body corporates, community centres, local businesses.
Key activities initially would be focussing on key services to integrate and build partnerships. Design, build and manage the website / platform.
The next step is to discuss the concept with the team and start doing some research to test some of the key assumptions. Let's see what we learn!