The main idea behind my Major Project was to develop a solution, which takes a human ‘centered,’ design ‘based’ approach to helping both individuals and organizations in the public sector innovate and grow. After developing two projects concerning environmental issues, l believe that l have improved a certain level of accumulation of knowledge about social problems, especially natural contamination. In this manner, I strongly believe that design is a way of thinking and it should be a deeply human process that taps into abilities that we all have but overlooked by more conventional problem ‘solving’ practices. It should motivate our ability to be more intuitive and responsible by constructing ideas that are emotionally meaningful as well as functional, and to express ourselves through means beyond words or symbols. Considering those facts, I have narrowed my research to particularly environmentally concerned issues and changing human behaviours.
At this point of my research, I have decided to create a solution over the using up of resources, a global problem, that can only be solved by changing our approach about the way we consume goods. Subsequently l discovered the movement of Collaborative Consumption, which is a social revolution that allows people to create value out of shared and open resources in ways that balances personal self-interest with the good of the larger community. When I focused my investigation to this subject, I find out that, the term is used to describe an economic model based on sharing, swapping, bartering, trading or renting access to products as opposed to ownership. Nowadays, technology and peer communities are enabling these old market behaviors to be reinvented in ways and on a scale never possible before. From enormous market places such as eBay and Craigslist, to emerging sectors such as social lending, peer-to-peer travel and car sharing, Collaborative Consumption is an amazing way of disrupting outdated models if business and reinventing not just what people consume but how they consume it.
From my point of view, the only problem about this well constructed ideology is the lack of design thinking. My research proofed me that, the movement has been generated mainly by social innovators, strategists, economists, speakers and consultants with no contribution of any designers. For that reason, when I met with Collaborative Consumption, besides its groundbreaking context, it was not in a marketable state. Therefore, the most successful brands start an ongoing dialogue with people through a compelling mix of seamlessly connected products, experiences, spaces and digital interactions, that fosters curiosity, trial, love and loyalty.
Operating from this perspective, l decided to use a mix of analytical tools and generative techniques to design how Collaborative Consumption operations can look in the future and I build road maps for getting there. My goal is to deliver appropriate, actionable, and tangible strategies, resulted by new, innovative avenues for growth that are grounded in business viability and market desirability. Mean time, the main inadequacy of the movement was an effective brand value, which is essential for building meaningful relationships with customers that evolve over time. Consequently, I came up with a catchy, dynamic and expressive name: Swapping.
After I finished writing bylaws and constitutions of Swapping International and planned my road map for the rest of the journey, l started developing the Swapping design concept, my true purpose was to design an identity that can express brand position through every available touch point. In this manner, l started with forming an approachable, warm and distinctive color palette, and Swapping International Organization’s official font family, which combines various type faces in harmony. This process helped me deeply to construct a logotype, forming from the crucial points of Swapping, like: time, money and space.
Through out my research, l observe that the main issue of the Collaborative Consumption was to providing platforms for building trust between strangers. Therefore, it was essential for me to craft a humanize system, that will give target audience the comfort and confidence to move beyond prejudgements and really innovate. Thus, l decided to support Swapping design concept with sets of illustrations, both for emphasizing the importance of the Big Society, that Swapping aims to build and increasing customer engagement and participation.
When I completed the Swapping International’s brand structure and design concept, l tested my solution on organization’s target audience. Since the main tool of the Swapping campaign is online applications, l put together simple surveys to observe the average social network user’s profile. The profile l ended up with lead me to divide Swapping target audience into three sections, which are mainly: Generation Z, between age 12 to 17; Generation Y between age 18 to 40 and finally Generation X between age 41 to 62. Considering this evidence, l exhibited Swapping International branding solutions to selected subjects from three different age groups. When Generation Z was enjoying the colorful illustrations, Generation Y was focusing on the technical aspect of the network, meanwhile Generation X was more interested in the social opportunities and outcomes for the bigger picture. This survey proofed me that the Swapping identity can speak to variety of audiences from different age groups and backgrounds.
Moreover, the concept testing gave me a clear mission about developing another delivery model, which is Swapping Retail. The retail section of the organization will focus on creating a business community and shops, that individuals can swap their excessive goods, time or money and experience Swapping adventure in a real environment besides the online applications. Swapping International Organization’s supporting elements are also essential to launch a successful brand. When an individual or shop owner signed in with Swapping through Website, an orientation package will deliver to their home or shop in short period.
For retail section the package will contain a welcome letter with a Swapper card, a booklet explaining the movement of Swapping, constitutions and bylaws of the organization, a promotional poster and a flayer guiding them how to get more involved with the organisation. Individuals will also receive a welcome letter with a Swapper card, constitutions and bylaws of the organization, a promotional poster explaining the movement of Swapping and again a flayer guiding them how to get involved. In conclusion, Swapping orientation package have every necessary element to help the receivers to adopt the essence of the ideology and take action.
While l was searching about Collaborative Consumption examples, I was so surprised by the quantity of the companies adopting this movement. From product service systems to redistribution markets, there are hundreds of renting, sharing or swapping options all over the world. The only negative aspect about this situation is the lack of communication and organization among those companies, that is where Swapping International comes in to action. The constitution of the organization intended to bring all the companies under the same roof to help them develop effective solutions, create not only services, but also the entire system that supports the basics of Collaborative Consumption in a practical, culturally appropriate, and scalable way. By embracing the Swapping ideology, companies are better able to interpret people’s needs in new ways for the development of innovative, financially and sustainable solutions.
I strongly believe that changing our behavior patterns is essential to reach permanent solutions over hyper-consumption. Yet, we are moving beyond an era of defining ourselves by the goods we possess. Now we express who we are by what we join, sharing what we are doing, what we are reading, what we are interested in, the groups we belong to, and who our friends are. We are feeding our social self, the part that seeks connection and belonging with collaborative actions. During the process of the project the success of the main idea was confirmed by those powerful roots that Collaborative Consumption has been built on.
Furthermore, if I were to do a similar project again l would pay particular attention to developing an effective online collaboration and activism between the organization and its target audience. I would like to establish a global network of creative, conscientious thinkers considered different ways of engaging people in community challenges. Providing an open platform for Swapping users and creative thinkers can design better, together where all contributions will be used to help address some of the toughest problems faced by modern society. Eventually Collaborative Consumption is all about creating value. Any kind.
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