What Is Good Local?
Good Local is about making it easier for people to share and trade locally. The concept is to be like Airbnb for sharing services – a community and marketplace enabled by a digital platform to promote and map sharing services, making them easier to find and access.
The ambition is to increase the awareness and adoption of local sharing and collaborative consumption services. The key benefit being people save money, space, carbon impact, packaging and other waste. This will divert waste from landfills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and encourage behaviours like switching to renewable energy and water conservation.
Part of our approach to Good Local is to treat it as a transparent experiment in the hope that our experience and what we learn on the journey helps other social entrepreneurs. So in that spirit, I’m sharing the current iteration of the Good Local outline along with a start on the brand design. It all started back in September 2012 (yep, it’s been a while!)… and you can read a bit about the backstory in Design For Meaning: A Co-Op Project For Positive Change. At the end of October 2012 I drafted the outline and business model for the local sharing concept I’d been thinking about. It became Good Local in March 2014.
The Problem & Opportunity Context
In developed countries, the consumption cycle is now systemic, increasing and accelerating. This results in an enormous amount of waste, emissions from manufacturing and transportation and the unsustainable use of natural resources. This has significant negative impact to our local environment and often to the environment of people in emerging economies – in Australia and internationally.
What if we could help people be more mindful, raise the level of awareness and increase the adoption of positive behaviours? To be conscious of what we’re doing, the impact to ourselves, to others and to the planet. It’s then a personal decision on what action to take, if any… and when to take action… but maybe we could help make taking action easier?
I’ve spoken to many people who feel like I do – trapped in the endless cycle of buying stuff, storing it, insuring it, maintaining it and then having to upgrade it.
There are alternatives. The continual growth of the sharing economy has shown there is a strong desire to take action when people are aware of the options and it is convenient. There are now many sharing services available – some free, some paid for by rates and taxes, and others with a commercial model. Unfortunately a lot of people still don’t know what the alternatives are and how to access them.
Good Local’s Purpose
We want to make it easier for people to share and trade locally.
The purpose of Good Local is to increase the awareness and adoption of local sharing and collaborative consumption services. We will provide an easy and compelling alternative to mindless consumption.
For now, we’ll use the term “sharing services” to cover many approaches to sharing, collaborative consumption and local trade – this includes:
- Traditional shared resources like libraries, public transport, public spaces
- Businesses in the sharing economy like GoGet, Airbnb
- Organisations that recycle, freecycle and upcycle – as charity or with a commercial model
- Local small businesses and producers
- Peer to peer trade like garage sales, eBay, Gumtree
- Peer to peer sharing like hand me downs, swaps, lending / borrowing, carpooling
Who’s It For?
The key focus is people living in high density areas. Pyrmont is currently the most densely populated suburb in Australia. This will be the initial focus area but with the intent to rapidly expand into other City of Sydney Villages.
The initial research we’ve done showed people who use one type of sharing service are very open to using more types of sharing services. These people are likely to be our early adopters. The psychological and behavioural barriers are low. They just need an easy way to know what’s available. Generally people don’t go searching for what they don’t know about, so serendipity is key to making these new connections.
As Good Local matures and evolves, the intent is to increase the number of local areas covered – nationally and ideally internationally.
What Social Value Will Be Delivered?
The social value will be:
- Increased awareness of local sharing services
- Increased adoption of sharing services and the behavioural change to use sharing services across multiple categories
- Reduced waste going to landfills
- Increased recycling and proper disposal of e-waste
- Increased sense of local community
- People experiencing the benefit of sharing resources rather than having to own everything – especially in urban and high density living areas. The key benefit being everyone saves money, space, carbon impact, packaging and other waste
- Disrupt the buy, store, insure, maintain, upgrade cycle. More adoption of reduce, reuse and recycling behaviours
What’s The Concept?
The concept of Good Local is to be like Airbnb for sharing services. A community and marketplace enabled by a digital platform to promote and map sharing services, making them easier to find and access.
A key concept is serendipity. Surfacing sharing services people don’t necessarily already know about and don’t think to look for. This will be done visually through mapping and through articles and community to provide inspiration.
The initial release of the platform will be centrally managed and curated.
We’re doing more research on this but our current thinking is to categorise services based on needs. Something like:
- Getting around: share cars, carpooling, share bikes, public transport, bike lanes, walking
- Eating: community gardens, grow your own, local markets (farmer & super), local restaurants, fresh local produce
- Play: public art, music, events, galleries, libraries, local attractions, sports
- Learning: cooking classes, shared books, libraries, courses, mentoring / coaching
- Working: co-working / shared office space, internet connections, wi-fi
- Home: recycling, freecycling, upcycling, second hand donations, swaps, garage sales, clothing bins, e-waste, composts, worm farms, renewable energy, saving water, lighting projects, solar projects
The roadmap is to rapidly move to a two-sided marketplace which will allow organisations and individuals to list and manage their own sharing services.
We’ve identified assumptions for a range of customer / problem / solution hypotheses. We’ll use the Experiment Board to plan and run structured experiments to test these. Our riskiest assumptions are:
- People don’t know about many of the sharing services they have easy access to
- If sharing services are more visible and convenient, many people will modify their behaviour in minor ways for positive impact
- The Fogg behaviour model (behaviour = motivation, ability & trigger at the same moment) can be successfully applied to design for this behaviour change
The initial research and design of the concept and value proposition has been funded by a grant from Dynamic4 Good.
We are seeking support from the City of Sydney in the form of a grant or sponsorship. We are committed to contributing to several of the City of Sydney 2030 targets and believe we are a fit for at least two of the grants.
Good Local will be designed to have a sustainable business model that will be cashflow positive once established in the market without dependence on ongoing grants. The initial seed funding will be used to supplement additional Dynamic4 Good grants and any other funding we can raise. Funding will be used to:
- Do more research, test assumptions and prioritise scope
- Design the brand
- Design the full lifecycle and experience with Good Local
- Design, build and deliver the platform
- Create and curate content
- Marketing campaigns – digital, print, outdoor etc
- Build and manage community engagement
- Support onboarding and operations
- Expansion into other City of Sydney Villages
The Good Local Brand
Who Is The Brand?
Who is the brand for? Who should the brand appeal to?
- Good Local is with, by and for the community. A diverse group of people with different needs, expectations and taste
- A subset of the community already care enough to be active / proactive in sustainability issues and want to be recognised for this
What do we stand for? What are our values? What do we want to be known for – our reputation?
- Fresh, dynamic and progressive, not reserved
- Friendly and engaging, not judgmental
- Open and inclusive, not exclusive, patronising or condescending
- Something in a positive direction is better than nothing, it’s not all or nothing
- Serendipity and pleasant surprises, not the same old stuff
- Part of the community, not the experts
What other brands do we need to consider in the architecture? What is the relationship?
- Allow for expansion into other service categories (eg Fit Local)
- Local is the critical element of the brand
How Does The Brand Feel?
What mood do we want to create?
- A sense of being part of something, belonging. Part of a movement
- Our members should feel valued for their positive actions and contribution
- That Good Local is the future. It has energy and momentum
- Positive focus on what is happening and what can be – not distracted by what should be
- Feeling good about personal accountability and contribution, not waiting for someone else to do it
What relationship should the brand setup with people interacting with it?
- A partner to make things easier
- A way to be involved with and contribute to something bigger than they can do on their own
- Treat people as intelligent and well informed. Help them be well informed but don’t make a big deal about it. Let them feel like the expert
How should the brand sound?
- The well liked friend – casual, trusted, full of good advice, supportive and there when you need them
- The tone should have energy, be positive and optimistic
- We should never sound judgmental, preachy, condescending, patronising or cold
How Does The Brand Look?
How will the brand be visually identified? The logo, colours, typography, style, imagery
- We’ll work through this more after refining who the brand is and how it feels
- “Local” should be easily and immediately identified – it is the core message. A san serif typeface or very clean and modern serif type
- “Good” can be more playful and unique
What Happens Next?
I’m determined to build and maintain momentum on Good Local from this point forward. This is a startup focused on social outcomes… we will continue to use a human centred and lean startup approach. As with any startup, we’re a business experimenting to identify a sustainable business model. We’ll learn things along the way – we don’t have all the answers – and never will! One outcome of the journey may be finding out this isn’t viable or sustainable, which would lead to changes in direction or possibly pulling the plug. But we’ll never know unless we try.
Keen to be a Good Local? Get in touch…