World Vision: Waste Challenge
The Philippines is currently ranked the third worst plastic polluter in the world, behind only Indonesia and China. They amass nearly two million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste every year toward the global ocean plastic problem. Besides plastic waste, the Philippines is also the home to improperly managed and informal disputes, uncollected waste and a total lack of awareness and motivation towards proper waste management. The history of poor waste collection and management has had a serious impact on the environment and the livelihood of local communities and its residents.
The focus of this social innovation challenge was to come up with a way of changing the current waste situation in the Filipino Island of Iloilo. For this project, I worked alongside a team of four classmates which included, Sara Selvaggi, Isaac Heizer, Michaela Valiquette, and Cloris Tang.
Our collective goal for this project
The project was meant for us to come together and collect different insights into how we can help this city solve their problem. Here are a few things we wanted to achieve in this course:
Brainstorm the leading causes of waste mismanagement as well as the current state of the island
Creating an efficient and realistic method of managing waste in the area
Inspiring communities to come together as one
Using pre-existing resources/collaborations with services pre-existing in the Philippines
Developing a method that will have longevity
After being given this assignment, we spent a week doing secondary research to make sure we understand the design challenge, the user segments and the ecosystem they work within.
At the beginning of the project, we were tasked as a group to do a Crazy 8’s activity, to come up with eight vastly different ideas in eight minutes for the waste problem. 8 minutes 1 idea per minute amongst 5 people. As you probably can tell we came up with a lot of potential ideas which was great as we also learned how each one of us processed the thoughts and the reasonings behind them.
Our solution: building on an existing business model
After narrowing down ideas we came across the concept of using the business model of a successful company and applying it towards a social initiative. The business model we chose was that of Uber who, with their double-sided platform has done exceptionally well in the transportation sector. What we had in mind was creating a service very much like Uber but for garbage collection. Ideally, the customers would use their phone to call a driver who would collect the packaged garbage and transport it to a designated MRF.
The Business Model Canvas
The main deliverable for the WorldVision challenge is the business model canvas. We used this fantastic tool throughout the project to help us working through the assignment in a logical way. Starting with the customer segments and our idea, we outlined our value proposition and key activities. Following that, we had a much easier time thinking through the steps of how our design solution could be commercialized and profitable.
Before diving into designing and finalization of ideas and concepts we had to be aware of the obstacles that stopped previous initiatives from succeeding. The obstacles we came across were:
Solid waste management supervision and rules enforcement are weak
Although an established Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) is mandated by the government, not all barangays entirely comply
The communities of Sto. Nino Sur and Sto. Nino Norte do not have any established MRF’s
The low value attributed to waste management prevents many community members from feeling incentivized
How can we turn an idea into a plan
Our idea was heavily focused on creating a mobile service for the residence in Iloilo, however, the costs of doing so would be very counterproductive and expensive which would just take away resources that can be provided to the community. We decided to go the route of collaboration and try to partner with the local startup Grab. Grab is a ride-share business like Uber marketed specifically for the Asian market. Their pre-existing services include regular ride-share, taxi services, as well as food delivery which are all mobile services. Considering that Grab has a good consumer base in Philippines and specifically Iloilo, means customers would already be familiar with it.
Where does ‘Grab’ come in:
Grab already has a strong mobile foundation that allows Android and Apple users to book rides and food within a matter of minutes. We contacted Grab through email to discuss the idea of adding our Idea/intellectual property as another service in their product line which would be catered for the island of Iloilo and later be spread to rest of the Philippines. There are many reasons why collaborations would make sense for this case, here are our reasonings:
It would be cheaper to produce as the resources are already available
Having an established business backing us allows for a higher rate of success
No need for a physical location for headquarters
Wireframes, initial design, and flow
After finalizing the details about the application I started designing low-fi wireframes that give a basic idea of how the application runs.
How it works:
How the app works is much like any other ride service application. The steps are:
Sign in / sign up
Select the pickup location for the garbage
The driver is selected and the arrival time is displayed
Place Garbage outside of your location
Once the garbage is picked up you will get a prompt that shows you the location of MRF where your garbage will be disposed of. You can then rate the efficiency of the driver as it is very important to constantly improve upon services.
Below is the user flow I created for the projects prototype. After creating the chart I realized how more complex it could become once the project reaches its next stage.
Here is a simple 2 screen example of what the final product would most likely be. Since the project is still in its early stages, having an idea of what it is that we want is important.