How to design a way to reduce food waste in single households - THE PICK-UP BOX a design thinking project by gr8

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Published on February 15, 2014

Author: KateVomBerg



For SINGLE HOUSEHOLDS, who have to manage their leftovers, PICK-UP-BOX is a web-based solution that offers an EASY way to share leftovers in a TRUSTWORTHY way. Unlike web-based food sharing communities, where a lot of effort is involved, PICK-UP-BOX makes it possible to save and share resources in a quite SIMPLE way.


PITCH Do you plan to waste food? Hopefully not. Most people do not intend to. But do you actually waste food? Likely yes. As most people do. Statistics reveal that each household wastes food with an annual value of almost 500 Euro. This results in 22 billion Euro for Germany alone. Our research showed that people can't bridge the gap between planing their shopping of groceries and using them up in time This PLAN-REALITY-DILEMMA arises a feeling of guilt in most consumers. Facing unneeded leftovers people say "Only this time I waste it. Tomorrow I'll do better." But this tomorrow never comes. Our project team focussed on the most crucial consumer to this dilemma - a consumer with a changing time schedule. We named him Max. Due to his work as a business man Max's plans often change and he wastes a lot of food. Despite this behavior, Max still wants to do and feel good. We created PICK-UP-BOX as a powerful solution for Max. Pick-upbox is a webpage that informs and helps people to set up a food sharing solution in their house communities. It fulfills the two most critical functions for food sharing: It offers a simple way to share food with others sharing through pick-up-box is as easy as throwing things away. Second, it creates trust for recipients as they know the source of food being their neighbor.. In order to help people to create a trustful environment, pick-up-box also provides a manual on the webpage with important insights. The concept is simple to use and can be scaled up easily. In this way we contribute to an urgent need of our society - preparing an easy concept that has a significant impact on saving resources - starting today.

PITCH For SINGLE HOUSEHOLDS, who have to manage their leftovers, PICK-UP-BOX is a web-based solution that offers an EASY way to share leftovers in a TRUSTWORTHY way. Unlike web-based food sharing communities, where a lot of effort is involved, PICK-UP-BOX makes it possible to save and share resources in a quite SIMPLE way. !

UNDERSTANDING - WHAT’S OUT THERE? ! ! ! For a better understanding of our challenge and a first approach to deeper knowledge we started to write down several assumptions about food waste. They were collected by using the method “charette”. This brought up a collection of assumed insights on a confusing 360° view. To become more concrete we decided to focus on a interesting user group that may give some, until now, interesting, unexpected and exciting insights. 
 ! 360°

UNDERSTANDING - WHAT’S OUT THERE? By discussing and enlarging the 360° view, we recorded as well our general main findings of the first understanding process, that are summarized in the following figure: ! First Ideas of gaining empathy during the understanding phase were the basis for the following working process, especially the observing and interviewing phase.
 ! 360°

UNDERSTANDING - WHAT’S OUT THERE? In addition, we collected and analyzed data concerning food waste in Germany and the Progressive increase of food waste and its environmental impact. ! Some facts: • There are about 7 billion tons of food each year in the rubbish bin in Germany. • That means as well, every eight´s food package we buy will end up in the rubbish bin. • Per person you spend 235¤ per year for food you throw away. ! ! ! 360°

UNDERSTANDING - WHAT’S OUT THERE? ! Quite important is as well: temperature and storage of food in a fridge. Therefore other research points were facts about and techniques on: ! ! 
 "How to keep food longer fresh?" 360°

UNDERSTANDING - WHAT’S OUT THERE? Out of understanding, what´s going out there, we finally came up with our reframed design challenge as you can see partly on the following post-it: ! ! WOULD PEOPLE SPEND TIME / MONEY TO NOT WASTE FOOD? Additionally we reframed the challenge: our focus lay now on the special user-group of single households with a changing time schedule and a very high or very low income.
 ! …. gr8 Question, that should be answered in the following observing-phase.

OBSERVATION ! What are the reasons for food waste in single households? In Germany each year 22 Billion EUR worth of food are wasted in private households. Most food is wasted in single households by people under 39. ! We want to learn about: ! • ! • • • • • Shopping habits + food planning strategy Consciousness Techniques to extend the life of food Motivation not to waste Occasions of food waste Identifying and understanding the extreme users 
 EMPATHY PROTOTYPE: Understanding what’s important to people concerning cooking and food. !

OBSERVATION ! Interviews Locations: Beta-Haus, Supermarkets, metro station and on the streets of Berlin. People: an expert on food storage, random chosen people, high- medium- low income with a changing time schedule, personnel in supermarkets ! Observations Locations: Kochhaus, supermarkets, housing cooperatives ! Information research Food storage- How to make food last longer Storage- Different techniques Existing initiatives for reducing food waste Fridge retailers ! ! ! ! !

SYNTHESIS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

SYNTHESIS ! ”I like the feeling of turning of the fridge when going on vacation, to save electricity and therefore the environment” ! ! ! Contradictions: ! • • ! ! ! ! ! • • ”I would not spend more time/money to reduce my food waste” People say they don´t throw away food but there are a lot of food waste turn of the fridge when going on vacation to save the environment but at the same time throws away a lots of food people who plan their food shopping still get leftovers Put time in tracking expenses but have no time for planning his food shopping

SYNTHESIS ! Surprises ! • • • • • • • Share leftover with neighbors on a regular basis ”There is no need to share food in Europe, everybody can afford food” Throws away all food every time he´s going away for a week Few says they throw away food Most valued are time & money Hygiene and technique can make food last very long Education could reduce food waste • • • Varied food consumption – Food waste No time for sharing – few existing alternatives Not wasting means cooking food containing few ingredients ! Tensions ! ! ! ! !

SYNTHESIS ! NEEDS • An easy way to get rid of food/leftovers when plans change / people go traveling • A cost- and time efficient alternative to the existing possibilities today • Know what is in the fridge when food shopping • Get the feeling of doing something for the environment • Possibility to cook with more ingredients without have to waste food afterwards • Easy way to get rid of a bad consciousness for wasting food • To save money ! MAIN INSIGHTS • Common food people throw away is vegetables because they don´t last long • People who don´t want to waste food don´t necessarily care for the environment • People wouldn´t waste as much food if it were more expensive • It is impossible to plan not to waste any food • People don´t test the quality of food, people trust the provider • People are not comfortable ringing the neighbor’s doorbell when they don´t know them ! !

SYNTHESIS ! ! ! ! ! ”I want to save food to feel better. I don’t care for the money but it must be in a simple way” Our Persona: MAX A 35-years-old business-man with a changing time schedule and with little time. His changing and many times unpredictable time schedule makes it hard for him to plan his food shopping and he often ends up with a full fridge when it’s time to go on a business trip. He goes spontaneously to restaurants and travels a lot for work. His “plan-reality-dilemma”, which leads to food waste, creates a bad consciousness for him. ! Contradiction: He wants to do good but wastes food regularly. ! Key Insight: He wants to save food, not for saving money but to have a good feeling and ! ! he is only willing to invest very little time.

IDEATION ! We started brainstorming and faded to body-storming by walking around the whiteboard to get more and wilder ideas. After a couple of minutes and a first collection of ideas, we began to build on the ideas of others. We came up with a plenty of wild ideas. Everybody chose 3 of them for a first filtering. Then every team member defined a rational, a resonant and a radical choice which leaded us to 3 concepts, we visualized on the idea dashboards. The sketches of the 3 ideas are taken from those dashboards, they visualize how the ideas run!

1. IDEA - RENT A PIG (OR A CHICK…) ! The user rents a pig from a farm, which eats his leftovers. So the farmer doesn’t have to pay for the food. In practice, the pig gets delivered by the farmerboy and gets the leftovers in a house-own pigroom. When the pig has eaten up all leftovers, it can go back home in his pigpen. The advantage of the rent-a-pig-idea is, that it’s a sustainable way to give leftovers back to nature and by the way care for the environment by avoiding food waste. ! !

2. IDEA - SCORE SYSTEM On a website/App, leftovers can be offered and picked up by another user. Because of a certified system, the user can trust in the products. In return, those who offer leftovers gets scores or presents as a motivation to use the system/idea. ! The advantage can be seen in the easy way how to use the system and the motivation the users get through scores and presents. At least, leftovers aren’t leftovers anymore that charge the environment, they will be used again by someone who needs them. ! The way how this idea works is a as easy as it seems: A user offers leftovers on a website. If someone is interested in it, he gets in contact with the provider and picks up the food at the appointed time. In the end, the food gets evaluated and scores will be given to the provider. If there are enough scores, the provider can change them into nice presents. !

2. IDEA - SCORE SYSTEM It is at least usefully not to waste food and has at the same time a social component because you get to know neighbors or new inhabitants in the surroundings. Another important aspect is the easy way how to use the system because of the website/app. ! !

3. IDEA - TRASH CAN FOR LEFTOVERS The idea is to share leftovers with your direct neighbors by sharing food in a common box in the staircase of a house. You can put some food inside if there are leftovers, other can reuse it by picking it up. ! ! 

3. IDEA - TRASH CAN FOR LEFTOVERS ! ! ! Sharing food should be as easy as throwing it away! The idea is useful for consumers because of the easy way of sharing by leaving the house, further more the trash can saves the environment by preventing waste. At least you will not have a bad consciousness for throwing away worthy food or because of a bad planning and you do something good by giving leftovers to others. • It could be important, that the trash can feels fresh and hygienic, e.g. by putting the food in certain packages to keep it fresh and separated from other leftovers. • The box keeps the food cool and makes it lasting longer as well. ! !

PROTOTYPING ! Through the ideation and a partner group´s suggestion we came up with the following prototype. Basically it is a little cupboard with three drawers. It can be used to share leftovers with other people in a simple way. During further improvements at the prototype we concentrated on the most critical function of our prototype – to create trust. !

PROTOTYPING ! The prototype contains three spaces with boxes in it. As visible in the righthand picture the boxes have transparent fronts, so the user can see what is in the box. The prototype also includes a fridge-function to keep the food fresh. We thought about different solutions to keep the boxes clean. First of all every box contains a coating for easy cleaning. Additionally all the shared food has to be packed in a biodegradable transparent bag which can be discarded after using. For keeping the food safe from rats, the cupboard should be placed onto something and not on the flo or. Furthermore it needs a caretaker in the house, who cleans the Boxes occasionally. ! To increase trust in the shared food, the donator tags the food with his name and the date. Donators also like to have feedback. - otherwise they would not share their leftovers for a longer period. So the receiver has the opportunity to leave a comment on the feedback board. !

PROTOTYPING ! ! ! ! ! ! The CRITICAL FUNCTION of our concept is the opportunity to share food in a simple and trustful way. People don´t take and eat food without knowing the provider. Furthermore people don´t share food without knowing if it will be used. So the minimal viable product for our concept can be a simple box. - but a frame of trust has to be build around it.. !

TESTING ! During the testing preparation we came up with some critical questions regarding food sharing in the way we designed. it Most of the questions dealt with our most critical function – the trust aspect. Therefore we used our critical function prototype - a single box - for testing. ! We decided to test different types of groceries and different places for the pick-up-box. We wanted to find out whether and why it would be used or not and how trust in the box can be created.. !

TESTING ! We tested the pick-up-box for three days in our own houses. Therefor we created an explanation sheet which describes a typical situation in our persona´s (Max) life. Moreover we added a feedback board. !

TESTING ! ! The feedback we got for the testing in our houses shows that a lot of our neighbors accepted the concept we designed. In a second testing phase we interviewed some residents in one house where we tested the pick-upbox. A lot of the interviewees said, they would also donate. ! Even after the testing phase two boxes are still in use. This includes both receiving and donation. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

TESTING ! ! ! ! One prototype was afflicted by rats. So one of the expected disadvantages proved to be real. But this problem is technically easy to solve. ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! So in total we classified the concept „pick-up-box“ as a SUCCESS in house communities.

TESTING ! For testing the pick-up-box outside, we placed one prototype in front of a café in Kreuzberg and observed the reactions. We also interviewed people who noticed or reacted to the box. The feedback was positiv regarding the idea though nobody picked food out of it. The reasons for that included answers like „I am not poor.“ and „I go shopping by myself, so I don´t need this.“ So we found out the people did not really understand the idea behind the concept to safe food from waste but rather thought it was for poor people. !

TESTING ! After this comments we placed the pick-up-box in front of an organic supermarket and interviewed some pedestrians again. The result: More trust because it seemed to be a donation from the store and people then assumed that it had to be good. The people also liked that the supermarket seemed to care about the issue of food waste. Afterwards we actually found a turkish food market which uses the concept of a leftoversharing-box for many years now. We interviewed a clerk of the store who told us that this concept works quite well. Both - poor and wealthier people pick up the left-overs, which the store can not sell anymore. So the pick-up-box works in house communities and in contexts where a market or restaurant is sharing left-overs. Otherwise the concept was misunderstood as a social product or was not trusted at all.

ITERATION Testing showed: How the box looks like does not matter. Whether people use the box or not is less related to the look of the box but more to the issue: ! who is it from? meaning is the source TRUSTWORTHY? REFRAME How might we enable a person to put up a food-sharing box that the other inhabitants of the house TRUST?

ITERATION People do not have a need for a source to order a nicely designed food-sharing box but they need a MANUAL on how to REUSE A LEFTOVER BOX from their household and transform it into a trustworthy source of food-sharing with their neighbors. That is why on the WEBSITE - people can find all the necessary information on how to set up a random leftover box in a TRUSTWORTHY way. !

ITERATION The website provides a MANUAL and free examples and drafts for material that creates TRUST: • an explanation & invitation for the neighbors • a feedback sheet • labels to identify from whom the food is and when it was prepared / opened

SUMMARY ! PICK-UP-BOX allows to share leftovers among neighbors. It is all about three things: ! ! ! ! ! ! 1. It offers a simple and fast usage for the supplier of food. 2. It creates a trustful environment for the receiver of food. 3. The concept is easy to scale. It can be started independently and without a budget.
 ! ! !

SUMMARY ! The key features of our service is a WEBPAGE that provides all our valuable insights. It allows to start a physical PICK-UP-BOX successfully within minutes. The required materials (a box, paper and adhesive tape) are usually available in every household. The website is minimalistic but appealing. It contains information about the following: ! Introduction - The initiator motivates other neighbors to participate at the beginning ! (through a letter or an event). Place - The box needs to be seen and accessed easily for all neighbors but not for ! unwanted animals. Packaging - Food has to be packed transparent and has to communicate the date ! and source of supply.

SUMMARY ! ! The websites also contains information about: ! Care Taker - A care taker empties leftovers occasionally. ! Feedback Board - Users can communicate questions, comments and ! appreciations. The website also includes some success stories. To make progress visible and further insights accessible an online feedback board is included in our service. ! ! ! !

SUMMARY ! Pick-up-box has been tested in different environments successfully. It works in a simple and effective way and has three steps. ! 1. step: It starts with an initiator willing to safe resources and wanting to feel good about it. They get all the needed information from our web page and can start immediately. A small kick-off event informs and motivates neighbors to participate. This can be a letter in the staircase (a prototype is offered online). An advanced kick-off event would be a gathering of neighbors. 2. step: Any kind of available box is to be placed in the staircase from that time on. Accompanied with a feedback board and a "how to use" introduction the pickup-box is ready to use. 3. step: The initiator and volunteers take care of the box and e.g. throw out rotten leftovers from time to time. Also the feedback board will be renewed if needed. This duty is done within a minute.

SUMMARY ! ! PICK-UP-BOX is an innovation in the field of food sharing, because the other existing approaches such as the platform or the iPhone App LeftoverSwap request much time for communication and coordination. They also don't solve the problem of trust among strangers. And they have problems to be scaled as they need many people to start. ! PICK-UP-BOX solves this challenges. Everyone can start today with his house community. When 10% of the wasted food in Germany will be shared through our innovation, we all safe 2.2 billion EUR a year. Pick-up-box will make people feel good again about their behavior regarding managing food. ! Indeed, it was never easier to replace your bad consciousness with satisfaction and a smile!

INTRODUCING THE TEAM - THIS IS gr8! Maria Udén Richard Wenzel Management of Change and Innovation Capability The Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Sweden Mechatronics Leibniz Universität Hannover Erfurt, Germany Charlotte Schweyer Annekatrin Bergemann Urban Planning Hochschule für Technik Stuttgart Stuttgart, Germany Culture and American Studies Freie Universität Berlin Rostock, Germany Leopold Kohl Family Business Management Universität Witten / Herdecke Erfurt, Germany

AND THANKS TO OUR gr8 COACHES! Andrea Scheer Flavia Bleuel Teacher Evangelische Schule Berlin Zentrum Communication and Media Science University of Arts, Berlin Ulrike Anders Dr. Timm Krohn Design Strategist CEO of HPI Academy Prof. Dr. Katharina Hölzle Donia Hamdami University of Potsdam Industrial Design and Scenography Sabrina Meyfeld

Hasso%Pla(ner%Ins-tut School3of3Design3Thinking Prof.&Dr.&Helmert&Str..2.&.3 D&14482.Potsdam Germany Phone:.+49&331&5509&123 Web:.www.hpi.uni&

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