[Archived] Capstone Opportunity: Gamifying Recycling

1. Background & Problem Statement

Gamer4Good, in partnership with the Office for Sustainability, is reinventing the way people recycle by developing a crowdsourcing platform that gamifies recycling and mobilizes people and their phones. Gamifying simply means applying gaming elements like scoring points, competing with others, treasure hunting, etc. to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals. In our case, the goal is to increase recycling, build community, and have fun along the way!

The platform will reward people to increase their recycling rates (and play games). Linking physical recycling to a mobile app (and game) will help drive recycling rates up and simultaneously the use of the mobile app (and game), creating a reinforcing loop. Individuals and groups will get points by interacting with our mobile app (and game) as well as by physically recycling. Points can then be converted to physical rewards (movie tickets, store discounts, travel, donation to causes, etc.) and in-­‐game goodies (badges, skins, etc.). We will create an ecosystem of partner companies (retailers, consumer goods, etc.) to sponsor physical rewards, recycling/waste management companies to leverage existing infrastructure, schools/universities to leverage educational and communal competition aspects, and municipalities and grassroots organizations (Surfrider, Ecomb, etc.) to promote awareness and attract media exposure.

We realize not everyone plays games but may want to engage in campaigns or competitions based only on recycling and earn points in the process. That’s why we are also building a stand-­‐alone app based on the same technology that focuses on direct recycling efforts with others.

Starting with universities, our aim is to increase the recycling level by 20% in Plastics (PET/HDPE) and 10% in Aluminum, Cardboard and Newsprint. As we progress, we look to expand to municipalities as well as other recyclable streams.

To support our goal we are inviting innovative ideas for designing smart ways to engage users and capture and validate recycled material. For more background information and see our video please go to http://gamer4good.com.

2. The Challenge: Design Feature

We expect the following features to be included in the design of the proposed solutions to a two-­‐part challenge:

Challenge A

  • Identify unique users at drop-­‐off points (i.e. recycle bins) when users drop off recyclables
  • Ability to detect the type of recyclables, e.g. plastic or aluminum
  • Ability to identify the weight of the recyclables by waste stream (e.g. aluminum and plastic separately) for individual user and defined groups of users, e.g. university
  • Ability to be integrated with the user’s mobile app to award points based on material type and quantity recycled
  • Ability to be integrated with the user’s mobile app to dashboard user’s recycling activities
  • Ability to allow users to identify different drop-­‐off points via the mobile app
  • Cost-­‐effective and scalable for millions of individuals, initially in the US and later globally
  • Robust validation mechanism to prevent ‘gaming the system’

Challenge B

  • Innovative model to generate demand for green dollars in order to sustain the whole ecosystem without the need for regulatory requirements. Ecosystem consists of businesses (local/regional/national),  recycling operations, and users. Note: Users can exchange their points earned from recycling for green dollars as well as buy/sell green dollars. Users can redeem green dollars for merchandise with participating businesses.

Preference will be given to solutions that can be contained within the mobile phone and application without the need to modify existing recycling infrastructure, e.g. recycle bins. Validation mechanism should be both robust and hassle-­‐free for users.

-­‐Note:  Solvers can be individuals or teams from academia, industry, or any other area. Solvers can submit white papers for solutions to any of the solution areas described above, but they should submit a separate white paper for each if responding to more than one. White papers must detail the source of the materials data, the application approaches used, and methods used to validate the findings.

-­‐We are not looking for concepts that would require big investments,  we are looking for concepts which can be monetized multiple ways and makes economic sense to scale.

3. Project Criteria

This Challenge requires an executive summary (Powerpoint preferred) and full report (can be in Powerpoint or Word). The submitted report should include the following:

  • A brief description of the solutions to the challenges, rationale as to why it should work and any validation or data that indicates this solution would be able to make a good return on investment as applied to enhancing recycling rates.
  • An explanation how this would be applied (methods needed) to recycling and approximate material costs, if applicable.
  • The Solver should describe in detail how to apply their solutions within the context of testing a Minimum Viable Product
  • Quantify all technology details needed to design the proposed solution.
  • Provide Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) cost of manufacturing, installation and implementation of such solution, if applicable
  • Citation(s) to accessible data or studies that can support the rationale for why it would work

Optional but not required

  • Full proposals may be submitted for consideration that should indicate the cost of a scaled version of the proposed concept and timeline to achieve this milestone.

4. Evaluation Criteria

Technical Criteria

  • 25 points: Proposed solutions can be managed wholly within a mobile phone and application (with related software) without modifying existing infrastructure, e.g. recycle bins, collection trucks, etc.
  • 20 Points: Description of how the solutions can help achieve our objective of increasing recycle rates while keeping in mind the following:
    • Simplicity, e.g. hassle-­‐free for users, reduce ‘friction’, etc.
    • Scalability
    • Sustainability
    • Cost effectiveness
  • 20 Points:  If proposed solutions include using already existing solutions/technology (encouraged):
    • Description of applications and related costs of the solutions for its original intended purpose
    • Description of changes (along with cost estimates) needed to repurpose the solutions to solve the challenges in question

Value add Criteria

  • 20 Points:  Innovative approaches and feasibility of proposed solution to Challenge B
  • 15 Points:  Description of how the proposed solutions would be applied within the context of a Minimum Viable Product testing

5. Timeline

We highly prefer submissions to this Challenge be received by December 10, 2015. The winner(s) will be invited to participate in a more detailed briefing to be held via videoconference on December 17, 2015. If there’s a lack of submissions by December 10, 2015, we will consider extending the deadline until March 4, 2016. Submissions and inquiries should be sent to Daniel Hazman at dhazman@gamer4good.com.

Following the detailed briefing, the G4G team will issue a negotiated contract to further mature and validate his/her solutions or technology.

Note: it is the Seekers’ intention that the awarded Solver be involved in moving their proposal forward at an agreed fee; however, if the Solver cannot or chooses not to participate, the Seeker may find others to bring the project forward. Other arrangements may be considered, if a license cannot be granted.

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