Six months ago, Toby Daniels and the product development firm Mutopo set their minds to eliminating the wastage of paper coffee cups—North Americans consume 58 billion year, most of which end up in landfills. To solve this problem, the team turned to design and set up Betacup, an open innovation challenge with a $20,000 incentive. With the backing of Starbucks, who aims to serve all their beverages out of recyclable and reusable cups by 2015; Denuo, community management experts; and Jovoto, an open innovation platform, the competition ran from April 1st through June 1st. We were proud to be their media sponsor and to send our editor-in-chief, Allan Chochinov, to join the panel of judges.
The jury was out, now it's back in, and we're thrilled to announce the results.
The overall winner of the $10,000 Jury Prize is:
Karma Cup (link)
Design: Mira Lyn, Gillian Langor, Nick Partridge, Zarla Ludin, Ruth Prentice
A chalkboard sitting by the register. Every guest who uses a reusable mug marks the chalkboard. Every 10th guest receives a free item.
This brief description conveys the idea of Karma Cup with great economy—a no-tech, no-brainer solution that encourages consumers to use a reusable coffee cup in place of a disposable through collective reward. All that's needed is a chalkboard and the participation of coffeehouse customers.
Think of it as one big rewards card for us all. There are plenty of great reusable mugs out there, perfect for one's unique needs. But what people really need is an incentive to make the behavior changeâ€•a free cup of coffee and a bit of peer pressure. Giving incentives to use reusable mugs doesn't have to be costly to implement or complex to manage.
Juror Graham Hill chose this project because of its easy implementation and reverberating, social effects.
Karma Cup is extremely easy to implement, has minimal costs and, most importantly, could get everyone in line at the coffee shop to think about why they are or aren't using a portable mug. I believe that this is a subtle but powerful difference from other incentive schemes. I really like the "we're all in this together" feel. By making the incentive a group thing, it makes it more community minded. This system could be taken up by any coffee shop, would help portable coffee cup owners to use theirs more often and would help non-converts to finally buy and use a portable coffee cup. Combined with some of the other great ideas for more compelling portable coffee cups, the tide could be turned and set the stage for some legislation in order to get the massive change we need.
Juror Nick Gogerty commended the Karma Cup for being a holistic solution, revealing opportunities to work from all sides of the problem, from materiality to brand affinity.
I think that the Karma cup approach was holistic in that it acknowledged the ability for positive social pressure and social signalingÂ for extrinsic motivations. The approach involved something which probably aligns with corporate goals of greater affinity with customers and a potential intrinsic motivation alignment between consumer and company. The cost and ability to slipstream the Karma cup into various processes made it appealing as an ecosystem for other marketing and messaging concepts around it. Badging, loyalty, affinity etc. can all be built around the Karma Cup concept.
Honorable mentions after the jump.
Mention: Champion Cup (link)
Design: Raph Damico
Imagine knowing that your humble sippy cup saved a tree, and that all you had to do to save another was to keep bringing it with you.
Champion Cup asserts the importance of measurement. Feedback is important to change, and users should be able to see how much of an impact they are having. A QR code is stuck onto a reusable coffee mug, registered online, and scanned to pay (and pay less) each time the mug is used, generating personal statistics for each user. These can then be viewed online or shared on social media sites.
Juror Jake Nickell saw a serious potential in the sharing of statistics via social media.
While I was hoping for a solution that would solve everything, I think that's a pipe dream. So I was looking for something that would have the biggest impact. I think this is the one. In today's social climate, I just felt like the idea behind this had the most potential to engage a large amount of people. I love how it spreads into so many online social presences and could really see millions of people participating and actually bringing the cup back just because they could so easily share that they are being socially responsible to all their friends.
Juror Jim Hanna pointed out that the proposal made use of existing retail strategies, making for a strong, direct implementation.
The concept encompasses a number of strategic Starbucks platforms, including engaging digital communities, rewards for frequency, transaction automation, relatively easy exchange of universal tumblers.
Mention: The Betacup & The Betacup Campaign (link)
Design: Jesko Stoetzer
This entry combines a 100% biodegradable cup made from rice husks with comprehensive options for an incentive program to encourage users to keep bringing their cups back. Cups might come with an RFID-embedded sleeve, helping users keep track of their use and get discounts every time they bring the cup in. Customers could be further motivated by team competitions to save paper cups or by individual contributions to social causes. For example, in one scenario, the money the customer saves by reusing their cup is donated to a child in need.
Juror Allan Chochinov was impressed with the thoroughness of the project and its full-on engagement with the jovoto open innovation community.
This is a comprehensive entry that evolved over time. Out of the gate with a triad of offerings, they had a rigorous process and facilitated a great amount of engagement with the jovoto community. Multiple touchpoints and multiple initiatives made this an extremely well-rounded submission.
Juror Courtney Nichols was glad to see a strong material concept in combination with a series of behavior-changing proposals.
This concept addresses materials, which I really think is the core problem to address—changing behavior is so hard. If you can change the way people use the cups in stores, then great, but if you can't, you have still moved the needle in a significant way by using a source that's biodegradable.
Mention: Band of Honor (link)
This idea aims to boost the promotional value of reusing a drink receptacle, without the need for a customer to purchase a special new mug - and to help the customer increase their eco-credentials (and therefore the recognition of their peers and community) with every purchase.
Instead of requiring that users get a new cup, this entry proposes that a small, RFID-embedded elastic band could be attached to an existing mug. This band is like a badge, helping customers be recognized for their efforts while still allowing them to brivorite mug to drink from.
Juror Todd Zaki Warfel sees a world of opportunity in this simple system.
This design concept gets a number of key factors. It's ultra portable. The fact that it's not tied to a specific cup, but can placed on, moved to any cup makes it attractive. The bar code (maybe consider an RFID instead) can enable preferences for ordering. You could take my Band of Honor with you, put on a mug, take it to Starbucks and fill my cup w/o having to write down my order. It doesn't require massive overhead or too many moving parts and could be implemented w/o too much additional effort and cost today. It's flexible enough that it could be placed on/around a more sustainable cup (e.g. your own, bamboo, compactable plastic). There's some game mechanics factored in. As you climb up the ladder, you can change out the band. You could also have pink bands for breast cancer, yellow for cancer, green for Starbucks, etc. So, there's co-branding opportunities.
Juror Ryan Jacoby thought that the band would help customers change good intentions into strong habits.
It smartly encourages the repetitive action that turns good motivations and intentions into good habits. The idea itself could see itself manifested in several different form factors and ways. Some other teams had similar ideas. There is something slightly uplifting about this version that makes me like it best.