Boosting a Zero Waste Marketplace With a GenAI-Powered Mobile MVP

Rapid prototyping and mobile development for a scaling NGO
Happy teen girls having good fun time outdoors and posing in circle with copy space

About this project

A rapidly growing NGO needed to gain more efficiency while ensuring consistent quality of service. Netguru jumped in to accelerate the organization’s growth and operations with a mobile app MVP powered by generative AI.

Services

Generative Product Description
Rapid prototyping
MVP Development

Year

2023

The client

Every initiative that fosters a regenerative approach to resources takes us closer to a circular economy, and that’s where we want to go.

A Polish foundation Uwaga, Śmieciarka Jedzie [Quick, Garbage Truck Approaching] set out on a mission to make one man’s trash another man’s treasure. It all started as a Facebook community for those who wanted to give unwanted household items new life.

From a single Facebook post back in 2013 to a powerful countrywide grassroots initiative and a full-fledged NGO in 2022, the community has grown to over 870,000 people who save approx. 35,000 tons of used items from landfills each year.

The challenge

Considering significant traction in all major Polish cities – the movement now consists of over 270 local groups – the organization needed to figure out a way to scale up smarter and gain more efficiency.

Another challenge came down to gaining more independence as a marketplace based on a stand-alone platform, fit to cater to larger, international markets.

The foundation reached out to Tech to the Rescue, an NGO that connects tech companies with non-profits and took part in a hackathon aimed at leveraging generative AI in initiatives with considerable social and environmental impact. That's where we took up the task.

The solution

The answer to the challenge had to be threefold.

One way of fostering more engagement within the community was making sure that posting offers was made as easy as possible. The faster the journey from user intent to communication with the group, the swifter the service.

Individual impact came up as another priority – the assumption here was that community members are more encouraged to use the service when they can easily track their contribution. The foundation expected the solution to feature a counter that would keep a record of all items shared with the community and kept out of landfills.

The third requirement circled around community impact – the more the users give away within a local group, the higher the motivation, and the more frequent the activity. An item counter for the community would help activate members and a fundraising call-to-action would support the NGO in building on the app's core features.

The solution lay in a GenAI-powered mobile app that would cover all three areas, cater to the needs of the target group, and enable easy feature expansion in line with the foundation’s ambitions.

Three screens of the mobile app MVP.

The journey

The transition from a Facebook-dependent service to a separate digital marketplace has been planned as a step-by-step process:

  1. Ensuring faster, generative item descriptions and publishing on FB in phase one,
  2. Providing appointment scheduling, notifications about item collection, personal and home safety measures for community members, and more robust user profiles in phase two,
  3. Built-in chat, item geolocalization, gamification, and in-app posting in the last stage.

The hackathon served as an intensive kick-off and we were proud to jump in with our expertise and speed things up with a quick MVP version of the tool that covers phase one of the project.

Three mobile phones with app screens on.

The results

During a little over 24 hours of the live coding session, our team went from product discovery to rapid development and put together a functional, clickable prototype of a cross-platform app.

The tool enabled:

  • Generative item description based on images and frequently used phrases,
  • Phrase saving for future use,
  • Post drafts saving,
  • Seamless integration with FB for instant posting,
  • Tracking both individual and community impact.

The road ahead

The prototype met all the requirements of the foundation. As we moved on to phase two of the project, we’re now developing the mobile solution and expanding its core features.

Our goal is to support the foundation in bringing to life their vision: a mobile marketplace that will help reduce waste and carbon emissions by reusing, recycling and upcycling goods.

The MVP is the first step in this direction.

  • Our community efforts are all about positive impact. Netguru prototyped a GenAI-powered mobile solution within a little over 24 hours – with the MVP we’re now working on, we’re going to be able to monitor our impact. Peter Drucker says that you can't improve what you don't measure. The MVP is the first step to measure our work, so we can scale while maintaining quality, increasing our efficiency, and accessibility. Generative image description also opens up our community to visually impaired users.
    dominika szaciłło

    Dominika Szaciłło

    Founder at Uwaga, Śmieciarka Jedzie

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