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is a launched service innovation for UK social enterprise The Big Issue to connect with Gen Z. 

About this project

The Big Issue is the UK's number one street paper and social enterprise, helping people who are experiencing homelessness or unemployment. As the traditional magazine business didn't appeal to younger generations, The Big Issue needed a new form of value exchange with Gen Z to foster the interaction with social issues, build brand awareness and continue their mission.

Team members: Sam, Rajvi, Yijing & Channy. I was responsible for user research, service proposition, and the first design sprint. 

User RESEARCH

Research Methods

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Guerrilla research

+

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Structured user interviews

Research Scale

40 Gen Z people

22

18

Male

Female

Gender

10

4

11

6

7

2

18

19

20

21

22

23

Age

Research Locations

Young neighborhoods

  • Russel Square

  • Shoreditch

  • Islington

  • ...

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Universities

  • Imperial College

  • UCL

  • LSE

  • ...

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High-level Questions

What

social causes are you interested in?

How

do you engage with social causes?

Where

do you hear about social causes?

Which

way do you prefer to contribute to social causes?

INSIGHTs

Attitude

Most Gen Z are interested in social causes, but are often not engaged.

Behavior

Gen Z prefer to contribute to social causes through daily activities like shopping, buying grocery, dining, etc.

We synthesized the key learnings and mapped them onto the "Engagement Spectrum."

It showed how Gen Z are interacting with social issues and the opportunity to reach them. 

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PROBLEM STATEMENT

We wanted to target the Casual Practitioners (60% of Gen Z) who are mostly university students, so how might we

connect The Big Issue
with university students
through daily activities 

Case study

We studied how similar enterprises engaged Gen Z and identified food as a channel.

We then did more case studies to validate this strategy. 

Change Please

A charity coffee brand on university campuses

Migrateful

A charity training migrants and refugees to cook

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It shows that a social impact brand can work on university campuses and gain influence.

It shows hospitality is a proven vehicle of social mobility for people in need.

Big Issue Kombucha

A social enterprise from their incubator program

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It shows The Big Issue is willing to try hospitality and has the resources.

Proposition

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What

Big Issue Food is a social enterprise

 

that aims to employ people in poverty

 

to prepare and sell food

 

through pop-up stalls on university campuses.

Who

How

Where

Service Model

We refined our proposition by clarifying our stakeholders, how this business works on a macro and micro-level, and value gains for every stakeholder.

Design sprints

We identified 2 risks in our proposition.

For each risk, we created a prototype, tested it, and learned something from it. We then integrated our learnings to derisk our proposition.

01

Would our service be desirable to students and what is our market fit?

02

How could we make it feasible for The Big Issue to start a food business?

Sprint 1

Desirability

We needed to validate a demand for our service exists among university students and find our USP.

How we prototyped

To gauge students' interest in our proposition, we created a fake social enterprise food service, along with sample menus, flyers, and an Instagram account.

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We tested on 70 students across 3 universities: Kingston University, London South Bank and Imperial College. We introduced the proposition with menus and left them a flyer with our Instagram account. We gauged their interest by monitoring our followers.

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What we learnt

01

People would buy our food.

Most participants were really interested in our proposition, with a third of participants following our Instagram account.

02

We identified a market.

We identified that people were often unhappy with their university canteen, and wanted our affordable menu.

03

Every university is different.

Universities can vary, so our target market won’t be accessible at all institutions.

Sprint 2

Feasibility

Achieving this proposal without a partner would be challenging, as we didn’t have the skills or expertise to run a food business.

How we prototyped

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Partnership Model

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What we learnt

01

There's

interest.

BaxterStorey could see value in a partnership with The Big Issue, including social good and hiring chefs.

02

We gained agreement.

We got agreement to run a full trial based on our business proposal.

03

There's long-term potential.

We had positive feedback on a more long-term partnership based on the business model.

Finally

Launch!

We launched the pilot of Big Issue Food at the Royal College of Art Battersea campus.

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Results

The pilot was a big success that led to a long-term relationship between The Big Issue and BaxterStorey.

150
meals

We sold 150 meals, with queues stretching around the room at points.

75
feedback

We gave out a feedback form to every customer and half of them were collected back.

15 min
earlier

BaxterStorey sold out their food at 1:45pm. They started at noon and had expected to finish at 2pm.

97%
positive

Among the feedback, 97% said they liked and wanted to support the initiative by visiting us again.

Changing lives
with every bite

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