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  • Writer's pictureFutureFounder Team

iComo: The App That Will Help You Consume Less Red Meat

Updated: Jun 6

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The following is an excerpt from a June 2021 FutureFounder Innovator Giovanna Cikos's blog post on her and her team's experience prototyping iComo as part of the FutureFounder StartupReadiness training. FutureFounder Innovators create a Digital Portfolio in an effort to secure work experience at a startup. To see more of Giovanna's work or learn more about her experience working at a startup, check out her Digital Portfolio.

  • FutureFounder Team

iComo - the app that will help you consume less red meat

Introduction - How we used the Design Thinking Approach and Hackathon

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Interaction, immersion, and conflict resolution were skills we developed and applied during the second and third weeks of the Future Founder Brazil Program, and in this post, I will show you how this happened with an overall view of our process.

Starting with a hackathon, a Design-Sprint event in which the group needs to work intensively to solve a problem of choice, creating a prototype or a minimum viable product (MVP). To do so, we divided ourselves into two groups of 4 people with different backgrounds, based on our interest in solving the general problems: mental health during Corona, or environmental impacts.

The prototype was developed using the Design Thinking (DT) approach, which is a methodology for solving complex problems with an anthropocentric approach, or rather, a user-centered approach. Through a deep understanding of people's needs, the designer can identify problems and generate solutions (VIANNA et al., 2018; BRENNER et al., 2016). Combining the two methodologies (hackathon and DT), The Unmeat team was able to prototype a solution to reduce the meat production-related environmental impacts, which will be summarized below and you can also see our Pitch Deck Slides here.

The process - Valentina needs a way to consume less red meat

Our first challenge was selecting which problem we wanted to solve, thereby, our research started from the general problem - environmental impacts due to red meat production. The problem statement was only defined in the Define stage of Design Thinking, which is the second stage, as you can see in the picture below by B.H. Miller, 2017.

Define stage of Design Thinking by B.H. Miller, 2017

Empathize: In the DT process you must understand the people for whom you are designing, so in the first stage we agreed that young Adults (18 - 30 y.o) would be our Target Market. This way, we conduct our primary research by interviewing and emerging into the target customers’ lives. To do that, we developed ten questions that would help us understand if the decrease in meat consumption was caused by the awareness of meat production-related environmental impacts or the increasing meat price. Define: the second stage is when you synthesize your empathy findings into insights and scope the problem statement. Therefore, we analyzed the data from the survey and we created our customer persona, Valentina. Based on “her” needs, the Unmeat Team defined the problem statement and the insights, as you can see in the figure below.

Example of Problem Statement

Ideate: This phase aims to generate radical design alternatives, and explore a wide solution space-large with ideas that can help you build prototypes. With our problem defined, it was time to be creative, combining convergent and divergent thinking and drafting our ideas. First, each one of us had two radical product ideas. Then, the Unmeat Team selected five main ideas of all eight, most of which were very similar in principle, such as the creation of an app to give advice or even schedule Valentina Meals. Prototype: It is the phase where you get your ideas and explore them out of your head into the physical world, this way you can test functionality. Therefore, our process was to create a prototype that would fit both the customer's needs and our ideas. Using the DATA iteratively, we combined our ideas into the iComo APP. The Unmeat realized that the ideal prototype was an app that brings multiple features to attain the user's needs. The app uses an AI focusing on providing easier, cheaper, and healthier solutions to help people decrease their meat consumption. Thus, iComo's four principles are to be Healthy, Affordable, Convenient, and Minimum Environmental Impact. Allows us to create Weekly Meal Plans, and personalized diets, offer recipes without meat, automatic supermarket lists, cashback, and discounts, collect data, and calculate the environmental impact, and the social community. Our app incentivizes the user to reduce their meat consumption through challenges and rewards. The figure below presents our prototype of the app that will help you to consume less red meat.

IComo Four Principles

Test: “Testing is the chance to get feedback on your solution, refine solutions to make them better, and continue to learn about your users”(Both, 2020 p.5). To test our prototype, we conducted a questionnaire with almost 25 people. Handling those results, we were able to find solutions to improve and solve our app deficiencies by integrating the feedback of implementing the money restriction as a feature in our app and letting the rest of the features as they were, improving the diet idea to become more attractive and interesting for the possible customers. FutureFounder Demo Day After developing our solution to reduce meat consumption, our team prepared a pitch to present to some guests from Harvard’s Lemann Center for Entrepreneurship and Creativity. It was a 10-minute Pitch in which we showed them our problem, some background information, and the solution, the Icomo app, with our business plan on how to create value. It was a big opportunity to learn and improve our presentation skills and also our product.

As feedback from the guests, we received some tips on how to add more background on the healthy benefits of our product and to get clients to use our product through partnerships related to healthy lifestyles. Thereby, we did a good job with the resources we had, as we developed a well-thought solution to our problem, and also presented our idea on time. The Unmeat Team was able to answer all the questions asked and we will work on the improvements.

Key takeaways

The FutureFounder Program was a huge opportunity to develop and improve my growth mindset. It is an important skill to have success in this program, once you fail, and will need to learn with that. Communication between different people and styles is something that you will learn throughout the program as you have to self-learn and collaborate with your team.

The moment we were applying the DT was a moment when it all came together, as a consequence of our different backgrounds it was possible to have different sides of view of the same problem, however, it made us spend more time discussing the problem, it gave us the real experience of the process and its difficulty. Relating to being creative and respecting others. Thank you for your time and if you have any questions relating to our process of developing the iComo app or anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me.


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