Five in their twenties, one app and many citizens who can exchange furniture, books, objects, services, music lessons, clothes and advice: this is the Toc Toc Movement, a social network of exchanges to reduce waste and, why not, also expenses. And maybe earn a friend. Antonio Polillo, Francesco Corazza, Carolina Gomez Naranjo, Andrea Pollio, Lucia Rampanti, Ida Telalbasic they have been working on it for months and months and soon, after the tests, everyone will be able to barter with a click or a touch.
1) How does it work?
Our service proposal will be an app available for the major smartphone platforms and, in the future, also for PCs. The service is very intuitive and is intended as the union between ebay and facebook, a sort of social network for exchanges. Users will be able to enter their offers and propose exchanges with other users or will be helped by the system to find the most appropriate exchange.
At the moment we are still in the development phase, but as soon as possible we will validate the preliminary version through user feedback.
2) When was the idea born?
Toc Toc Movement (Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/toctocmovement) was not born for many months, but we have been working on the project for more than a year, in the free time that our university studies leave us. It all started when we met as students of the High Polytechnic School and we were selected to work on the idea of a collaborative service in the Città Studi district in Milan.
We were inspired by cities where there are communities that promote the sustainability of their very existence, such as Malmo, Sweden, which we recently visited to learn from the successes of the Medea Lab. From there, our student project became something more. We were selected as winners of Sicamp, and thanks to The Hub Milano we are building a network of contacts to translate our intuition into reality.
3) What is the challenge of Toc Toc Movement? What kind of city are you working on?
The challenge of Toc Toc Movement is that of not only being a web application, but also a movement. The challenge is to build local realities where mutual communities exist, which are the driving force of those social innovations necessary to transform our lifestyles. We believe that change can start with simple actions, such as exchanging what is no longer useful instead of throwing it away, reusing it, buying products that live their second life. And we believe that virtual networks, the hybrid user experience, the desire to discover what our neighbors have to exchange with us, can be levers to strengthen the change that is already taking place. If it exists, the model of city we are inspired by is sustainable both from an environmental and a social point of view.
4) What will be the most traded items? And the services?
The web application is being tested, but from our research we know that a versatile tool for bartering, like the one we are building, will truly allow you to trade anything from clothes, to books, to electronic devices, to furniture. How many off-site students would be willing to take the used furniture from the upstairs apartment into their home, in order to have space for books? Maybe in exchange for a lesson on the use of the Internet.
5) Who can use the service?
Being a platform for the web, users will be transversal, but generally able to use information technologies. However, this does not imply that other users can use the service indirectly: an affectionate grandson might decide to swap the old grandmother's desk, who does not use a smartphone. We therefore appeal to everyone, from those who wish to have one sustainable lifestyle in smaller things, to those who would simply use the barter to save on the purchase of something useful, but also to those who are simply curious to have a hybrid experience, halfway between the virtual and the real, as it could be that of meeting for the exchange to take place. This last point is what Toc Toc offers more than existing sites that allow bartering: its nature halfway between social network and service.
6) In this period of crisis, bartering can be a solution: less waste but also less expense?
Certainly, and it is one of the strongest levers in this time of economic crisis. Being sustainable unconsciously, with the aim of saving money, can be a starting point. Our hope is that in a future where the economic crisis has disappeared, the same actions to reduce consumption and produce waste can take place.
7) Where are you now and how will you continue?
The service is in the testing phase. We are developing the first prototypes to test them with users. What has already happened was the process of constructing the idea from a Living Lab perspective. We did not decide from nothing that such a service could be necessary; for a year we did interviews, experiments, even just to understand how the exchange between people who do not know takes place. Real events were born, such as theHappy Book Hour, an aperitif where people participated to exchange read books, or Get dressed, with the mothers of the schools of Piazza Leonardo. In September we will have other similar events and in the shortest possible time, we will try to launch the service, and then continue to update it in relation to the needs of users. It is a great challenge, we are five 20-year-olds, but we really want to do something for a change.
Interview byMarta Abbà