Do you ever think about your carbon footprint or your lifestyle choices and wish you were more motivated to make some changes? If so, you're not alone.
We live in a world where the easiest options are generally the worst ones for the planet and its people. Over the past 50 years, our sharing and caring communities have gradually been undermined. At the same time, the connection between our personal choices and our impact in the world has been lost. It's time for us to rebuild our communities and our shared sense of responsibility, and to celebrate and recognise each time we make an effort to make the world a better place. We think that token schemes are the way forward. Store loyalty schemes use tokens to encourage our spending behaviour. What if we had tokens to encourage better lifestyle choices? That's where Thanx come in.
Bristol Pound CIC has been working on local currency as a way to create a greener, fairer local economy for eight years. We've learnt a lot, and we're now taking our work to the next level. This autumn, we're launching our beta test of Bristol Pay - the follow up project to Bristol Pound.
Bristol Pay is an account that everyone in Bristol will be able to use - even the people that the banks exclude. We'll be operating at scale, and raising funds for social and environmental projects in Bristol. But the really exciting part is that as well as carrying money, the platform will carry Thanx and other tokens - think loyalty card, but with a difference.
The other exciting thing is that even though we're starting just in Bristol, this is something that can be copied all over the UK - and beyond. Exeter Pay, York Pay, Manchester Pay - here we come!
What we don't want to do is just give people financial rewards to change their behaviour - there has been lots of research that shows that this creates only short term changes in attitudes and behaviours. Instead, we need to do some careful work looking at what motivates people. Is it your public reputation - would something like an Uber rating make you want to change your behaviour? Is it a chance of winning - would entries in a monthly prize draw motivate you? Would it inspire you if you knew that the more you engaged with your community, the more money would be raised for your local youth club? We need to do research - to ask people what is valuable and important to them - and to work with them to co-design token schemes that have the power to really engage us all in changing our behaviour.
So that's what we need funding for - to do research to find out what would inspire people to make that change and make them feel thanked for their efforts. We need to get out there and talk to lots of different people, and then put our findings together to develop inspiring and effective token schemes.
The scale of challenge we face as humanity requires a major cultural shift - that is the shift we want to create.