A digital platform for sharing assets within the culture sector

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Industrial design engineering (MPDES), MSc
Lindgren, Sara
Trens, Olle
Abstract The sharing economy is on the rise and often promoted as a more sustainable alternative to existing linear consuming patterns. However, the sharing economy in Sweden is currently very small, and even though there are many small initiatives taken around the country, many of them are struggling with attracting users. One of them is the environmental organisation Returkultur, for which this study has been conducted. In this thesis, the design of a sharing service for the cultural sector in region Västra Götaland, and a digital platform facilitating it, is described. The aim of the study has been to understand how to encourage and increase the sharing of equipment and material within the cultural scene of Västra Götaland through a digital platform. The first part of the project, the pre-study, focuses on gathering data on the specific users and stakeholders. For qualitative data on the situation for cultural practitioners and organisations, 14 interviews have been conducted. For quantitative data on general attitudes and user patterns, surveys have been sent out to a large number of cultural practitioners, of which 35 responded. In order to relate requirements and requests to a digital platform specifically, workshops have been executed using a circular consumption design tool called “User experience exploration pack”, developed by researchers at the Department of Human Factors at Chalmers University of Technology. The tool help workshop participants to map and create circular user journeys, and foresee potential problematic areas. Based on the findings in the pre-study, design concepts were created and evaluated both theoretically and through user tests. Three concepts - one structured, one pedagogical and one social concept - were chosen for user testing and one final concept is described in the thesis. The study shows that informal sharing is already very common within the cultural sector. However, it also showed that sharing is a very complex social act where the willingness to share is dependent on things such as the situation, which product should be shared and the relation between the peers. Furthermore, all of these aspects are constantly shifting, which makes it hard to create a peer to peer service that would live up to the expectations of all stakeholders - borrowers, lenders, Returkultur and partners. Users were more interested in organised ways for sharing where they would not have to make as many travels, and where they would not have to feel guilt towards lenders. Thus, the proposed service is therefore a sharing hub with many similarities to a rental business, where the equipment and material is acquired through partnerships with big cultural institutions. For the digital platform, resemblance with similar types of platforms was also very important. The final design can be seen as a combination of a webshop and a hotel booking site - two concepts that many users are familiar with. The users also need a warm welcome, and plenty of information along the way as many users felt uncertain whether they were allowed to use the service. Together the service design and the design of the platform generated a pleasant user experience where users felt confident and inspired, hence encouraging and potentially increasing charing in region Västra Götaland.
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