What was the project challenge?
Can we all profit from being good? Following the global economic decline, Local Trade aims to ‘re-boot’ collaborative endeavours through stimulating altruistic behaviours, rewarding local creativity, and innovation. Its ambitions lie in retaining local wealth and improving community resilience through the three bottom lines of economic, environmental, and social wealth creation.
Using innovative technologies taken from social networks and commercial applications, the project seeks to increase local wealth generated by individuals, micro-businesses, and social enterprises.
Who were involved?
The project was carried out by Lancaster’s Ethical Small Traders Association in collaboration with art art and design academics from Lancaster University and Shared Futures, a consultancy committed to community empowerment, social enterprise, organisational learning, and participation.
What new digital technology was developed?
The project developed a mobile application for a new loyalty trading system which records transactions and tracks the trading partners to reward sustainable and locally beneficial trading in Lancaster. It uses near field communication (NFC) enabled loyalty cards that are swiped every time a trade is made. The data collected from these transactions can then be viewed over time to reflect on trading practices. At the end of the launchpad, a prototype system had been built and had some initial user testing.
What are the ongoing impacts?
Local Trade successfully won £250K in further funding from the EPSRC to continue development of the prototype. This is now under way and is called the BARTER project.