Worldwide, 30 million apps are downloaded every day. Many of them – like Foursquare – reward individuals with special offers or fun achievement badges for competing with each other.
The Co-operate app which launches today on both iPhone and Android is a little different – it’s the first app that rewards people for working together – not competing against each other. Using location based gaming to encourage people to choose local co-operatively run businesses, and to unlock rewards and offers for everyone in the process, if a monthly, collective check-in target is reached.
In this way it communicates a simple idea – we can do more working together than working against each other – and it benefits co-ops in the process.
As well as encouraging co-operation, it uses GPS to help users find their local co-operatives, keeps users up to date with the latest co-operative news and celebrates the Co-operative’s heritage with sharable ‘divi’ stamps to reward individual endeavour.
The app signals the role new technologies are set to play in the future of the Co-operatives movement, with versions of the app launching on both sides of the Atlantic.
Co-operatives UK commissioned Reason Digital – a Manchester based digital agency specialising in digital projects that do social good – to develop their Co-operate app.
While, America’s National Cooperative Business Association have been working with both Reason Digital and UK Co-operatives on their version of the app – CooperateUSA.
The UK and US apps are part of the celebrations taking place for Co-operatives Fortnight (June 23 – July 7th) and International Year of Cooperatives 2012.
Reason Digital Founder and Director Matt Haworth, said: “We’re really excited that we are helping co-ops in both the UK and US to flourish using technology, and to interact with their supporters in different ways. As an agency we’re committed to developing apps that enable people to create and be part of social good. It’s great that a Manchester agency was able to take this international project forward, especially considering that the Co-operatives movement was born in Greater Manchester.”
Kate Pickering, Innovation Leader at Co-operatives UK, explains: “We wanted to subvert the mainly competitive nature of location based gaming by showing the power of co-operation, as well as helping to highlight the location of local co-operatives and ethical businesses. The app is made possible by the geographic reach of the co-operative sector, with representation in every postcode across the UK, and its wide variety of products and services that allows the rewards to be relevant to all users. Its future potential as a tool for harnessing co-operation to achieve other goals is really exciting.”
“CooperateUSA is the first app of its kind and a powerful tool for consumers who are looking to support value-based businesses,” said Andrea Cumpston, director of communications and marketing for the National Cooperative Business Association. “It provides access to 29,000 co-ops in the United States and encourages individuals across communities and industries to work together to strengthen local economies.”