After one semester partnering up with GreenLight Solutions, Utopia Smart City has a vision to construct their sustainable society further and partnered up with GreenLight Solutions for another semester. During this semester, Solutioneers were asked to create an incentive program for future residents in their community. But… with a twist: to structure this incentive program to be used as a framework for other aspiring sustainable societies, worldwide!

A pioneer in sustainability, Utopia Smart City knows that the earth is in desperate need of fundamental changes and wants to stand as an example for other sustainable startups and developments. They are building a community centered around blockchain technology to incentivize sustainable behavior, and the community will incorporate solar panels, as well as, hydro- and aquaponics into the design.

This all sounds very futuristic and too good to be true, what’s the catch? The general public may not be ready to adapt to the behavioral change of living in a smart city. Utopia Smart City recognized that this kind of community would need involved members who are conscientious about the environment and regularly take steps towards a cleaner future. An incentive program would encourage daily sustainable behaviors by utilizing blockchain technology, NFTs, and the power of the people. 

First off, what are NFTs? NFTs are non-fungible tokens that are used as digital assets. NFTs can come in music, art, videos, etc. and are tracked by the blockchain, meaning that it is digitally tracked and verified. With this in mind, we proceeded to brainstorm. We needed to outline some essential sustainable behaviors that could be utilized in this community and some strategies that would motivate people to become involved. NFTs would then become heavily engaged with the incentivization of these sustainable behaviors.

We designed six programs that could use NFTs as means of building up community value and sustainability. Additionally, all six programs would integrate gamification with NFTs. This means that we have the option of turning sustainability into something gratifying and beneficial for, not only the environment, but also for community engagement. Essentially, turning sustainability into a game that would earn points. Those points could then be redeemed for real-world money.

Sustainable behaviors that Solutioneers focused on in the community were: improving water and energy efficiency, promoting local vendor shopping (including local produce), establishing a network of community gardens and volunteering events, developing a rental car program to encourage less vehicle-ownership and gas consumption. Lastly, constructing a sustainable business board that provides businesses a way forward towards a more sustainable company and sustainable consumption.

With all six potential frameworks designed, Utopia Smart City decided to proceed with the sustainable business board. Subsequently, we narrowed our focus on exclusively how businesses construct a flexible and realistic board, while also implementing greater sustainability to companies with no experience in this realm. 

We constructed a systems dynamic model highlighting several relationships between incentives and behaviors that influence how the sustainable business board would react in certain situations. From this model, we then created insights or system traps that would hinder businesses or the people that frequented them. With each of the ten system traps we discovered, we designed solutions that Utopia could institute if these potential traps were encountered.

Then came the app design. Utopia Smart City is developing a mobile application that would bridge the community to sustainable behaviors in real-time. Solutioneers constructed a system diagram that would outline the logic of opening the application. Also, how it would tie in with NFTs and the specific behaviors we were trying to encourage.

After this, we took a deep breath and pulled back. Now our team focused on creating infographics that encompassed the six potential programs we created. These infographics would illustrate the use of NFTs and gamification, but in a way that someone who had no idea of these concepts would be able to understand. Utopia Smart City could then use these infographics to introduce the smart community to its vision of the future.


Written by: Thoren Harvey


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