I have been living in London for a just over a year now. Some days it is the best city in the world, some days it is the worst. Other times it feels like Groundhog Day.
It seems like I see the same delivery vehicles crisscrossing the streets of central London. Most with London addresses on their side. When they do stop, and their boot is opened, they never seem to be full, with many driving almost empty.
So, when I came across the Smart City Solutions challenge I remembered an idea I have been thinking about for a while, evaluated, but never really developed. That was a hyper local solution to this problem. A website to link these delivery vehicles with businesses that also need to deliver items around the city, but less frequently. This could then be expanded from a business-to-business solution to include the general public requesting deliveries of their items.
The idea being that if businesses could work collectively to deliver items there would be less traffic on the road, and pollution levels would fall. Costs for deliveries would also be lower for both parties, because these delivery costs, and the London congestion charge, would be shared. A true win-win for all when they use the “Deliver-It” solution.
I envisage this to be an app for regular delivery drivers and a website for the businesses who book the service. The delivery drivers would input information on their total vehicle capacity when they register on the app then would update the app with information on the load capacity they are transporting, delivery times and delivery routes. By contrast, on the website, businesses would post information on the load they want delivered, the route, the amount they are willing to pay and a deadline for the delivery. Drivers and businesses will be matched up “Tinder-style” and if both agree to the delivery, it would go ahead.
An idea that I thought would be a good fit for the TUM School of Management’s Smart City Solutions challenge: a contest looking for creative ideas, innovative solutions and clever business ideas for a sustainable city. In this case Munich. A city, like London, which reportedly has problems of traffic congestion.
All in all ninety-four ideas were submitted in the contest. The community and judges evaluated them over a period of eight weeks. Eventually three winners were picked in the business category and three winners from the personal category for private individuals like me.
You are probably wondering how I did. Well, I came in third. A nice pat on the back, and a source of inspiration to try and develop the idea further. So, my advice to anyone with an idea is to find and enter these innovation contests. You never know what may happen! It could just be some nice recognition and congratulations. Or, you could just end up getting inspired to develop the next Lyft, the next Uber or the next AirBnB.