We interviewed Salwa! Salwa is an Egyptian teacher, a mother of three, a lover of creative activities (even if she does not pursue as much as she’d like). In normal times, she teaches, sends her kids to practice sports, visits her family, and meets up with some friends. With COVID-19 interrupting her life, she is no longer teaching and is at home with her 3 kids. Her husband, a pharmacist, is now working most of the time.
Our initial interview identified many needs she has including:
- Her need to maintain her well-being – through connecting with others, self-care, and exercise.
- Her need to keep her kids entertained and to engage with them in creative pursuits.
In response to these needs, we came up with different ideas. After getting Salwa’s feedback, we decided to move forward with Mot’a.
How Does Mot’a Work?
Mot’a starts with Salwa getting a box in the delivery mail. The box has three small envelopes, one for her and one for each of her two kids. The colors of the envelopes are their favorite colors respectively. As they open the envelope, each of them will find items that address Salwa’s needs. For example, to address her need to engage in creative activities with her kids, items such as a polaroid camera to document memories are included. Additionally, items that could engage her kids in creative activities with her such as fun workbooks and puzzles are included. To address the need to prioritize wellbeing, we have included different items such as a moisturizer she can use, an exercise band for her to take care of her physical wellbeing, and a book on mental health and wellbeing (a product she specifically said she’d love to receive). While every family using Mot’a will choose what is appropriate for them, for Salwa specifically the following items will be included in the box:
For the family:
- Camera to make memories
- Personalized note so they can feel connected and cared for
- Book on wellbeing as she expressed wanting to learn more about wellbeing
- Self-care product (face mask) so she can relax and treat herself
- Exercise band – which she can use to exercise and stay active.
Fayrouz (her daughter)
- Empowering book (Herstory about women and girls who changed the world)
- Fun workbook
- Create your own storybook – as Fayrouz loves creating stories.
Ussam (her son)
- History book: such as Children’s illustrated history atlas.
- Fun workbook: 100 free scripts based on children’s books that he can act out
- Flat puzzles: that are laser cut and end up being 3D dinosaurs and paint set so he can paint them to his liking because he enjoys painting
The Mot’a App:
The box will also include instructions for how she can download the Mot’a App and access a secure code to log in. Through the App, composed of the Mot’a community, Salwa will be able to post about her book experience, share her kids writing and drawing challenges – and feel embedded in a larger community. As an authorized teacher, she can also give feedback to children who opted to put their work online.
Users can directly purchase a delivery box that will cross-subsidize for those who cannot afford it. Users, if they can afford to, can also donate. Brands can also donate some of their merchandise.
In designing Mot’a we felt it was important to adhere to a design framework or combination of frameworks in order to ensure the uptake of our idea, both for the donors and recipients of Mot’a boxes. As our project evolved it became clear that the framework we were intuitively leaning towards was that of Cialdini’s Design Principles (Book: Influence: Science and Practice). While our project incorporates almost all of his principles of social proof, liking, scarcity, reciprocity, authority and consistency we feel that social proof, scarcity, and reciprocity are the salient points for the following reasons:
Reciprocity: “Pay it forward” – Families receiving boxes for free will be moved, in turn, to help us by recommending others in need of a box, sending in their storybook contributions, sharing their relevant activities with the online community, etc.
Social Proof: Share giving on social media – This is something we would encourage in the hope that friends of donors will be moved to do the same. Kids of potential donors who see their friends receiving boxes will want their own
Scarcity: Luxury via personalization – Mot’a allows people to experience the excitement that comes with receiving products curated specifically for them. This is true for both the donors and receivers in a time when these kinds of purchases aren’t as common.