Shapeless Gift

Shapeless Gift: Shapeless Gift

Taipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Year Founded:
2014
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
Growth
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Shapeless Gift is the idea of giving experiences instead of material goods. The goal is to reduce waste and energy use by not buying physical items, providing experiences as gifts. It is a movement to shift the social norm of gift-giving and to foster human relations.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if giving experiences instead of buying stuff is the stronger norm in the society, so the world has less waste and more caring?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Every year, every holiday that associate itself with gifts creates waste in our society, which might not even bring true happiness to the receiver. The materialistic world use great amount of energy to produce gift products as well as wrapping paper, package boxes, gift cards and more. Sadly, a lot of these gift related items goes into landfills soon after the gift was given out. Billions of cards are thrown away in the US alone.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Shapeless Gift movement calls for a change in the wasteful way of gift giving. It's all about giving experience instead of giving physical products. Here, time is the currency and is what matters. A gift such as going to the theater together or hike up to a mountain to see the sunrise can foster great relationship between people. It's those times that stay in our memories. It's those experience that cheer us up in our darkest times. Once a person is willing to try out the idea of giving experience as gifts, it will better his/her relationships. In addition, the planet can be saved from all the waste and pollution that are associated with production. Less is more here, and time worth more than money.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Shapeless Gift had an event called "Shapeless Gift - Mother's Day" the past May. The goal was to help and empower people to prepare Shapeless Gift for their Moms. We posted every day during the two weeks time frame before Mother's Day. The page also gave various gift suggestions and inspirations to our audiences in addition to share our own gifts. People asked questions about gifts, and we helped them with ideas and share the situation with the others. People seemed to enjoy getting inspired during the whole "gift-preparation" process. Numbers in the end ; - 43 participants - 16 out of the 43 participants posted or shared their gift ideas to the community. This was the first event hosted by SG.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

As of today, the Shapeless Gift facebook page has already reached 150 likes, and hosted a total of 3 events. The fans are from more than 6 countries with most of them from the U.S. and Taiwan (since the site runs both in Chinese and English). We do post 3 times a week with additional post on the event pages to generate ideas and discussion. In the past event, the participants came up with their own Shapeless Gifts as they started to be creative. They enjoy reading each other's gift ideas. It was a positive community that share thoughts with one another from different parts of the world. For the future, we are looking into collaboration with other groups to increase our fans and the amount of impact. We are also considering hosting physical events to do community service work as SG. It would be good to start in Taiwan and hopefully it can spread to other places in the world.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

The page runs both in Chinese and English which covers about 1.5 billion people in the world. This fact alone creates great potential for SG. We already have a multinational fan base and it will grow as we work with other sustainability related movements and organizations. We will increase connections in the community to spread the word. Also, we will acquire more skills and human resource to run the movement in various communication platforms. SG will work with businesses to promote experiencing giving, such as traveling agency, show businesses, restaurants, and more to more visible in life.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Currently, the project runs without a budget. However, with a prize money and future financial plan, Shapeless Gift can grow and expand much faster. Apps and website can be create as well as more and better maintenance of the current and future communication method to the audience. In addition, research can be done to evaluate the success of the events. We will also be able to host physical SG activities to build a community of service.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The closest idea known so far is the "becoming minimalist" blog. The core idea there is to live with less and it will make you feel more. It touches many aspects of living since it's about a family of four. Shapeless Gift differs from this blog in that we strictly focus on gift giving. It's the only aspect of life we address. However, we create interactions with our audiences with event invites. Based on different holidays, we assist our audience with gift brainstorming and share the ideas with the community. We fit into an unique niche market of reducing waste and foster relationships.
Team

Founding Story

The idea started from an office Christmas gift exchange. I just couldn't think of giving anything that wouldn't later on be in landfill. I thought of the suggestions I gave on my past workplace’s social media page. I advised people to choose their gift, carefully. It’s better to have an eco-friendly product, or it should just be an experience. Starting from that point, I thought of giving a donation as a gift. The person who received my gift will be able to do something meaningful for our society - not simply getting another mug or stuffed animal as a gift. I then searched for some non-profit organizations for the person to choose from. The person could also pick another organization of his choice. It was my first Shapeless Gift.

Team

I am the founder of the project and am currently managing, editing and distributing the content strategy. I also do a lot of research by reading articles, watching films, going to museums, social gatherings and exhibitions. My team member is my girlfriend who is a partner with me in living my passion for green education, environmental affairs and sustainable development lifestyle. She is working on my passion acquisition in to the cause.
About You
About You
First Name

Martin

Last Name

Su

About Your Project
Organization Name
How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Taipei

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family.

Supplemental
Sector

Water Use, Greenhouse Gases, Waste and Packaging.

Audience: Who have you identified as your customer/recipient groups and do these groups value your solution for different reasons? How do you engage different customer/recipient groups to deliver your solution?

Basically, anyone who has access to Facebook can participate in the movement. Therefore, the age range as well as the region is wide open. The social media page runs both in Chinese and English which is capable of reaching out to up 1.5 billion people out there. Participants can get various ideas from the weekly post as we post them on Facebook as well as events we host.

Scaling the solution: How would the prize money and publicity help you to achieve your objectives over the next two years?

The prize money and publicity can foster three aspects of outreach activities of SG:
1) Doing research and fieldwork in designated areas where product consumption is high to collect more hard date
2) Communication and Social Awareness about the idea which could be developed to widen the audiences
3) Marketing Strategy to reach different audiences with different ideas and with different tools like apps, a website, or even e-books.
4) Event Management Activities to bring together targeted governmental agencies, stakeholders, think tankers, activists.
As of now, Facebook is the only medium due to human resources and budget of our team. Reasonable case study and publicity could make the movement spread faster and wider.

Experience: Please provide examples of any previous entrepreneurial initiatives you have pioneered

When I was in high school, there were no recycling system at my school. Coming from a place where I used to recycle almost everything, it seemed odd for me. Therefore, in my junior year, I decided to change it. The mission continue to my senior year, where I persuaded the new school president to support me. I worked with school admins and waste collectors to create a recycling system on campus. I got "The Student Initiative Award" that year.

Are you are eligible to attend the Accelerator event in Cambridge and subsequent events in London, UK in January, 2015?

yes

Will you require a visa to enter the UK?

Are you are a current Unilever employee?