Friendship is a digital platform that helps people find and hang out with potential future friends. Friendship uses interests and personality traits for matchmaking, in a light and playful way. In addition to matchmaking, the service lets people create and join each others’ meetups, as a low–commitment way to make the first contact.
Goodwill Ry is a non-profit organisation which supports the development of new social innovations. Goodwill is the main backer of Friendship, while Emil Salovuori and Aki Tetri are the people driving it forward.
Emil and Aki are both passionate about putting an end to loneliness in Finland and beyond. Aki is an expert in the field of social wellbeing. Emil has hands-on experience on the topic, being involved with many groups attempting to help lonely people. Together they thought to tackle loneliness head on, with a service to help everyone find new people to connect with and start forming friendships.
Markus Nieminen, from Dynamo&Son (now at TBWA), joined Emil and Aki to help with their branding and marketing efforts. The Friendship team visited Futurice in summer 2017 to discuss about how we could help out.
The starting point for Futurice was a prototype put together by the founding team. The initial challenge was to take that prototype further: help design more/better app flows and more detailed screens, new functionality, which could then be used to prototype and test the concept or seek funding.
The real challenge was much bigger though: how to design and build a really successful friendship app? There was already plenty of “competition” out there, with some (but limited) success. What could make this one special? What could make it work?
Difficult challenge, with proper chances of failing. But the impact of success could be very significant. We had to give it a good shot.
We started with one designer helping out for a week. Which turned into a month. Which turned into a summer. The concept was becoming very promising so we decided to take it into a student collaboration for development, in autumn 2017. Three Haaga-Helia student teams worked on it, with our technical guidance and product ownership. They made great progress on the account creation, matching and chatting functionality.
However, we had learned from the design work that event creation functionality was also needed for a proper MVP and pilot. We decided to implement that too, via a second student collaboration, in spring 2018.
The plan is to prepare for a pilot in autumn 2018. The Friendship team are looking for funding to support that. Until then, we will try initial quick-n-dirty piloting: encouraging the student teams to take the development version into use (the eat-your-own-dog-food approach).