Between May and December 2022 the core network prototyped the Give A Day box five times. Each iteration has been adapted based on the learning from the previous. The network highlighted six learnings from Give A Day box that might help others following this way of working.

1. Keep it simple

At the beginning we had Give a Day outside, not inside the box. Box 1.0 had everything in it, not ordered, with little explanation of what the box was, what to do it, or why there was a box in the first place. There was even a plant pot (a real one!) inside. Understandably, the potential users were confused. With each iteration the box became simpler and clearer about the core values.

2. Respect people’s agency

‘Don’t do the thinking for people’, a phrase we used a lot early on. Our aim was to create a context where people doing Give a Day would be liberated to be their better selves. In early prototypes we represented each element of Give a Day literally, the plant pot for a ‘pot of joy’, for example. Later prototypes use signifiers, such as tea bags for generosity and connection.

3. Make it playful/ fun

Opening the box should be like a puzzle, a discovery. Getting involved in your community should be fun. The core group appreciated interactive elements in the box, like mapping your community exercise or the vision board where they could write ideas about what matters to those with whom they shared a place. Small and unpredictable gesture, like the chocolate, tea bags, and keyring brought joy, too!

4. Build with people

As previously described, Give A Day is a ‘we’ concept, that brings people together on issues that matter to them. The core network acknowledge the role of Andy Fearon and Miriam Lowe as pioneers of Give a Day but wanted less reliance on the ‘mothership’. Connecting Give a Day places via WhatsApp was one representation of this shift. Creating an open source template so everyone can help develop Give A Day continuously is another. Building a platform where people can get Give A Day merchandise (e.g., a branded keyring, a T-shirt, a cap) has been considered by the design group as a way to creating belongingness to the movement. Spreading the learning via Instagram, Youtube, TikTok is another option.

5.  Find the right language

The design group have worked hard to find the words used in the box need. The language needs to be personal, to convey to the potential leader(s) of Give a Day that they are special, and seen. Words need to be inclusive. People want to plug into something that is moving, dynamic, something that has life. But such language too easily slips into paternalism and romance.

6. Think who not how to connect

It took the core group three iterations to understand that to make Give A Day happen it is necessary to first think about the potential members of the local network before connecting them.