NxG Award 2018 Finalist Selin Yigitbasi
Member Association: Turkey
Project description: Initiated in 2017, Goodsted is a platform for socially purposeful individuals and organisations who would like to volunteer their skills, or donate products and spaces to non-profit social projects. It aims to increase community engagement and collaboration for sustainable development by making it easier for more individuals and organisations to do good in the world more often, so that we can collaboratively achieve the global goals for 2030. Goodsted provides a solution for various groups: individuals and organisations who need reliable help for their non-profit projects; businesses who need a hassle-free way of managing and tracking their community investment and skill-based volunteering schemes; and youth who are looking to gain experience and develop skills to become more employable.
Year initiated: 2017
Selin is a NextGen member of Yasar Holding A.S., which through its subsidiaries, engages in the food and beverage, coating, tissue, and tourism businesses. Being passionate about social change and user experience design, Selin is the founder and director of an early-stage startup called Goodsted - a platform for socially purposeful individuals and organisations who would like to volunteer their skills or donate products and spaces to non-profit social projects. Her aim is to increase community collaboration for sustainable development by making it easier for more individuals and organisations to do more good in the world, more often. Next to her startup, she is also helping her food and beverage family business - Pinar - with UK marketing. She has previously worked as a Marketing Manager at Brand Finance in London, as well as in other marketing and advertising related roles in Dentsu Singapore, and Coca-Cola Company Istanbul. She has a bachelor’s degree in Business & Management from University of Exeter, and a master’s degree in Design & Innovation from Goldsmiths, University of London. Following the entrepreneurial flair she displayed during her bachelors degree, Selin won the Student Member of the Year award from the Institute of Directors in 2013, and was selected as one of the most Inspirational Women of the Year by University of Exeter in 2014.
How does your project provide a solution to a problem or satisfies a specific need?
Goodsted provides a solution for various groups: Individuals and organisations (especially smaller ones) who need reliable help for their non-profit activities or projects; Businesses who need a hassle-free way of managing and tracking their community investment and skill-based volunteering schemes; and Youth who are looking to gain experience and develop skills to become more employable. For all, a common need is to see the social impact made as a result of their efforts, however many do not know how to measure this impact in a cost-effective and efficient way.
Goodsted provides an easy user experience for non-profit project hosts to list their needs, and for others in the community to pledge their support through the platform. They then meet at the agreed time and location. The feedback stage at the end of the interaction helps to keep the community reliable, as users will get a negative reputation if they don’t act on their promise. The feedback stage is also integral to understanding the impact of the project. Both parties can track their community involvement with a private dashboard, and their user profiles accumulate a portfolio of their ‘good’ actions. The integrated outcome measurement tool creates a cost-effective solution to gather meaningful data, and the gamification elements creates an engaging environment for users to come back for more.
How do you create customer value?
Goodsted gives users a chance to develop their reputation towards social responsibility, and gain new skills and experiences which are integral for the future of work by creating a trustworthy, transparent and fun environment where individuals and businesses can take part in helping their communities. The human centered design and data collection functionalities, takes the burden of the admin work relating to engaging employees and tracking volunteering schemes away from businesses. In addition, studies show that taking part in volunteering activities and doing good, decreases loneliness and depression and contributes to lower blood pressure and a longer lifespan, as well as increasing overall happiness and feelings of purpose.
How is your project innovative?
Goodsted combines the digital platform (matchmaking) model with gamification methods which have historically proven to have great impact in many different sectors, and applies these techniques on the third-sector to help increase internal and external engagement and collaboration. In addition, while the platform itself aims to benefit a few of The Global Goals targets such as; increasing health & wellbeing; increasing tolerance and inclusion; reducing criminality, and decreasing youth not in employment, education or training, it also helps many others take part in achieving other Global Goals of their interest. Therefore the success of the platform will result in scaling social progress. My research showed that there is currently no other platform who have designed a platform in this way.
What is the most valuable mistake that you have made, and what did you learn from it?
Since starting work on Goodsted, I’ve made many smaller mistakes during the pilot phase which I’ve learned a lot from, and which have contributed to the iterative development of the idea and product design. However, I can say that the most valuable mistake I’ve made recently was with my previous startup attempt, during my masters last year. I trusted someone who I’d known for almost 6 years and decided to co-found a company together. During the early stages of the project, considering the value we were both bringing to the table, we agreed on a 50/50 ownership split, and I then worked on our project throughout my masters on this basis. After a year and a half of working together, the relationship between us broke down as we couldn't agree on the shareholding terms. There were many different dimensions to this problem and issues associated with our partnership already so it was the best decision to break it off, however agreeing on being equal from the very beginning and not speaking about this subject again for a long period of time was a big mistake. To combat issues like this, aside from putting a ‘rigid’ agreement in place from the beginning, another option could be keeping an ‘organic’ agreement with each founder earning his or her equity stake by achieving pre-defined milestones. This experience has taught me to be very selective and careful when choosing a business partner, to trust my instincts rather than hoping everything will work out eventually, and to consider everything very carefully before making impactful decisions.
How being from a family business has impacted you as a person, and which influence this has in turn had on your project?
My grandfather is the serial entrepreneur of the family who went from working at his father’s paint shop to establishing multiple new industries in Turkey. He was not afraid to take risks. Growing up with a family business have taught me perseverance, determination, self-belief and not to be afraid of trying new things. At university, I was a fan of the English dessert ‘custard’, and it inspired me to come up with a new dairy product as a quick fix for light desserts for busy mothers and young professionals in Turkey. So for my final year project I decided to propose this to our family dairy business, and even though it was challenging to convince such a corporate structure, after a few feasibility studies and presentations, they were open minded enough to try it out. I ended up writing my unconventional thesis on the marketing strategy of launching vanilla custard in Turkey, and am proud to say that this product is now selling on supermarket shelves. This experience and the opportunities my family business have given me created the basis of my entrepreneurial spirit. I won the Institute of Directors’ Student Member of the Year award in the UK in 2013, and was listed among the ‘One of the Most Inspirational Women’ by University of Exeter.
Thanks to the learnings I’ve gained as a result of these experiences, I have had the confidence to take on another sizeable challenge like Goodsted. With this project, I was determined to try the concept with a real case to see if it creates value, and to avoid wasting time and resources on something that didn’t have potential. I’m pleased to have embarked on this journey though, and the large amount of positive feedback and constructive input that the platform has received has truly inspired me. Following the success of the pilot platform, I am now more determined than ever to continue working on this project, which has quickly become my passion.