snoop the poop

The first project during my summer at CIID was tricky. Our task was to take a day or so to design a service with multiple touchpoints, like an app and a website or some sort of human support. It was extremely open-ended and our team of four was having trouble finding common ground. What could possibly appeal to four team-members from the US, Italy, China, and Japan? We fooled around with ideas ranging from finding local services to supporting politicians and other potentially world-changing topics. We managed to find an issue that everyone could get behind: dog poop.

We walked around the parks in Copenhagen to interview dog owners and learn more about their dog-walking habits and how they contribute to the problem or could help solve it. Some themes emerged from the people we talked to:

  • Dog owners care a lot about their dogs and seem to be nurturing in general.
  • They spend a lot of time outside.
  • They want to be responsible, but don't always have dog waste bags with them.

One of our initial ideas was a bag-dispensing machine that would be fun to interact with for people and dogs. It would dispense bags and dispose of the waste. To make them easy to find by smell, they would also dispense treats for the dogs.

I thought this was a cute idea, but we ended up going in a different direction. There were a few fun things we learned about the culture of dog owning in Denmark that we wanted to incorporate in our final design.

  • There was a movement that encouraged people to put little Danish flags in the dog poo they saw on the street, so other people would see it and wouldn't step in it.
  • Everyone who owned a dog has to have it licensed and microchipped.

Our service, Snoop the Poop, is advertised in the video on this page.

  1. As part of the service, little flags are distributed that decode the offending dog's DNA and display a color based on the DNA fingerprint.
  2. An app decodes the color and matches it to a government database to identify the offending dog.
  3. The user can choose to bring the dog to trial to shame it into improving its behavior.