The Darwin Challenge

The app for our evolution

When Chris Darwin, great-great grandson of Charles Darwin, asked for our help in changing the world, we knew we were in for something special.

Chris believes we can solve all the world’s problems by loving ourselves, each other, and the environment, just a little bit more. So he’s set out to inspire a little human evolution with the Darwin Challenge app, using some clever metrics to help demonstrate the positive impact of eating less meat.

With the concept, a long list of backers and a brand ready to go, Chris needed to bring the movement to life with the app itself. Working with behavioural psychologists and developers, we orchestrated the evolution, creation and launch of the Darwin Challenge app and website.

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See the difference your meat-free days can make

By design, the Darwin Challenge app is deceptively simple. People just nominate one or more days a week they pledge to go meat free, and log their successful days in the app, which instantly gets to work calculating the benefits.

From how much money or animals you save, to the reduction in your carbon footprint, and even how much longer you could live, the rewards of eating less meat are surprising.

We worked hard to make the flow of such complex information as accessible and engaging as possible. Working with European developers Work In Progress and talented illustrator Janine Rewell, we created a beautiful in-app world that constantly changes the more meat-free days the app user logs, motivating behaviour and rewarding positive actions.

Every decision we made was intentional from start to end of the user experience, with various debates to do things one way or another. We worked with The Behavioural Architects, experts in behavioural studies to help guide certain decisions that were made.

Why did we separate the selection of 1 meat-free day with 2 to 7 meat-free days at onboarding? It’s one less tap for those who need an extra push to reduce their meat consumption, and pushes the message that even just one day without meat every week goes towards building a better world.

Should the fences in the field be stone, wire or picket? That’s another intricate discussion we had.

People can track their progress over time, as well as create groups to help motivate each other and see how they’re doing on global leaderboards.

Copy played a big role too. Working with our friends at White Label Words, we took app users on a journey that felt both motivating, and inspiring, while making sense of some complex calculations. It all added up to the creation of an app that’s more than just engaging, it’s life-changing.

You will find that some people will have an ‘FP’ or ‘P’ badge next to their names in the group rankings. ‘Founding Patrons’ and ‘Patrons’, irregardless if they have logged fewer meatless days than those without the badge, will come first in the group specific leaderboard because they have been part of the team who created the app or have made a contribution to the app respectively.

Part of the monetisation strategy for the first version of the app is giving people an incentive to come first in group leaderboards — anyone can become a ‘Patron’ by making a contribution to the app.

The Darwin Challenge launched in time for World Meat Free Day 2017, and will be supported by global launch events in Australia, Ireland, Romania, UK and the USA.

As a result of the great publicity the launch has generated, some of the Universal Favourite team were even interviewed on Channel 7 News. The Darwin Challenge has been mentioned on The Sydney Morning Herald, The Courier, ABC’s RN Breakfast and Meatfree Mondays.


Download on the App Store

Although the greatest reward is the app’s impact, a nice bonus is that it’s currently a finalist for an AGDA award in two categories (Apps and Environmental Responsibility) and for a Best Design Award.

Over the many years in business I have worked with many talented, empathic, calm, charming, enthusiastic, amusing, hardworking, efficient, reasonably priced, authentic, trustworthy and helpful people. One hopes that each person has five or six of these characteristics but working with Universal Favourite I have come across a group who has them all. Very rare. Providing Universal Favourite have the skills to do what you need, you cannot go wrong with them. Going with Universal Favourite was one of the best decisions of my life.

Chris Darwin — CEO of The Darwin Challenge app

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