Transcript for the #GCC2020 showcase: IBM


Bella Bain

Hi I'm Bella Bain.

I'm an Associate Design Director here at the IBM iX studios and today I'm going to tell you a little bit about a special project which is quite different to what we normally do.

Traditionally we like to solve complex human problems for some of the largest banks or airlines around Australia but the project I want to talk to you today is about something quite specific.

It's this little guy.

And it's where we're not just solving a problem for a human but we're looking across species now in to frogs as well and how might we solve the crisis where we need to save Australia's frogs.


Game Changer Challenge 2020

Bella Bain

So we knew quite well how to build really cool things for complex problems but what we didn't know was anything about frogs.

And so what we had to do was partner with the Australian Museum to learn everything about frogs.

I don't think I've ever known so much about frogs in my life until working on this project but it was a truly riveting time.

So we partnered with the Australian Museum and what we did was aligned around their key pain points.

And so we understood that there was this small

team that used to travel around Australia recording frog calls but the uniqueness about a frog call is they are at real timely points.

So they will only mostly call before and after rain.

So you can think about when we have a country the size of almost America just itself and we have so much barren land that it's quite hard to be at a specific spot when we're trying to find an endangered species, to make sure that we can record them croaking at that point.

So we thought well how might we leverage and empower all Australians to help us on this mission to save Australia's frogs.

And so this is where we all founded around this idea of shazam for frogs and then came up with what we call at IBM a 'hill statement'.

Which is similar in when you're in an army troop when you tell your troops to go and capture a hill but you don't tell them how to do it.

So we knew we needed something like Shazam for frogs but we didn't tell our teams how to do this.

And this is where we had our diverse teams come together - our Australian Museum teams with all of their knowledge of frogs and our IBM teams where we came with our design best practices and our super skilled build team together under one roof to solve this mission on how do we get Shazam for frogs and then empower the Australian population to help us record these frog calls at these critical timely moments.

Did that make sense?

Dr Jodi Rowley

Frogs are amongst the most threatened groups of animals on the planet.

Even though individual frogs are quite small together they actually make up a huge part of the ecosystem.

FrogID is Australia's national citizen science project around frogs.

It's an attempt to get a better understanding of our frogs and help make sure that they will be croaking, ribbiting and chirping for generations to come.

Bella Bain

So to fully immerse us in the experience and understand what the researchers had to do - Jodi in particular who led it from the museum. - we went on a field trip out to the Hunter Valley and we went camping with the Australian Museum.

So we had our developers our designers and all of the key Australian Museum team rent out an Airbnb on one of the properties out there and for two nights we went frogging.

And it is a unique term and I definitely encourage all of you to go and do it.

But we tried to understand what did we need to do to make sure that any of the recordings we captured were at a scientific level and ensured that we didn't disturb this guy.

So what we learnt from that experience was that frogs are very sensitive to bright lights and if they feel endangered when you're approaching their habitat that they're not actually going to continue calling and so the most important balance then was we looked at say the brightness on a phone or the colour of the application so when you download the application you'll see it's all very dark blue and dark colours and this is to ensure that when you do go into these areas it isn't disturbing them and they feel comfortable to call so that we can capture that insight and then make these decisions going forward.

So the most exciting insight or part of the field trip was that we validated and verified all of these frogs and really confirmed our initial hill statement that this was a viable solution.

Which was a great success for the team and and we had a lot of fun doing so but it really framed around well what's next.

So we know that this app now works and we know that we can successfully and safely record all of these frogs.

But now how do we get it to the rest of Australia how do we get people excited about going out and finding these frogs and sometimes just around the rainfall so making sure that they don't get soaking wet as well?

So this is where both of the Australian Museum and our team's marketing teams came together on top of our build squad to do our big launch.

We also partnered with Bunnings to make sure that we could then look at how do we start helping people build these ecosystems for frogs to come to.

So there were a lot of trips out to schools just like yours where we looked at them building little frog ponds in the schoolyards and this wouldencourage frogs to come and live in these habitats so it's almost like we are then building these ecosystems that frogs are migrating to as well.


FrogID week

Bella Bain

So after the first year we launched something called FrogID week and it is a week where we all come together and unite on going out and finding as many frogs as we possibly can.

And why we picked this particular time it was where most species are at their height of calling.

And so within 2019 I think we had about five and a half thousand frogs verified within one week which was incredible so we really were able to unite Australia around this cause of finding frogs and what we've since seen on social media is this flurry of everyone starting to talk about frogs.

And the conversations of frogs and people wanting to go out into the environment and not only getting some exercise themselves but going out and uniting around a really beneficial cause seemed to have just start all in out of a conversation and a mission to help save Australia's frogs.

So good luck get out there and happy frogging!


Game Changer Challenge 2020

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