A digital experience that prompts members of the public to do good deeds throughout the Edinburgh festivals aims to tackle social issues such as plastic pollution, litter, and homelessness.

Deedit’ encourages locals and visitors to carry out ‘small acts of kindness’, such as picking up litter, buying a sandwich for a stranger or giving directions.

Once the good deeds are completed, users are encouraged to record their activity via ‘Deedit’, sharing a photo of their deed or a selfie. They are then shown how their single deed or collection of deeds, have helped to impact on bigger, positive social change.

‘Deedit’ has been developed as part of Project Mercury, a collaboration between the Centre of Design Informatics and Tesco Bank, designed to explore Fintech, develop talent and foster innovation and creative thinking.

It is part of Data Pipe Dreams: Glimpse of a Near Future, the annual interactive pavilion of the Centre for Design Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, which showcases prototypes that explore designing with data. The pavilion, which is located on Edinburgh’s George Street, is open to visitors throughout August and is free to attend.

Although the pilot has been launched in Edinburgh, the developers are encouraging people from across Scotland to use the platform to do good deeds. The team will use data captured throughout the festival to explore potential future uses and further developments of the digital experience.

It is hoped that this research will demonstrate how similar types of digital technology could be used within corporate social responsibility programs to encourage engagement, transparency, and awareness.

The online platform will also benefit Social Bite, an Edinburgh-based social enterprise which helps homeless people across Scotland. A number of deeds directly support their work, such as buying a meal or coffee from their cafes for a person who is homeless.

Project Mercury has been running for the past year. Through a series of workshops, lectures and internships, university students and academics have worked in partnership with Tesco Bank’s digital and design-practice department to explore the possibilities of emerging digital technologies, such as blockchain.

“One of the challenges we face is helping people understand the impact new data technologies will have on their lives,” said Chris Speed, director of the Centre for Design Informatics at Edinburgh University.

“The partnership with Tesco Bank has been a fantastic help. Co-designing imaginative, human-centred experiences with the financial sector here in Edinburgh demonstrates that the city is becoming a world leader in fintech design.”

Grant Bourbousson, digital director of Tesco Bank, added: “Working with the university has provided a range of exciting development opportunities for our colleagues.

“Participants in Project Mercury have explored ways in which we can harness developments in data technologies and how these could be used to help deliver better services for our customers. This partnership demonstrates our commitment to talent development, innovation and the exploration of new and emerging technologies.”

The Design Informatics Pavilion features two other projects from the Project Mercury collaboration.

‘Lens’ allows visitors to take part in a game that highlights how their personal data – such as Facebook profile or Amazon purchases – might influence their success during a fictional job application.

‘Tess’ gives visitors the opportunity to see what could happen if financial service organisations used artificial intelligence and machine learning to help improve customers’ financial wellbeing. The conceptual device uses lighting effects – such as different colours and levels of brightness – to indicate the health of a customer’s spending habits.

This post first appeared on EventsBase.