Unleash Your Stories – Jamie Mcdonald

“Turning cities into playgrounds”. That is the vision of ‘Shwoop’, one of the Unleash Space’s homegrown student startups, and one that Jamie Mcdonald, one of our Creative Technologists and also on the Velocity team, is a founding member of.

In his first year of university, Jamie started exploring the idea of entrepreneurship by attending Velocity Innovation Seminars, as well as making an app which ultimately failed. However, through this experience and with the help of Velocity, Jamie learnt a lot about entrepreneurship. When Unleash Space opened, Jamie became one of the Creative Technologists, a role he really enjoys. Jamie met his entire team at Unleash Space; they now all work out of there on a daily basis and are getting support from mentors and experts.

Jamie describes Shwoop as “a guerilla advertising platform that creates hi-tech physical activations for city gamification”; a platform where they develop fun, interactive technology in urban spaces that can “create a sense of awe and inspiration in others”.

One of the projects Jamie has been working on at Shwoop involves a partnership with New World, making an interactive button that gives you meal recommendations when you enter the supermarket, based on factors like the weather, your mood and purchasing history. In January, Jamie had the privilege of meeting with the CEO, CTO and Head of Customer of New World, where he pitched to them the idea of having a product-recommendation system that gives people exclusive discounts just for them, which they were really on board with. With the support of New World and using the Create and Maker Space at Unleash Space for prototyping, this concept quickly developed from an idea involving discounts to a working product for personalised meal recommendations, and it is currently being launched in four different stores across New Zealand.

How does it work? When you first enter the supermarket, a button (with the diamond-shaped New World logo on it) can be pressed, where you then get taken to a screen asking for your current emotion. Combined with information about the weather and purchasing history, a personalised recipe is given with its ingredients listed and their respective locations in the store. Not only is this a more interactive way to shop, it also helps solve the problem where 70% of Kiwis that walk into a supermarket actually do not know what they want for dinner.

Jamie and Shwoop have an exciting future ahead of them, as they continue to focus on “creating perfectly tailored physical activations to places”. Currently they have a relationship with Auckland Council, Auckland Live and Aotea Square, which will help make interactive installments dotted all over the city, and are working on projects with three global advertising agencies. Through these experiences, Jamie has learnt so much from the entrepreneurial journey, finding it a personal growth catalyst as well as having fun working on big projects with his amazing team at Shwoop.

Thinking of using Unleash Space to help develop your own projects like Jamie has? Sign up here or come and gain access to the Create and Maker Space here.