Business cards seem to me one of those devices that appear rather outdated in our modern, social media driven world. The very notion of exchanging rather limited information about someone rather than connecting virtually and tapping into a much richer back story about them seems to rather defeat the purpose of the process in the first place.
Despite my doubts however, the humble business card remains stubbornly popular in the business world, with them regularly exchanged at networking style events (what happens to them after that of course is another matter). Despite changes in their construction and design over the years, there hasn’t really been a great deal of innovation in what the business card can do over the years.
That may be changing, with the innovation arriving from an unlikely source. The Russian branch of Greenpeace (indeed!) have created what they are calling the EcoCard. The aim of the device is not only to exchange ones contact details, but also to promote greater use of public transport. Intrigued? Then read on.
The organization felt that traditional business cards aren’t particularly eco friendly, being as so many are tossed away once you get back to the office. So they began thinking of ways to incentivize people to not only keep the cards handy, but also to make them used more frequently. Thus, the EcoCard was born.
The front of the card offers the standard business card type information. The back however, is where the magic occurs. On the back are instructions informing the recipient that inside the card is a metro card that can be used on the Moscow underground network. The card therefore doubles up as a holder for the metro card, whilst also informing holders how many journeys their card has remaining on it. Those ordering the card can choose to pre-load up to 60 free rides to their recipients via the EcoCard.
I must say, I think this is quite a cool idea, as it not only offers a gesture of goodwill to the person receiving the card, but it also provides motivation for the recipient to hang on to it (whilst of course, also doing something socially worthwhile).
Check out the video below for more information about the EcoCard. Could you see it working in your own city? What other ‘treats’ could you pre-load onto a card?