We didn’t realise it at the time, but the original Labs project was in fact Cash Mobbers, a platform for people to organise a flash community event – supporting a local business in the process.
The website was designed to give people an easy way to arrange their own cash mob, and promote it through social media, or to search for and join other events in their area.
Originally an idea from the US, Cash Mobs take their inspiration partly from the ‘flash mob’ concept, in which a crowd of people gather suddenly at an agreed location and perform the same act simultaneously. They might do battle with light sabers for example, or dance some crazy uptown funk.
The Cash Mob idea tweaks this concept, so that now the crowd are orientated towards supporting a local, independent business and through a series of purchases, boost these enterprises with cash and publicity. Amid the decline of the UK high street, Cash Mobs enable people to take action and show the wider community the kind of businesses they want in their local area.
We experimented with the idea first in Hackney, London, at the Pages of Hackney bookshop. The Financial Times covered the event and its outcomes here.