Feel it... Change it!

Through Virtual Reality immersive experiences we induce an empathetic awareness leading positive changes in the way Humans relate to animals

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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize and, based on its description, I am eligible to apply:

  • Yes, I’m eligible
  • Yes, I’m 18 years old or older

Should you be successful, please confirm your availability to attend:

  • Additional Skype interview(s) during the week of March 16-20th 2020
  • The Purina BetterwithPets Forum in Paris, on 3-4th of June 2020

Initiative's representative name

Emmanuela Tubelli, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist at Energie Sociali Jesurum

Initiative's representative date of birth

20071987

Initiative's representative gender

  • Woman

Headquarters location: country

  • Italy

Headquarters location: city

Milan, Lombardia, Italy

Where are you making a difference?

SAME

Website or social media url(s)

Sito: https://www.jesurumlab.com/ LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/energie-sociali-jesurum/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JesurumLab/

Date Started

July/2019

Focus Areas

  • Fostering emotional intelligence and behavioural competences
  • Fostering humans' correct approach and behavior in treating animals

What is your current yearly budget for the initiative? If you are an idea stage, what early budget you would need to kick-off and run operations in your first year?

  • €10k - €50k

Organisation Type

  • nonprofit/NGO: an organisation that uses its resources to achieve a purpose outside of creating profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

One day Lili, the pet who shares with us the office, was hanging around desks, with big wondering eyes. Immediately we started questioning about her thoughts and feelings. What was she trying to say us? What was she thinking about all of these human beings around her? Does she like living in our office? And above all are we able to take care of her properly? We found an answer in Virtual Reality, a tool which allows to see the world through animals’ senses and therefore understand their needs. In fact, thanks to this new technology - and 360° videos as well - we could reproduce immersive experiences that let humans feel what an animal feels. And so Feel, in order to Change our approach towards animals, assuming a better behavior.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

We want to impact on a context where mistreatments against animals still persist. In 2018 every 55 minutes a judicial file for animal offenses was opened. Mistreatment is the most frequent reported abuse - 32,9% - with an average of 1830 suspects. Killing animals concerns the 31,6% of proceedings, meanwhile abandonment cases placed at 15.6%. (Data from LAV “Zoomafia Report”). In our opinion, the current situation needs a change.

3. Your solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Making a break in people's mind is the solution to this problem. That’s why we decided to reach as many users as possible during the event “PetsInTheCity”, which took place from 4 to 6 October 2019 in Milan. We created a sensory cube within the stand of the Municipality of Milan, where citizens and families approached the animal well-being topic in a different way. Our immersive experiences allow users to be thrown into the life of pets and, through their own senses, to receive a deep message which, if transmitted in words, could seem reductive and with weak impact. In fact, the experience allows us to test animals’ emotions and to understand situations that we would not have the opportunity to live in everyday life. Inside the sensory cube - isolated from the external environment - we offered the viewing of two 360° videos we realized. In the first one we allowed thousands of visitors to live in the shoes of a dog left inside a car while his human friends go shopping. The second one aims to give voice to the rights of aquarium fish. The user is immersed into an aquarium, from which he can observe the life of the humans, who often lack essential attention to him.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Project innovation is identified in Virtual Reality, a relatively new powerful tool, in our opinion not fully exploited by modern society yet. A tool that, if ethically used, allows to develop empathetic awareness in the user. The strength of current project is the chance to perceive firsthand the consequences of our bad behavior towards animals. So we can be aware of our actions, an awareness we think could persist even once the viewer is removed and the user returns to "real life". Furthermore, innovation does not only reside in the medium, but also in the way we use it. Contents we want to share based on the idea of respect, care and love that our pets need exactly as human beings do. And immersive experiences prove it empirically.

5. How does your project harness the pet-human bond to help people develop important social competencies (For example: emotional intelligence, collaboration, empathy, resilience, inclusivity) and overcome serious societal issues (for example: violence, abuse, trauma, isolation, abandonment)?

The project takes advantage of the pet-human bond by reversing its roles, in order to provide a new judgment regarding our often erroneous behaviors towards our pets. This analysis is possible only by immersing the user in a new perspective: our pets' one. From their eyes and senses we can actually experiment and analyze the global environment in which they live. Often unconsciously, humans assume negative attitudes towards pets: shortcomings and mistreatment still persist and so a new solution must be found. The pet-human bond, from sentimental, also becomes physical, placing the user in a context in which he no longer has the decision-making power. In this situation user’s existence is dominated by the choices and the errors of his human roommate. Living this experience, it will be much easier for the user to distinguish the worthy actions from the wrong ones and, as consequence, to enhance his behavior towards pets in "real life". The goal we set ourselves is precisely to improve the integrity of the pet-human bond, spreading the importance of animal welfare and pets’ needs, which are often confused with humans’ ones.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

Thanks to our participation to PetsInTheCity event we had the possibility to propose our 360° video clips to approximately 32.000 people. Most of them showed to really appreciate living the immersive experience and to grasp its full meaning. As some interviews we carried out by sampling during the event showed, clips really impressed people, leading them to admit “I never thought about it! I didn’t think he would grieve so much! I can’t do this anymore!”. A reaction that confirms the idea we had at the beginning of this adventure: feel it… change it. So our project reached the goal by giving its contribution in making a change in pet-human bond: fostering the importance of pets’ needs, not to be confused with human ones. Furthermore, project strong media coverage contributed to create an effective social impact, spreading our message and values to a larger public.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

We are currently working on closing a public and private partnership, which could enable a larger scale evolution and implementation to our project. The plan is to build a roadmap to bring our video clips to more people and to let them speak directly to their heart. For this reason we are going to realize a tour which will include the most significant gathering spaces in the city of Milan. Next spring a temporary exposition will take place at Anteo Palazzo del Cinema - a city cultural touchstone - as well as at all public dog areas parks and swimming pools referred to Milano Sport networking.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for different stakeholders?

As its proper name also suggests, Energie Sociali Jesurum Association Charter mentions, among its constitutive purpose, the mission to create positive values, to be shared with the community, as well as with public and private stakeholders. The basic idea focuses on fundamental social needs - in this case the need to stop mistreatments against animals - and on giving them a concrete answer through long-term projects. Our activity is directed to involve several stakeholders in our mission, showing them the importance to react to some social problems by joining forces for the common good. A strong expertise in institutional relations gave us during these years the possibility to build a positive networking which help us to concretize ideas.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Energie Sociali Jesurum is going to apply a sustainable business and a work model already successfully tried out with several projects. As metter of fact, our activity based on the idea of creating values shared by private as well as by public institutions. Working in that way allows us to plan initiatives able to offer a solution to social problems expressed by citizens' community - in this case mistreatment against animals - and concurrently to enhance companies' social responsibility. Our activities are developed at no cost for public entities as they are supported by private companies which share with us values and mission.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Michela Jesurum, Founder Francesca Corradi, Chairman Emmanuela Tubelli, Senior Marketing and Communications Specialist Claudia Bergonzi, Project Specialist Costanza Castellani, Communication and Project Assistant Cinzia Negri, Idea Creator Tommaso Leoni, Idea Creator

11. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of this edition of the Purina BetterwithPets Prize?

The Purina BetterwithPets Prize is an important recognition for all realities that work in this field. So it will be an important influence in underlining the power of Virtual Reality medium, used in spreading fundamental social issues, especially as far as animal mistreatments are concerned. The Prize will also be an important instrument to approach as many stakeholders as possible and to implement our project.

12. How did you hear about this challenge?

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Photo of lauro malama

Very good!

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