In your own words, what is the idea behind FlowFinder?
The problem for many people on the go is where to find somewhere to change or freshen up after a gym session, commuting, running etc. Flow resolves that by providing a network of venues where people can do just that.
Why do you think it’s a valuable asset to the urban community?
As peoples lives become increasingly busy they want to be able to do things whilst on the move and not feel rooted to the office, their gym membership or where they live. Today’s environment is open to solutions like that. If you asked people five years ago if they would let a total stranger from the other side of the world stay in their flat while they were away, they would probably think you were mad, but that’s changed thanks to AirBnB. We’re open to new ways of thinking and that’s what FlowFinder is.
What have been the challenges in creating the app?
The key things is getting venues to understand the benefits for them. There are plenty of places that have changing rooms and showers in London, but helping these venues to see that they can be used differently and earn revenue can be a challenge. With something new like this, there is always a certain amount of inertia for people to overcome before the vision becomes clear.
It’s more than just showers though isn’t it? What role do you see the app playing in habits and behaviour change?
I think as people try and cram more into their lives and want to lead a healthier lifestyle, they are increasingly spurning traditional modes of transport. So we are on a bit of a mission to help the world behave more healthily and live differently. FlowFinder supports a highly active lifestyle, and that doesn’t just mean in terms of exercise.
People now think nothing of travelling into London for the day from places like Manchester or Bristol, and frequently they need somewhere to freshen up between meetings or exercise. In the past, a lack of facilities limited what we could do in one day, now that barrier has been removed. This is all about making the most of your time and streamlining your day.
What’s the best thing anyone has said to you about the app?
It’s wonderful when people find their whole world opening up because of FlowFinder. I spoke to someone the other day who does a bootcamp class in one of London’s parks, but he had been finding it really difficult to figure out how to go from work, to class and then on to meet friends afterwards, because there was nowhere to shower and change. His only option was to go home, which limited his day. FlowFinder changed that for him, meaning he can now exercise anywhere and still do other things afterwards. He can make the most of the day.
Has FlowFinder made a difference to the way you experience cycling around London?
I usually run up and down the river if I want to exercise, and I get the sense I’m breathing in a lot of traffic fumes doing this. Using FlowFinder in conjunction with other apps means I can now change that way of exercising and decide to do a bootcamp exercise class in the park for example, or a spin class somewhere else. I can do things I wouldn’t have done before because I can then go out afterwards and have a beer with friends as well!
Do you have a favourite place to stop on the app?
What stands out for me is that there’s everything from standard shower facilities where everything’s very convenient but basic, all the way through to really luxurious places to go if you want to spend a bit more time and money before going out to an evening dinner or formal function. Wherever you are in London you get a choice of venues, so you can fit it into your particular needs and requirements on that day.
Do you have a favourite feature to the app?
I think earning points is a great thing. The incentives would encourage me to keep using it, and the ‘Boris finder’ feature so you can find your nearest Santander cycles is definitely useful!
What do you see as the future of FlowFinder?
Once we’ve established FlowFinder in the UK then we will definitely take it abroad, starting with Europe then moving beyond. We see FlowFinder becoming a vital service in peoples’ busy lives, wherever they are in the world.