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Offsite for Mercari R4D! We Held an Ideathon for Research Topics That Use Mercari App Data

December 16, 2022

Hello there! This is Akira Okabayashi (@okarin), a Research Administrator at Mercari R4D. I joined Mercari R4D in April 2022, and am responsible for delivering listing data from the Mercari marketplace app to research institutions through the National Institute of Informatics (“NII” below,) which is a collaboration that began in September 2022. (For reference: the NII/Informatics Research Data Repository : IDR website https://www.nii.ac.jp/dsc/idr/mercari/)
We recently held an offsite for Mercari R4D members, which included an ideathon on how to leverage data from the Mercari app for research purposes. Allow me to explain to you how it went.

(Data other than that which is provided through NII was also included in the scope of this offsite.)

Shots from the ideathon

Mercari intends to circulate the Earth’s limited resources to help society thrive, which is why we focused on thinking about solutions for issues addressed by the 17 SDGs. Mercari R4D not only focuses on research that will grow existing businesses, but also research and development projects that can help create a circular economy. That is why we have researchers from a large variety of fields, such as quantum information technologies, HCI, mobility, Blockchain, AI, ELSI, and communication. We brought together researchers of different fields in groups and used that structure to come up with rich ideas that leverage all kinds of expertise and diverse perspectives.

Shots from the opening

Shots from when we broke into groups and raised ideas

Ideas Research Utilization from the ideathon

The ideathon was a short one, but there were at least 15 ideas that came up. All of the ideas made good use of the researchers’ expertise, and they were all very exciting! Let me introduce a few of them below.

  • Contribute to eliminating waste by researching supply, demand, and matching methods for each shipping area [SDG 12]
    By analyzing the relationship between secondary distribution and listing regions, we can also analyze the characteristics of each region and leverage that information to support regional development in those areas, as well as research supply and demand matching not on an individual scale, but a regional scale.
  • Contribute to building an infrastructure for fair and reliable transactions by researching psychological consumption behavior through the exchange of value [SDG 9]
    By virtually connecting purchases and listings, we can run simulations for situations that can recreate the Legend of the Straw Millionaire, and use that data to research further the perception of the value of things.
  • Contribute to the inclusion of all people in society regardless of their status or situation by conducting psychological research on the creation of communities or communication between existing communities [SDG 10]
    By setting up hypothetical communities based on the attributes of listers and buyers, and quantitatively evaluating their size and/or affinity with other communities, we can develop methods to create or join new communities, and research the process of forming a community.

Conclusion

This was our first in-person offsite in six months. It was also the first ever offsite after our renovated office re-opened as Mercari Base Tokyo, we thought it would be a good opportunity to come together as R4D after such a long time and explore the new floor ourselves.

As I also mentioned above, Mercari R4D has been providing listing data through NII since September 2022, which has been put to use for research purposes. NII has organized an NII User Forum in December to encourage exchange between data providing companies and the researchers making use of that data. Mercari R4D also has been there as a data provider and presented some of the ideas and discussions that came up in this offsite.

I’d like to conclude by voicing my surprise at once again seeing how much variety there is in the Mercari app data used for research purposes, as well as in the expertise areas of Mercari R4D researchers. The ideas that went beyond informatics and dived into areas like psychology or consumption behavior research through Mercari app data were very exciting. I am definitely looking forward to more exciting research!


Press release: https://r4d.mercari.com/news/provide-listing-data/
NII data provision page: https://www.nii.ac.jp/dsc/idr/mercari/
NII user form: https://www.nii.ac.jp/dsc/idr/userforum/2022.html
(program page: https://www.nii.ac.jp/dsc/idr/userforum/program_2022.html#company

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