Amp Announces Beta Launch of Its Website for Sustainability Resources

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Crowdsourced information, resources, research and rankings will offer a unified starting point.

Helping each other create a sustainable future just got a lot easier. Amp Your Impact, Inc. has released the beta version of its website to help students and professionals discover and share the best resources that can help companies move the needle on environmental and social progress.

Amp was born from a grad student’s frustration with unproductive online searches for sustainability-related information and resources. Sarah McKinney, then an MBA student at Presidio Graduate School, worked with her capstone team to find a solution that could deliver value to professionals and students alike. The team originally envisioned a membership-based service, but market research led to an “a-ha” moment. Rather than create yet another site for (expensive) paid content, the better solution was to tap into the wisdom of the crowd by creating a Yelp for sustainability, helping people navigate this broad-ranging sector. After graduation, McKinney teamed up with fellow alum John Lehnert, whose background in managing projects at an information management website complemented McKinney’s experience in consumer research. They discovered they had a shared passion for bringing the best sustainability resources into one place. Together, they continued evolving the idea.

“It’s all about quality over quantity in finding information,” McKinney commented. “Ordinary search results bring millions of responses, but wading through all of that clutter to find the gems is tough. Online discovery happens in isolation. And not everyone can afford to attend conferences where information is exchanged.” Inspired by the emergence of crowdsourcing, McKinney reasoned that collaboration among professionals and students with a shared interest in good resources – links, media and documents– could pull the best discoveries into one online destination.

Building on the trust-enabling models used on other sites, Amp incorporates ratings and commentary to assess the quality of postings, and users garner “influence points” on the site that reflect their contributions to the Amp body of knowledge. Further sharing is possible on the forum, where users can post questions for the community to answer.

“Amp gives people who are committed to sustainability—in all senses of the term—a place to advance their own understanding and empower others to help the companies or organizations they work for,” Lehnert said. “And because it touches so many areas – energy, water, urbanism, social impact, entrepreneurship—we want to give people a way to find what’s relevant to them in the moment.” Amp provides this capability with custom-built search, and with categories that reflect what people need to find: from white papers and case studies to software and professional services.

“Using all the great feedback from our alpha users, we’re excited to put Amp in the hands of more people with this beta release,” McKinney said. Amp has the potential to add all kinds of new features, but she noted that the core functionality already delivers the ability to add great resources on the site with a very user-friendly interface. And users who have content they’ve created themselves can offer it for sale—providing both an incentive for users and a way to monetize the site (with a commission on sales). Citing just one example of Amp’s value, Lehnert noted that grad students could use their own work to both earn money and help build a shared repository of knowledge.

Amp is free to browse; registration allows you to share, rate and review resources. Users must be original creators of documents that are posted for sale. McKinney and Lehnert built the beta version with personal funds and $30,000 in proceeds from a successful fundraising campaign on Indiegogo. “Right now we’re focused on user engagement and fine-tuning the functionality, with a plan for more-substantial upgrades once we secure a new round of funds,” Lehnert said. In the meantime, Amp is ready for users to explore how it can help them be more effective advocates and practitioners, as the need for sustainable corporate practices and programs grows ever more urgent.

Amp Your Impact, Inc. is a CA-registered Benefit Corporation.

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