Pelotonia Transforming A Real-life Event Into A Digital Experience

Customer Engagement / Non-Profit
Since they were founded in 2008, Pelotonia—a nationally recognized grassroots philanthropic organization—has raised almost a quarter of a billion dollars for cancer research at the James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Pelotonia’s most concentrated efforts take place at their annual 3-day fundraising event that includes a 2-day bike ride, which consistently draws more than 8,000 riders each year. The 2020 pandemic made holding this event impossible, so Pelotonia needed to quickly adjust course. Rightpoint helped them ideate, design, test, and develop an entirely reimagined digital platform—My Pelotonia—to expand and connect the Pelotonia community in new ways and keep the mission alive even during the most challenging of times.

Starting with a Strategy

Reimagining An Iconic Real-world Event As An Innovative Digital Experience

COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill, but cancer stands still for no one. After 11 years of phenomenal fundraising success, Pelotonia found themselves in the difficult position of potentially having to cancel their cornerstone event. To continue doing their crucial fundraising work, they needed to develop an entirely different approach for their fundraising efforts—a digital experience that would connect, inspire, and empower their participants, volunteers, donors, and the Pelotonia community at large. 


Pelotonia had the advantage of having already put some thought into a larger digital transformation. They had begun rethinking their digital tools and opportunities, but were planning on implementing changes later in 2020 or 2021. The pandemic accelerated their plans drastically. Because the CDC’s cancellation of all large gatherings was a completely unexpected turn of events, Pelotonia needed to pivot quickly in a way that didn’t jeopardize community engagement or fundraising momentum.


With the fundraising season in full swing and the ride weekend only a few months away, Pelotonia needed to reimagine and reinvent their community engagement and core event. And they needed to do this in a way that brought all their supporters with them on the transformative journey to a new digital experience that celebrated their community's efforts in an inspiring and motivating way.


Pelotonia Digital Experience

Work

Using A Design Sprint Methodology To Get To The Answer Quickly And Creatively

When Rightpoint got the urgent call, they worked with Pelotonia to pull together a collaborative, cross-functional team of 12 people—4 from Pelotonia and 8 from Rightpoint. The team included researchers, product and project management, designers, business leaders, digital and social leaders, and engineers.


The team jumped right in, using a design sprint methodology to quickly ideate and iterate on solutions. Overall, the approach had two main objectives: 

  • To generate and validate ideas for the 2020 experience

  • To answer critical business questions about what would be possible in such a short amount of time


Ultimately, the goal was to come up with a digital solution that would expand and connect the Pelotonia community and inspire action through fundraising and physical activity in a way that allows each participant and their communities to see and feel the impact of their efforts.


The design sprint made it possible for the team to move quickly from ideation to definition as they collaborated in key exercises:

Setting The Context And Establishing The Mission

This exercise served to ground everyone in a shared understanding of the problem, identify all the audiences and their needs, and also define the team’s North Star. Taking the time to find the common language helped ensure that everyone on the team would be working to solve the right problem. 

Generating Ideas Through Brain Writing

Brain writing is a structured process that leaves room for divergent ideas. While a straight path from problem to solution might seem more efficient, the best ideas often come from adjacent problem spaces or are rooted in an individual’s personal experience. Brain writing helped the team uncover new opportunities for empowering captains, creating ongoing community engagement, and hosting a different and innovative kind of event. 

Prioritizing, Prototyping, and Validating

Once the team had developed a range of ideas, they prioritized the concepts, collected feedback from community members, and developed rapid prototypes to capture the essence and inspiration of a solution so it could be further refined. 


When the final idea had been selected, the team went through a technical validation process and developed a detailed product roadmap to nail down what was possible given the known constraints. 


At the end of the 2-week sprint, the team had successfully helped Pelotonia adjust course to create a completely new platform that took the mission and creative concept of Pelotonia’s annual bike ride and augmented it with a new digital experience and fundraising initiative. My Pelotonia is driven by participants' personal challenges as each person creates their own goals, which might include biking, running, walking, volunteering, writing a book, getting outside with their kids, or a countless number of other inspired goals. 


My Pelotonia includes features to support both the uniquely personal aspect of each person’s related goals as well as the community support that has always been an integral part of Pelotonia. Participants can create and share personal profiles, define and track goals, and share their inspiration and progress with the community. 


browser
Pelotonia Home Page

Outcomes

Despite the completely unexpected disruption of the pandemic, Pelotonia was able—with Rightpoint’s help—to not only adapt quickly to the immediate situation, but also to take important steps in their ongoing journey of digital transformation. They were able to successfully accelerate some of Pelotonia’s longer-term strategies and transform them into quick wins. My Pelotonia allowed  Pelotonia to expand their reach, bringing their vision and mission to a larger audience than ever before. 


  • Transformed a purely physical event into an all-new digital experience.

  • Expanded event reach from local to global.

  • Broadened opportunities for participation with a digital platform and personalized goals.


mobile-portrait-black
Pelotonia Mobile Search
mobile-portrait-black
Pelotonia Mobile Graph
mobile-portrait-black
Pelotonia Mobile Results

“We needed a partner who could open up a world of possibilities for us. We felt really comfortable knowing that Rightpoint could innovate and help us approach problems from different perspectives. They spent all day, every day for two weeks to deliver a really innovative approach that our community has completely taken hold of and in a lot of ways will transform the organization for the future.”

Joe Apgar Chief Operating Officer, Pelotonia

Capabilities

Capability

  • Product and Service Innovation

Technology

  • Backend Integration
  • Custom Web App
  • Salesforce