How Hello Lamp Post is breaking down the barriers between citizens and city leaders

20th Jan 2021

The phrase ‘council consultation’ conjures up thoughts of dusty rooms, jargon-filled documents and done deals, but what if there was another method of communicating with people who were affected by decisions, in a way that received genuine engaged responses and was actually quite fun?

London-based Hello Lamp Post is growing fast and spreading to cities around the world thanks to its playful interface, which allows people to interact with inanimate street objects such as park benches, by either scanning a QR code or sending a text message.

It is a simple idea which is cutting through to audiences across all age-groups but it's proving particularly potent in the under-30 age group, who are often the hardest group for decision-makers in towns and institutions to reach.


Hello Lamp Post co-founder Tiernan Mines says the appeal lies in the fact that it is a fun way of communicating, but also that people get a genuine reward for their interaction be it providing their opinion,  entertainment, a useful fact or even a free coffee.

Picture: Hello Lamp Post

He said: "What we have found across all deployments is that Hello Lamp Post does very well in reaching that under-30 audience who are more digitally native.  Having a digital first approach is one of the reasons it has been a success around the world.

 “People are more willing to provide qualitative and quantitative feedback on our platform, compared to traditional methods of engagement.

"We put that down to the friendly nature of the conversations, ease of interaction and the fact that it's anonymous."

Picture: Hello Lamp Post


Hello Lamp Post will join five other start-ups at Salford’s MediaCityUK in a 12-week programme from mid-January, led by UP Ventures Group, to discover and test how cities can use technology to adapt to a post-Covid world in partnership with MediaCityUK and Connected Places Catapult.

UP Ventures enables large organisations and startups to create effective innovation and build value together, through innovation programmes, design sprints and workshops while also helping businesses get ready for investment.

"We envisage Hello Lamp Post being the communication interface between any physical environment and the end user."

Participants in the testbed will draw on MediaCityUK's unique capabilities as a ‘living lab’ and established Innovation District. The goal of the testbed  is  to enable  a range of projects aimed at improving our cities, particularly as they look to recover from Covid-19.

Tiernan said that the programme would allow Hello Lamp Post to carry out live deployments in new areas.

"We look forward to working with the programme partners and benefitting from the mentorship and advice, given the stage we are at as a company, he added.

"We are excited to explore Manchester and Salford as an area when it comes to deploying Hello Lamp Post, whether it be at MediaCityUK or working with neighbouring councils and universities.

"It would be great to do live deployments at all of these sites. This would not only help the local communities but also the organisations that look after those areas.

"We can activate anything including a statue, parking meter, planning notice, park bench, bus stop to a shopping mall and allow people to learn about their local area and what's available for them to do and see.

"For us it is really important that more people in and around areas such as MediaCityUK are heard from in terms of their preferences and how that space and area is being used both now and how it could be used in the future."


Tiernan says he can see Hello Lamp Post playing a key role in helping local authorities reshape towns and cities after pandemic.

He said: "As towns and cities recover from Covid, there will be a huge focus on bettering the experience and they will become destination places.

"They will become areas where whole families can go and spend the day as opposed to just popping in quickly to visit the shops.

"No one has experienced a global pandemic like this in our lifetime therefore it is important the decision makers really understand the wants and needs of the people living, working and playing in those areas.

"Tools like Hello Lamp Post can help automate this process for councils."

Hello Lamp Post allows client companies and organisations to collect responses from people who have interacted with their objects and is the first on-street platform facilitating two-way conversations between humans and objects.

The responses are then analysed and reported back through a visual dashboard.

Hello Lamp Post also uses Natural Language Processing to map out broad sentiment from responses and categorise how people feel about a topic or what their preferences are about an issue.

Hello Lamp Post is spreading fast with its growth fuelled by positive media reports and word-of-mouth but what does the future hold for the platform?

Tiernan says the company’s mission is to bridge the gap that exists between decision makers and those that live in cities, which is only going to grow as more people migrate towards urban centres.

"Our goal is to bring local decision makers closer to the end users, he said.

"We envisage Hello Lamp Post being the communication interface between any physical environment and the end user.

"Imagine stepping off of a plane and being able to speak to points of interest and take part in a self-propelled tour, through asking a parking meter about parking information.

"Our vision for the platform is to be that digital layer to the city."

If you think your company could benefit from working with companies on an Up Ventures programme you can contact us here .

Here are three examples where Hello Lamp Post has been deployed:

University of British Columbia

University of British Columbia activated Hello Lamp Post objects over its campus with the aim of increasing communication with students and staff.

The information points allow students to gain a better experience on campus and for visitors to find out more about the history of the university.

What started as a small project to improve parking has now become a fixture of the campus with over 100 information spots.

Southwark Council

Hello Lamp Post worked with Southwark council on a healthy streets project that aimed to improve safety and air quality around schools, through a series of targeted road closures.

Passers-by were encouraged to interact with bollards, park benches and trees that sought their feedback on the changes.

The council experienced a 40 per cent increase in engagement as opposed to traditional means of communication and have now rolled-out school street closures across the borough improving resident safety and well-being.


The Canadian city of Summerside installed 30 objects across its territory with the aim of getting better feedback from its residents, as to how it should shape its budget and where they felt the city father's priorities should lie.

The deployment resulted in the authority's highest ever engagement of people under 30 for a consultation exercise, with the budget directly shaped by the respondents.

Think. Inspire. Do.
Grappling with an innovation challenge, interested in our future programmes or just want some good ol' fashioned inspiration?
Get in touch
Sign up for our newsletter
©Copyright 2023 UP | All Rights Reserved