Monthly Archives: September 2008

504ward.com: successful community crowdsourcing for local change (Part II)

The initial meeting took place in November 2007.  About 25 New Orleans residents showed up, brainstormed, met in focus groups, and exchanged ideas.   Many community meetings followed.  In February 2007, the group wrote an RFP for the website design and branding of the campaign.  The Ideavillage team selected four companies to present.  In March, a collaborative team of about 30 community residents, mainly young people, watched the presentations, and voted on a theme and a company.  The Netcom Group and the 504ward.com campaign won the day. From that point, Ideavillage took the ball and rolled with it.  Jessica White was hired to coordinate the launch.  Hundreds of behind the scenes meetings took place.

And finally, last night, in true New Orleans style, some 504 New Orleanians attended the historic launch of 504ward at Tipitinas.  The final product is 504ward.com, a collaborative initiative designed to retain the influx of young movers and shakers who are arriving by the hundreds in New Orleans.  The initiative has 4 major components: 504connect, a connection program to help our young talent develop cross-generational roots and relationships to better navigate the New Orleans Networks; 504explore, our very own insider’s guide to the cultural escapes and social happenings on tap in New Orleans; Talent Profiles, featuring one young cultural rock star each week in CityBusiness (be sure to check out this week’s cover story!); and the $100,000 business competition for entrepreneurs with ideas to retain New Orleans’ young talent.  An effective and efficient job board for young people is also being developed for 504ward by NOLA YURP.

The 504ward story is a successful example of crowdsourcing for local policy change.  The community identified a problem, leaders stepped up, citizens joined in the collaborative process and followed through, and most importantly, the professional services and resources were donated (office space, wed development, legal, marketing, website optimization, PR, advertising, etc.) to make it happen.

See the competition video:

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504ward.com: successful community crowdsourcing for local change (Part I of II)

New Orleans had experienced a “brain drain” of young, talented people for years.  Katrina provided a blank slate for the city to start anew; it inspired a grassroots movement in New Orleans unlike any other place in the nation. Residents banded together to improve the community through unprecedented non-profit efforts, volunteerism, and a mass movement of citizen engagement that demanded progressive change and government accountability.  Thousands of young college graduates migrated to the city

Yet a void still existed…there needed to be a comprehensive program/organization to really connect these new young people to the city itself.  This is where the collaborative community process took hold.

Leslie Jacobs, business leader and venture philanthropist, gathered tons of community groups together (including NOLA YURP, Idea Village, Teach for America, The Urban League), along with a handful of interested citizens, to collaborate on how to solve the problem.  Together, and over the course of a year, the group of concerned citizens developed a shared vision for what is now called: 504ward.com: New Orleans Calling.

Look for Part II Tomorrow!

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funding opportunities for young social entrepreneurs

Ashoka Youth Venture has launched two new contests supporting social entrepreneurship for young people.  The @15 Challenge, in partnership with Best Buy, offers 15 social entrepenerurs the chance for $10,000 in seed money.  Participants submit entries and the public votes.  In addition, the Staples Youth Social Entrepreneurship Competition offers several different prizes up to $1,000 for each business.  These are both great examples of crowdsourcing applied to business competitions.  Also check out Ideablob , the original crowdsourcing business idea competition.

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Crowdsourcing civic engagement and local policy change

Just as crowdsourcing has been applied to the media, sports, and even real estate, Policypitch brings crowdsourcing to civic engagement and local policy change.  Whether its crowdfunding donations for a cause or collecting petitions for a political recall, the tools we provide are designed to help our members gather resources to take action.

Examples of other successful crowdsourcing efforts:

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PolicyPitch finishes 3rd in Ideablob Competition

(Originally posted Monday, September 15)

Policypitch was entered into the Ideablob competition to win $10,000 last week.  We needed to get into the top 2 in votes received within a week in order to make it to the “final showdown.”  Unfortunately, we fell short and finished 3rd.  BUT, all hope is not lost.  Policypitch can still make it into next month’s “final showdown” as a top 2 in overall votes received.  SO, go vote!

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PolicyPitch.com featured on the NOLA 100 List by Alldaybuffet!

(originally posted August 25, 2008)

The guys at Alldaybuffet released their long awaited NOLA 100 List today – and we made the cut in the Social Innovation category! ADB’s Mike Karnjanaprakorn describes the list:

“The New Orleans 100” is a worldwide initiative that will highlight and encourage discussion among millions about 100 of the most innovative and world-changing ideas to take root in the city since Katrina.

After hearing so many of the positive changes and innovative projects post-Katrina, we’ve decided enough is enough. It’s time to put an end to the negative press in mainstream media. We know that the levees broke. We know that our city is dysfunctional. We know that. But do you know about Prospect.1? Or about the influx of young professionals into New Orleans? The world needs to know about the NEW New Orleans. And to quote Brad Pitt, “If you’re going to rebuild something, why not rebuild it right?” Amen brother.

Click here for the full list.

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Welcome to PolicyPitch.com!

(originally posted August 24, 2008)

We are so excited to finally launch Policypitch.com! The site has been in development for months. Policypitch.com aims to bring the power to change your surroundings—from local policy to introducing new ideas in your community—to the people who live in these communities. By providing the tools to take action, members will exploit the wisdom of the crowd to change their neighborhoods.

Policypitch presents an opportunity to improve meaningful civic engagement and participation. As the internet has evolved, so has democracy. We see Policypitch.com as a true advancement and real compliment to the democratic process.

More Changes are coming! We are working hard every day to update and improve the tools and services. There are a lot of new, exciting developments in the works—so check back frequently! And please email us if you have any suggestions. I also want to thank Anthony Cole at Blutique and Mohit and the Esst Team for helping to get this off the ground.

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