Category Archives: Social Innovation

June-July Updates

Things are moving along at PolicyPitch.com!

Among the biggest news, we were selected and honored by New Orleans City Business for The 2009 New Orleans Innovator of the Year!  We were selected as a top honoree from hundreds of submissions.   The final selection will be in late September.  We have our fingers crossed!

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Change the Web Challenge Finalists Announced! Winner to be selected April 28

As a strategic partner with Social Actions, Policypitch is excited about all of these amazing widgets and applications!  Which apps do you think could be of most use to enhancing the ideas on Policypitch?

NetSquared and Social Actions are proud to announce the Top 24 Finalists from the Change the Web Challenge…read more.

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Social Actions’ Change the Web Challenge

Our friends at Social Actions have worked long and hard putting together their Change the Web Challenge.  The contest, which began February 23, awards $5,000 to best web-based application created that makes use of the Social Actions open API.   Second and third place also receive $3,000 and $2,000 respectively.

Social Actions currently aggregates opportunities to make a difference from over 40 online platforms such as VolunteerMatch, Kiva.org, Policypitch.com, Idealist.org, and Change.org.   They are looking for applications that will share these opportunities to take action on the websites, blogs, and social networks that people visit each day.  Anyone got any ideas specific to Policypitch?  We’d love to hear em!

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Social Actions Round-Up #24: Government Enters Social Media for Social Change Movement

Originally posted by Peter Dietz and our friends at Social Actions on February 5, 2009.

As a child of the 80’s (okay, very late 70’s), I am used to government having very little (if any) involvement in technology driven initiatives (outside of the military), and certainly not technology for a purpose.

Enter the Obama Administration. Suddenly, there’s a Director of Citizen Participation and a Department of Social Innovation. Woah! This round-up just touches the surface: mentioning the appointment of a former Google executive to the Obama administration, highlighting the Utah senate’s use of social media, and drawing attention to the Republican party’s efforts to leverage crowdsourcing (Obama-style).

The effects of government ‘getting it’ are going to be huge. At Social Actions, we’ll be keeping an eye on how these stories develop.

Below is the Social Actions round-up covering the period January 21, 2009 to February 2, 2009.

News Roundup

Recent Discoveries

Social Actions News

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Web 2.0 has to have a purpose, says Al Gore

Al Gore spoke at the Web 2.0 summit in San Francisco on November 7, 2008.  He emphasized the necessity of the purpose driven web and the future of civic participation in shaping our nation’s policies.  Among other things, Gore discussed the internet’s “cloud” where information is stored, stating, “we have to have the truth — the inconvenient truth, forgive me — stored in the cloud so that people don’t have to rely on that process, and so we can respond to it collectively.”

More coverage from the New York Times:

Forget about swapping party pictures on Facebook and other “gee-whiz stuff,” says former Vice President Al Gore. “Web 2.0 has to have a purpose.”

And since it’s Al Gore, you know that purpose has got to be green.

“The purpose, I would urge all of you — as many of you as are willing to take it up — is to bring about a higher level of consciousness about our planet and the imminent danger and opportunity we face because of the radical transformation in the relationship between human beings and the Earth,” Mr. Gore said Friday evening at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

In other words, Web 2.0 should be used to fight global warming. He didn’t say exactly how, but that didn’t stop the audience from giving two standing ovations to the Oscar-winning movie director, venture capitalist, money manager, book author, cable television mogul and Nobel laureate.

Mr. Gore said that he feared that his advocacy work, spearheaded by his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” has not done its job. “I feel, in a sense, I’ve failed badly,” he said. “Because even though there’s a greater sense of awareness, there is not anything anywhere close to an appropriate sense of urgency. This is an existential threat.”

Mr. Gore called on President-elect Barack Obama to set a national goal of getting 100 percent of America’s electricity from renewable and non-carbon sources within a decade.

John F. Kennedy’s declaration that the nation would land a man on the moon in 10 years was thought to be impossible, but was achieved eight years later. The engineers who made it possible were an average age of 18 when President Kennedy issued the challenge, Mr. Gore said. “We need exactly that all over this country,” dedicated to reversing climate change, he said.

Mr. Obama has pledged to spend $150 billion over the next 10 years in clean energy. That is not enough, Mr. Gore said.

The nation needs to build “an electronet,” a unified national smart grid, with high-voltage, low-loss underground wires that deliver renewable energy from the places that produce it — like the sunny Arizona deserts or the windy Dakota plains — to the cities where the majority of it is used. Such a grid would require a $400 billion investment upfront, but would pay off in just over three years, he said, because the nation spends $120 billion annually on costs from power failures attributed to the existing grid.

In addition, the United States needs a national retrofit program to insulate homes and install new windows and light bulbs. Forty percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere comes from buildings, he said. Making these changes would not only save homeowners money but create 10 million new jobs, he said.

The Internet — specifically, the “cloud” where information is stored — also has a role to play, Mr. Gore said. “We have to have the truth — the inconvenient truth, forgive me — stored in the cloud so that people don’t have to rely on that process, and so we can respond to it collectively.”

(Photo Credit: Eric Risberg/AP)


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Armchair Revolutionary developing apps for crowdsourcing social change

Armchair Revolutionary develops software and related technologies for crowdsourcing, task management, and information management related to social change. The first app, Armrev1.0, will be launching Fall 2008.  Still in private Beta, no one is sure exactly how the process works.  The site lists current active areas for submission:

(a) Games for Change – Games for Change (also known as G4C) is a movement and community of practice dedicated to using computer and video games for social change. An individual video game may also be referred to as a “game for change” if it is produced by this community or shares its ideals.

(b) Synthetic Biology – Synthetic Biology includes the broad redefinition and expansion of biotechnology, with the ultimate goals of being able to design and build engineered biological systems that process information, manipulate chemicals, fabricate materials and structures, produce energy, provide food, and maintain and enhance human health and our environment.

(c) Secure Voting – software, technologies and methodologies for secure voting.

(d) Mobile Technologies – applications and technologies for enhanced organizing, communications, and service and information delivery on the world’s 3.5 billion mobile phones with an emphasis on the developing world.

(e) Innovative Educational Curriculums – software, technologies and methodologies for innovating education.

Check back here for more updates once it launches!

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$10,000,000 from Google for your ideas!

Do you have an idea that could improve the world?  Google is giving away $10M to up to five ideas that have the biggest impact on world change.  Submit your ideas by October 20th, 2008 to Google’s Project 10 to the 100th for a chance to win.

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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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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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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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