Mariah (McMillian) Bohannon

Social Entrepreneur, MicroAlly

This conversation is closed.

A liaison service that sends suggestions from the general public to creative problem solvers who can directly provide effective solutions.

Ideas and suggestions are collected from the general public. Because they are the ones living with their issues, they are the ones who know best what they need.

Innovators can then come together to create and deliver solutions that make sense to those potentially affected. These innovators may very well be a part of the affected community.

By working together in hands-on, short-term projects, the innovators can take advantage of self-directed learning through the use of shared life experiences, books, internet research, or training programs.

The leader/liaison relays messages between the public and the innovators to keep project teams focused on their predetermined goals.

The overall goal is to fund as many projects as needed to solve the real world issues faced in communities around the world. Since the public decides what will work for them by funding the projects collectively, naturally they won’t be motivated to buy into what they don’t need. Therefore, success is measured by the number of successfully funded projects and the number of voices heard from the general public.

The outcome is a win-win relationship that allows innovators to earn an honorable income while giving a voice to those without the means to create what they want and need in everyday life.

  • thumb
    Jul 28 2012: You might be interested in looking at what IDEO is doing in two separate projects. One is OPenIDEO, where agencies pose problems and the community jumps in to share ideas and to craft solutions which are then evaluated by the community and the most effective showcased. The models designed by the community are open for adoption and funding in any location where the problem exists.

    Another is the Human Centered Design community, which goes to those affected by a problem to learn and to craft solutions collaborately with those who are affected.

    I am a member of both communities and applaud them particularly for their collaborative approach to design and evaluation of potential solutions. These are what I have sometimes heard called "pirate projects" in contrast to pilot projects, in the sense that they are less pre-tested and there is an expectation of tinkering along the way rather than necessarily staying true to specifications.
  • thumb
    Jul 29 2012: Wow, this is a great idea! This has address a large problem, the fact that scientist do not work together any more because everything has been privitized, and created an effective solution.

    I myself am working on a project that would find peoples' passion through good, reliable knowledge and in turn stirring that passion into constructive action. Maybe we could collaborate. Please if you are intereste, do not hesitate to contact me through my ted profile!
  • thumb
    Jul 28 2012: Thanks so much for sharing this with me Fritzie. I cant believe I hadn't found them before. Of course, I can't believe I hadn't heard of before now. I'll check them both out. I'd like to see more collaboration of this nature.
    • thumb
      Jul 28 2012: I am glad to be of help, Mariah. I will be interested in your impressions.
      • thumb
        Jul 28 2012: Fritzie, I looked over both sites and I have mixed feelings about both.

        Let's start with OpenIDEO. Correct me if I misunderstand, but they provide a platform that allows creative thinkers to provide ideas for presented social challenges. That's a great idea because effective ideas stem from collaborative brainstorming.

        On the down side, they only accept challenges or problems from paying organizations. That's understandable if there are costs of presenting ideas to the network but it makes me think. Are the challenges just marketing ploys of the paying organizations or are they something people really need a solution to? (p.s. some "homeless" people are happy with that)

        By design alone, the site alienates those who don't have access to computers since you have to sign up to share your ideas. Everyone's perspectives are important to effective solutions, even people without computers.

        In all, I think this is a great opportunity for people who enjoy volunteering their time and have the means to participate online.

        As for the Institute for Human Centered Design, they are doing a great service to those who go unheard due to lack of access. I do like the fact that they allow students to design the accessiblity features though. It gives them a chance to grow personally and professionally.

        The downfall I see here is that they depend on companies to step up and want to make their businesses accessible. Most companies are focused on their bottom line so it may be a rare ocassion that this actually happens. I think their goals would be best suited to working directly with those who lack accessibility options, the companies who need to offer those options, and the government to enforce cooperation. Overall, it's pretty cool though.
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2012: Do they accept challenges only from paying organizations?
      • thumb
        Jul 28 2012: These quotes are pulled from their site:

        "How do you decide on the challenges?
        We’re always looking for new challenges for We’re looking to work with organizations that would like to address problems for the social good. Please get in touch if you have an idea"

        "Who can post challenges?
        Organisations or individuals can sponsor a design challenge, as long as it’s for social or environmental good. All OpenIDEO challenges require financial sponsorship to help underwrite our own costs associated with managing the challenge and providing tech and community support. Do you have a challenge idea?"

        It says individuals can sponsor a design challenge. Don't know if that means they can submit one too...
        • thumb
          Jul 28 2012: You are right, now I see, that financial support is required.

          And I understand why. The IDEO staff do provide analytical support to guide people to think carefully through their designs and steer people with complementary designs to link them.

          I think most of the challenges are legitimate problems in multiple locations. I know people take the ideas and run with them in the locations where they live.
      • thumb
        Jul 28 2012: If the organizations are ligitimately offerng challenges to the network, then I see nothing wrong with this online platform. If fact, I'm still considering becoming a member. There is promise in a program of this magnitude. Thanks again for sharing the links, Fritzie.
  • Jul 27 2012: Sounds a lot like this TED website! The tricky part is the "funding" part. Perhaps some altruistic web advertisers could help...
    • thumb
      Jul 27 2012: Thanks for replying Andrew. I was hoping that I could create a more personal approach to this project. If it needs to become a commercial entity, then I'm willing to adapt. However, I was thinking more along the lines of having the individual projects crowdfunded by those directly affected. The need for funding should take care of itself.

      My first obstacle, as far as I can see, is collecting the suggestions of the general public and finding out what they really need first. Then I will be able to pull in the necessary problem solvers to develop a solution that the general public will be willing to crowdfund collectively.

      Does that make sense? Thanks for helping me find holes in this idea.