Kate Torgovnick May

writer, TED

This conversation is closed.

What would you do for the world with $1 million?

The TED Prize has entered a new chapter, with this year's winner receiving $1 million dollars to execute their one wish to inspire the world.

This has me thinking: what would you do for the world with the $1 million prize? Answer here and you may see yourself on the TED blog soon.

Want to nominate a mentor, colleague, friend or even yourself for the TED Prize? Nominations are open from now until August 31st at this website:

http://www.tedprize.org/

  • Aug 8 2012: Growing fresh produce on poorly utilized space in urban areas has always been a goal of mine. Rooftops specifically make up a large footprint in cities that could be used in small or big ways to help increase production of a variety of produce, manage runoff water, and establish a growing, green environment in cities. I would use a million dollars to fund a project to encourage green roofs in cities without them.
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      Aug 17 2012: Absolutely like the idea! Lots of Eastern European, Soviet block countries full of block housings with flat roofs which are only waterproofed instead of finding a better use of it. I would be revolutionary idea to food industry if people supported this. Those unused/remote/untouched urban areas could be used for this as well. The other problem here is the governments who are still old school and not seeing urban farming as possibility.
      • Aug 17 2012: Thanks for the comment, Tadas. I come at this project from the standpoint of a product designer, so my initial thoughts for a project like this are based around simplicity and modularity, but perhaps the solution is more of a system rather than a product. I wish I had more exposure to other urban areas throughout the world as there might be existing materials that could be easily translated into a method for realizing this idea. I recognize that my suggestion is a bit idealized, but to even take advantage of a small portion of rooftops on residential or commercial buildings could provide some fresh produce and greenery for otherwise overlooked space. The real question is how many people can $1M help?
  • Aug 8 2012: I would start a foundation to connect adults and children as young as 10 with mentorships in a wide variety of fields. These would involve actual work and would allow kids, especially, to explore several career paths when they are still very curious and flexible. Exposing people to a wide variety of professions will help them make more informed choices, as well as give them something to strive for. If a pre-teen very much enjoyed their experience in a genetics laboratory, they are much more likely to try very hard to reach that objective with science classes and an appropriate choice of higher education. To promote self-directed learning, allow low-risk career exploration and restore the cultural institution of the mentor-mentee relationship is the goal of the foundation.

    Hopefully the exposure of TED and the monetary infusion would allow this dream to become a reality, across the entire world.
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    Aug 21 2012: I would love to put a pencil and paper in the hand of every child and teach them how to read and write... When they can write their own name they begin to know how much they matter and that they can make a difference. I would start with orphanages and with girls. What kind of change could occur if they all knew how to read and write? Then let them teach each other how to read and write and how to plant and catch water... their own imaginations would take over and they would build a better world for themselves....
  • Aug 17 2012: I would start an after-school program in low-income areas that taught kids how to cook. Each day, we would cook a meal and a snack. The snack would be eaten while at the program. The meal would be enough to feed a family and would go home with the child. The family's immediate need for food would be met and the child would be taught skills they will need in the future - whether that is simply making healthy meals for their own family or moving into a job in a professional kitchen.
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      Aug 17 2012: Mary, I love this Idea. I've done some volenteer work at a food bank and one of the problems we constantly noticed was the number of people who didn't know what to do with a bag of dried beans or how to cook a roast. I would include adults in this kind of education.
      • Aug 17 2012: Thanks, Robert! I've worked with a farm that offers a CSA/Food Stamp program which includes cooking classes. But they have trouble raising interest. I think a Food Bank where people already understand the model would be a great place to teach both adults & children.
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    Aug 17 2012: While choices help us in business to make better decisions, This is one area where the overwhelming needs of so many diverts the emotional response to focus on alleviation. Too much money is spent on temporary alleviation and hardly any to build sustainable models and infrastructure that can sustain for years and help create self sufficiency away from the cities. One need not always be helping the poor and many times the desire to maximize geographical reach becomes a paradoxical waste as we see in almost all Government programs. A tough evaluation 2 years ago had recommended a very rightfully sceptical philanthropist to fund a not very poor couple running an NGO to get their own accomodation closer to their targetted beneficiaries, rather than use those funds for supporting some families for a year or so. This has thankfully proved to benefit many more people and hopefully forever because the NGO is now able to extend benefit to atleast 100 more families per annum because they have closer access, Lesser costs of travel, and more hours to dedicate and mentor to help their targetted families become self sufficient. For me the focus of usage for a million dollars would appear to be cruel as i would not want to allow emotion to spend it all on those desperate for a meal, but execute on a model that can sustain itself over years. Replication is the lowest cost way to multiply benefit, so developing more models will yield the highest returns. Billions of Government and global aid money is wasted on emotional alleviation and after decades we still do not have a NON URBAN economic development model for the few billion who are not in urban cities. This intellectual bankruptcy of our education and research which has convinced all our rural folk and sold them just one dream; To run away to the the city and accept a lower quality of life than find sustainable ways to improve within rural environments. They have anyway sent off their kids and are waiting for ?
  • Aug 8 2012: I've been thinking lately if I were to create a foundation what would it do to improve the world. I came across this question and thought I'd pen my idea.
    I feel that an education can greatly improve an individual as well as a community. I would like to create a foundation that provides a matching college/learning scholarship for students who work while they study. Having worked multiple jobs through college to keep student loans down I strongly feel that a large portion of my education came from my work experience.
    With a million dollars I would set up a scholarship matching program that students could apply for and they could earn a scholarship up to 50%* of their tuition by contributing the same amount of money from their own work study or summer internships (Not from other sources such as family gifts or other scholarships). Students would have to pay service fee of say 10% (I have not run the numbers--that's just for example) of the match back into the fund to help fund administration of the scholarship. So if a student wants to receive 50% of tuition paid they would need to earn 60% of tuition and pay 10% of the tuition back into the fund.

    In order to receive the scholarship students would have to participate in brief financial education.

    My goal with this approach is that students would leave college with more experience working, less student debt (they would have worked to pay off some of the debt, by working and studying they would have had less time to rack up debt, and with the scholarship they could focus more time on studying and maybe less time on finding multiple jobs to fund their learning.

    This fund would be for worldwide learning and not just for universities, if someone wanted to take a course in a trades like computer repair, they could qualify for the scholarship by working for part of the tuition themselves.

    After students are successful they'd be asked to give back to the program -similar to how universities ask alumni for donations
  • Aug 8 2012: I would create a venture with tablets Manufacturers (Apple, Samsung, etc.) to distribute x000s of iPad with satellite Internet connexion to remote villages in developing countries.
    I would educate one kid per village on how to use it (to avoid human and technical problems) so he can look-up any problem the village wants to solve: how to clean water, medical questions, etc… I would also stay with them for a while to study their interaction with the interface to optimize a UXUI for easier use.

    I would then create a social network among these villages not only to monitor their use and progress, but also for them to share and interact between first nations, and not only to consult occidental approaches.

    Who knows, they might create better venues among themselves than the ones we’ve invented...
    • Aug 9 2012: I love the idea! The "I will teach you how to catch the fish instead of giving you fish" approach is more realistic and more affordable for us in the long run.
      • Aug 9 2012: Yeah. I kinda like the idea... Mainly that we can still learn from them while we still can, before they forget by learning from us :)
    • Aug 10 2012: Satellite connections are prohibitively expensive.
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    Aug 8 2012: Build a micro-hydro with an in situ (Civil engineering) approach and connect it in smart micro grind that will be further connected to a bigger nation-regional grind selling and baying from the big bro to be efficient and make money for long term expansion on renewable energy production witch will generate more energy and jobs and money.starting with the micro-hydro is the most low tech and less money eating approach.close to $300k you have this stuff set up and it will give the money back in 6 - 8 years.the rest of the money are there for help if there is need for it.expansion earlier is a possibility.
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    Aug 8 2012: Create a small scale hydroponic system like www.verticalharvest.org to grow local food all over the place.
    this will reduce the dependency on other crops, weather related issues like droughts, and will provide local organic food year round to local communities.
    many small scale systems already exist, this would be used to automate the system and develop a process that can be reproduced world wide in any environment by anyone.
  • Aug 8 2012: With the money I would continue doing Research on Clean Space Energy Farms. I currently lack the resources and funds to look into this matter completely, I would love to see this concept of mine become a reality. With the help of professionals, I could learn if this is obtainable or just an illusion. However if it was to work I believe we could provide Clean Energy to majority of the world. Although the cost is High in the beginning it would pay off in the long run. Cheers.
  • Aug 8 2012: I would start a non-profit called Sound Foundation focused on affordable introductory vocational training for electronic music and media arts. The primary goal would be to enact structural change within the K-12 educational system by creating a program that produces self sustaining revenue and remove reliance on government assistance and private donations. The program would utilize instructional revenue to bring new technologies to school systems that are notoriously slow to adapt to modern methods, while at the same time producing job opportunities for emerging artists. The secondary goal would be to encourage participation in traditional music and arts programs. We currently operate different programs throughout Southern California focused on electronic music. With 1 million dollars I would expand the programs nationally and unify the direction and curriculum.
  • Aug 8 2012: Investment in developing world internet infrastructure that will allow children to connect, learn and communicate.
  • Aug 7 2012: I would probably donate it to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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    Aug 7 2012: I'd buy some of the toxic assets and burned them in my backyard!!! Awwww!!!
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      Aug 7 2012: Way to increase the value of the dollar! I see what you did thare
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      Aug 7 2012: Everything is relative. 1 MUSD; 100'000 families protected from Malaria by mosquito nets, 20 schools in Vietnam, it's 20'000 annual incomes in the poorest countries, enough micro-credit to start up 10'000 businesses in poor countries.

      Perhaps the 1MUSD could be used for those :o)
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          Aug 8 2012: Kate, well not all of it, one or the other. Though I'm willing to cut you a deal. If you buy the 100'000 bed nets, I'll throw in 4 schools. :o)
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    Lejan .

    • +1
    Aug 6 2012: pyramid-scheme micro credits for startups in economically underdeveloped countries

    Instead of interest rates the credit would only be granted with one obligation, so called 'instead rates' :o):

    Those who succeed and remain stable have to grant a micro credit themselfes under the same condition to help others, etc., etc., etc. ...
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      Aug 8 2012: bring the credits back with no interest in a very long schedule so every time a new amount is gathered you can give some credit to a new person and you'll have the potential at a point to delete a portion of older creditors reliving theme from the credit with less cost,for them.This of course based on the principal that the more stable one is the quicker he'll be relived from his credit.expanding is the goal so more can benefit ASAP
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        Lejan .

        • +1
        Aug 8 2012: There is no cost for the micro credit itself, no interest rate, and it is a long term loan if necessary.

        If the startup established on the market and gains a stable position, the loan is then to be returned in reasonable rates and without any interest rates. So you just return what you lend, not more. If the business remains stable within a moderate timeframe, and the owner was able to put some extra earnings aside, the only obligation in this 'micro credit deal' was to grand some of this earnings as a micro credit as well and for the same conditions for other people in need.

        This way micro credits without interest rates could slowly start 'reproducing' themselfs in the idea of 'help taken and given in return'.

        The original $ 1 million budged may shrink over time due to possible losses in failing startups. But if those who succeed are fulfilling their promises, the overall 'help' gained in this concept may stay the same or would even incease like a top-down pyramid-scheme.

        In any case, it was woth trying!

        Also there was no ASAP approach involved in this concept, as stability goes for urgent quantity here! It would just not make any sense to endanger a new founded business by forcing it to give out this loan in return, if its financial sitution would not be stabe.

        So slowly, yet steady the millstones grinds... :o)

        And with a bit of luck those loans may even form friendship in between the people involved, which would add a true value to the concept itself.
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          Aug 9 2012: this is an approach of stable progress and quit frankly better den mine.the ASAP is the view i have for most things.it would be preferably from my part to explain better and thoroughly my concept but i admit that i forgot the mane reason i was talking about,the humanitarian concept that you pout in it is the value itself
  • Aug 31 2012: I would reshape the creative minds of our youth that has been missing. independent children who focus's and strive for happiness beyond their selves. I would start a group organization that will teach and share ideas with children around the world. I truly believe our generation has been the dominant yet negative influence. From Media entertainment, articles(propaganda of terrorism), Teachings of division(rich and poor/Racism), and simply what truly defines happiness. I believe we all need to wake up and reach out to our youth. We simply forget the limits of our times and are easy to forget about the end(death). I would use the one million dollars to teach understandings far from education, and focus on the insights of world slavery, Natural disasters, Animal cruelty, and simply human health conditions. Would focus and deliver these problems to their attention, As I believe the children from half of the world truly live with joy. From teaching self respect, and self understanding, I believe this would generate love and understanding through one another. As the group of youth age with responsibilities, they would consider the absence of others needs to fully bring peace and equality through out the world.
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    Aug 31 2012: I'd use the money to fund a organization which inspires a human identity and sense of global patriotism, since most real issues exist at a global level and have no masses behind them, pushing, demanding, and ensuring their needs are met globally, and permanently.

    Riling up the human spirit and an identity of a global citizenry as a real living breathing thing, with both legal and political realities, has far reaching potential to address the problems we face today.
  • Aug 30 2012: I would like to help the current infrastructures that are currently in place to support the development of children (like schools) be better. Namely, I want to link these infrastructures with other community programs so that groups are able to focus on what they do best while still providing wrap-around support and services for children and teens. Having this level of coordination would provide kids with ideal environments for development and maintaining efficiency.
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    Aug 24 2012: The TED prize requires people with accomplished track record, which puts certain people at disadvantage, and does not quite promote the entrepreneurial spirit of TED, as I would like to believe it does.

    What if this TED plan was their main breakthrough? And they did not have any proven track record to wet the appetite and comfort of TED jury?
  • Aug 23 2012: I would seek further possibilities in games like foldit, using competetivness and gamers imaginery to solve complex problems. Alternatively, i would try to arrange game developers meetings with a purpose of making them introduce educational value on a higher level into their products, as gaming have became fully developed media, not only for kids.
  • Aug 20 2012: I would use it entirely to hire people for various jobs. If local people needed help with projects, it would be wonderful for the local econonmy to offer good paying jobs. Too many times help is looked at as a hand out...hand outs don't offer people confidence and pride the way a good job does.
  • Aug 19 2012: Walk up to first homeless person I met, Give them the money
  • Aug 18 2012: I'd buy out part of MTV and make 8-10pm documentary time with a bit of John Pilger for one hour and then someone aged 18-25 who is analytically and academically grappling with a work issue through documentary making with a live twitter or Facebook discussion happening whilst the programme is airing. The last half hour would invite the presenter back with a couple of field experts, a politician and a uni student/'young person' to bring up and discuss some of the points raised, raised and talked about via twitter or Facebook, 'cafe style'. Along with all the online users there would be a list of tangible things that could be done to move forward that are accessible to everyone - for example, suggestions for diret action through policy change for local and national politicians, action that can be implemented tomorrow by you and I, charities/NGOs names who are already working towards the changes discussed as well as further sites for information.

    Of course, Kim kardashian would be along for the ride... Can't completely revolutionise MTV too fast ... And I think it would be pretttttty funny!
  • Aug 18 2012: Develop the innovative NeuroKinetics Health Services medical expertise for drugless trauma and concussion treatment into computer algorithms, systems, and tools so that it can be more easily made available to the millions who need it. (www.neurokinetics.com) When you treat someone who is chronically ill, it helps not only that person, but also their family and support network.
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    Aug 18 2012: I would start a farm that run's on renewable energy. Then I would teach others (hands on) how to start a farm that run's on renewable energy. Then I would teach others how to teach others (hands on) how to start a farm that run's on renewable energy. Then I would give the $1,000,000 back.
  • Aug 17 2012: I would donate the money to further the non-profit organization The Venus Project's goal to render money itself, obsolete. That way I know that if we as humans were to ever consider having a tiny chance of surviving on this little planet and finally become civilized, we would have to declare all of Earths resources as the common heritage of all of the inhabitants, not just a select few. Not by force, but with education. And that is what The Venus Project is providing. The education. The blueprints of a better world. A world without money. A world where war, politics, poverty and human suffering is a thing of the past. A world in equilibrium.
  • Aug 17 2012: I would gather the crew that helped green the great Loess Plateau in China, the size of Denmark. In ten years they turned the desert into a rainforest. All done with the locals, grasroot, the only way a process can be controled and protected. I'd gather them if they're willing and take them to the next devastated area in the world, to do the same, doing it as many times as the money will last. Greening the plateau not only improved the lives of the locals, it stopped erosion which was the main cause of pollution and smog in the cities along the main river. The climate also changed, and the watter supply in the area is now at a constant high level. Greening devastated areas is the best thing we can do. It provides biodiversity, supports all kind of wildlife and can be of a great significance to future human generations.
  • Aug 17 2012: I'd like to invest the money in El Salvador (Centro America) to buy thousands of acres around the country in every community for plant millions of organic plants, fruits, vegetables and put on the market for free without a profit, every community will own acres near of they live and they will share part of his time to produce, cultivate, they will share with other communities part of what they have on hand so make that system balance,(refer to variety of vegetables in fruits, etc) Of course the families have the option to invest his time for have free healthy food or make a donation or just take it for free. Second, teach to all the people about how to eat right, how they can be healthy eating right, how to plant, care the plants, how to keep the seeds, put a descent food in the table of every family in my country. Make people feel they have a new opportunity to learn something that can help the community his families, his country, the world. Make a new agriculture system based on share without profit, without selfish making right for everyone.
  • Aug 17 2012: I think that I will design an organization that will make accessible health programs that insurance companies don’t apply because they consider not necessary but for a person do make a night and day difference like… reconstructive plastic surgeries and prosthesis.
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    Aug 17 2012: Turn it into two million then four million... Greed always starts with his kind of thought process... So what would i do for the world with one million dollars? The same things i am doing right now learning to be a millionaire...
  • Aug 17 2012: I would start a college fund for the average student, education is power.
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    Aug 17 2012: I would make a program to teach every individual how to be happy:-)
  • Aug 17 2012: I would use the $1 million TED prize to start a pilot program in a depressed area of the U.S., say Toledo, where I live, which would illustrate the value and necessity of a national service operation to be available for all U.S. citizens from age 17 to 21.
    The operation would start with total remediation: medical and dental treatments; educational catchup, physical fitness, personal counseling, basic skills for life (what used to be called home economics and shop). That would probably take a year. At the end, through various testing mechanisms, these young people would be steered into training programs to prepare them for the full range of careers and workplace opportunities.
    This initiative could well provide our country with a new generation ready and willing to move the U.S. ahead in a more balanced and ecologically-informed manner.
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    Aug 17 2012: I would open a Montessori school and offer the curriculum at a reduced rate with scholarships to families in financial need in the Northeast USA, the region where I call home. I would hire teachers with the most compassionate and over-flowing hearts who possess a true passion for the spirit of enlightened education, and then we would create an integrated learning environment in which students are encouraged to turn their minds"ON" rather than "OFF," assuring the genius and innovation of generations to come!
  • Aug 17 2012: It's estimated that 40% of youth homelessness is LGBT kids who have left or been thrown out of their homes. While working with some friends to help a kid in the USA, we found that there are limited resources, and worse, that they're not well publicised, linked to things like the suicide hotlines, Trevor Project, etc., and don't have the staff or funding to work with the number of kids impacted. My goal would be to support the groups like Albert Kennedy Trust and Ali Forney in the UK and US, and develop a coordinating capability that would be sustainable, and deliver not only housing but coordinate counseling, education and job training, with regional and local authorities.
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    Aug 17 2012: I would take inspirational Ted Talks to every country in the world especially to people that have no access to computers.
    Show them about leadership , innovation,creativity and then do streamings of this in every city.
    Education , education , education so human beings see that the world is changing and we must adapt to the new order.
    Remember there is a lot of difference between one culture and other . In some places we talk about stem cells and in another about people that have sanitation problems.
  • Aug 14 2012: I would use the money to create an open online communications platform (a web app that would be a mix between an internet forum and a social aggregator [like reddit]) to brainstorm and generate new ideas and crowd-source solutions to problems humanity faces and facilitate transparent collaborative action on the most effective and promising solutions, leveraging the huge cognitive surplus currently available in order to create a more desirable future for humanity.
  • Aug 10 2012: I like Jan-Bernd Pauli's micro credits for startups in economically underdeveloped countries, which allows people to help themselves.

    Looking at the numbers of people in third world countries one easily realises the need for more money to support more start-ups or humanitarian projects. :)

    Looking at the current financial system in probably all western countries you realise that all it takes
    to have more money to spread out is creating a real bank using the 1 million as initial reserve.
    After founding a real bank you are allowed to create more money out of nothing by giving out loans of up to 10 times more money than used to found it which is called fractional reserve banking.
    Giving that we are not aiming for profit like all the other commercial banks and we do not use any money taken from a central bank at any interest rate > 0, we are not forced to charged intrest as we use our own 1 million, so there is nothing that stops us from lending about 10x our money without charging intrest.

    I also like the implementation of the suggested 'instead rates', an obligation to grant at least one micro credit themselves under the same conditions to help others when the start-up business reached a stable financial situation.

    http://www.positivemoney.org.uk
    http://www.positivemoney.org.uk/2012/08/imf-backs-full-reserve-banking/
    • Aug 10 2012: I find that most occidental approaches to solve problems is money. This might be true in already developed countries (even if i doubt it), but we cannot simply duplicate our cultural ways of doing to all.
      Even if micro-credit is a proven venture (mainly when given to women, such in Africa), I think it can also be dangerous to always come back to micro-credit as THE solution when it comes to more global approach. Allowme explain my thoughts:

      Firstly, credit is prohibited by a lot of cultures-religions such as Muslim, the biggest population on earth. So right there, micro-credit is a discriminative approach.

      Secondly, in most of this civilizations the individuals that have access to foreign influence (credit, money, etc) are casts that already have the dominance in their community (and not always in a positive way). Access to money has also proven to create more problems then solutions (think Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.)

      Thirdly, but not the least, money (or credit) doesn't do much without knowledge. In the human world we live in, we now know that well intended people are often taken advantage of by more egoist-driven influences with another objective: money.

      So I think money is not the forefront tool to all global problems, human knowledge is...
      • Aug 11 2012: Knowledge transfer (in both / all directions) is most important,
        but I believe that many people here assume and know this has to happen
        and participate in the exchange of knowledge without thinking much about it...

        Micro-credit is seen as an effective solution because it is part of the philosphy to
        help people help thenselves. This help always includes some form of knowledge.

        Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.
        Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

        We know from Prof Herzberg that the motivation to help oneself
        (a result of training which created an ability) is not enough,
        but people also require the opportunity to act upon their ability (to fish).
        Here starts the impact of mirco finance as these loans avoid the trap
        of perpetually rising debt by not charging any intrest.

        I can imagine that the unfounded accumulation of wealth by creditors led to
        the prohibition of conventional credit in some of those cultures/religions
        which were/are more future-oriented...
  • Aug 9 2012: Stop the waste in time and energy around trash collecting mostly empty bins! I'd use $1MM to collect the best and brightest in the field of trash collection to build a 'Nudge' based system to prevent garbage collection where the bins are mostly empty.
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    Aug 9 2012: Give 1,000 aid workers (local and international, cleaner to country director) a social change investment fund of US$1,000, over which they have total personal discretion.
    Task each of us to find an “under-the-radar” grassroots organization, leader, or initiative worthy of support. The only stipulation is that as fund managers we must find a group that has been in existence for at least three years and has never received international assistance. (With estimates of grassroots organizations around the world at four million, this will not be as hard as it sounds.) Only one-page proposals and reports allowed.
    Aid workers spend plenty of our time in budgets and logical frameworks. What will happen if we have total freedom to break the rules…take a risk!?! During the year, the fund managers will be tasked to just have fun! We must find a person, an organization, or an idea that inspires us. We can learn more about a topic of interest. Our mandate will be to tap into the enthusiasm that drew us into this work in the first place.
    At the end of one year, the fund managers in every organization get together and share what we’ve learned through facilitated and documented reflection exercises. We distill good practices and actionable insights about what is required to unleash the potential of grassroots leaders and movements. We will let the truth hang out. We will admit that some investments didn’t go as planned.
    We will let that be okay.
    If we are serious about “flipping the aid system” to put more local and national actors in the driver’s seat of development, we have to let go and learn in myriad different ways. These investment funds could help us release the “pressure” of bringing about large-scale impact in order to more deeply understand the local processes that bring about change. If we’re forced to think micro, we may actually build a more inclusive discourse on aid that changes our understanding of what we value (local ownership) and what we measure (social change).
  • Aug 9 2012: I would spend half of it to identify children forced to child labour in India and help them get into school... another part would be to build a crowd funding platform to fund medical requirements of the ones who cannot afford it otherwise.. nothing is more shameful in being human than to see another fellow dying only because he/she cannot afford the right treatment..
  • Aug 9 2012: How many families suffer from one person being addicted to some form of drugs?
    I'd invest the money to create a big think tank of people from around the globe in order to come up with an actionable solution of how to prevent the abuse of drugs which may be a cause for so many other harms and problems. One can't find real love in alcohol, nicotine, heroine etc.!!! How much money is being wasted in drugs that could be spent for learning/education, good start ups, food for the poor etc.???
  • Aug 9 2012: Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined. I'd invest that money on farming and animal husbandry in poor countries. which would provide jobs and cheap food for the poor and hungry people. since you can't eradicate world hunger with only $1M, I'd put all the effort on growing the business. hopefully after some 100 years the business would be big enough to eliminate world hunger.
  • Aug 8 2012: I would develop an online math program for people wanting to go back to community college to get new job skills in the US. Math is one of the biggest reasons people drop out of community college and it is holding back people being able to shift careers during the recession. Ideally the program would be called “Math In Real Life” and it would teach real-life application of math as well as giving them skills to pass the courses they are taking.
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    Aug 8 2012: Hard one because you could benefit plenty in a small way or benefit a few in a larger way.
    But if we want to go for the broadest and longest term effect, I would set up 20 $50,000 scholarships for the brightest kids that plan on going into the field of science.
    Start training our next generation to propel us forward and not to learn how to make great web pages or use an auto-tuner so they can be the next flavor of the month.
    But the ones that will have the best chance to benefit humanity as a whole.

    And if my faith in humanity continues to wane, I would spend the entire amount on the benefit of no kills shelters for cats and dogs.
  • Aug 8 2012: Start a grass roots org. to teach people survival skills they will need in a Global Warmed world. Key word here is survival.
    By the way: After taxes you'd be lucky to buy a Big Mac & fries with your winnings.
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    Aug 8 2012: start an organisation which helps people to fulfill their dreams!!!
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    Aug 7 2012: Il go to sudan and feed needy people
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    Aug 7 2012: pay tax
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    Aug 7 2012: Ondo State children's Home in South West Nigeria is an orphanage with hundreds of children who have access to education till High school grade; some of the children may not be able to go to the university if they are still not adopted at age 18(which is usually the case).
    With A million dollars I would start a scheme that ensures that university education is possible for the children.
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    Aug 7 2012: Hi again Robert Winner and everyone else. I have recently had some wonderful conversations on TED with James Zhang and Debra Smith amongst others. Personally I am very grateful for this forum and the opportunity to discuss some of my ideas. If such a prize were offered I think the best use is in burseries for people disadvantaged in real time from continuing their studies. I am certain it is in the combination of research and actual lived experience that a person is best able to synthesise their knowledge and information. I have had conversations about what makes a person better than a person-machine hybrid, about what might get in the way of a person fulfilling their potential and delivering useful research to the world. As you may be aware there are so many opportunities to get lost on the way and it is such a waste. I believe burseries should support a second chance, for young people whose hormones or family circumstances got in the way of learning, for older women who decided to have children first for whatever reason and for disabled people, if only to get them the technology so they can speak and be heard. Cats and bees are a huge inspiration for me, sometimes we need cats rather than dogs. I like the artefacts that remain from Ancient Eygpt because of the actions of cats. I like the way we have access to spiritual texts that tell us more. I like debating the structures of societies, celebrating the potential while reflecting on the cost. My heroes are Einstein, Churchill, Ghandi and Hawking. Perhaps these could be the structure for a bursery. Am going to put my two black and white moggies as my profile picture but I always have in mind the colours of the rainbow when it comes to people. I intend to use my conversations to talk to my own university tutor about evidencing for talking therapies. In real time I am trying to support my own community. Support the tree of knowledge so the fruit is not toxic and the global community in the real world
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    Aug 7 2012: Invest into wealth to help the greater population.
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    Aug 7 2012: Get invoved in microeconomics ... spend it in the local area.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Aug 7 2012: Stack all the money on top of each other.
    Then we would need some fireworks.
    I like the TNT Big bomb jumbo crackers and their PYRO SPECTACULAR
    Then we would us some gasoline.
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    Aug 6 2012: I would probably speak to my favourite TED talkers and ask them first. I would certainly divide it among several causes that they identified.
  • Aug 6 2012: I think I would use the big number to teach children how to manage money and invest in a high school level personal finance class.

    Take the Million dollars and work with some financial planners to use several different types of investments such as savings bonds, stocks, municipal bonds, utility stocks, savings accounts, CDs, and similar common investments. Post the financial planner's strategy online and set up some sort of game where the kids did research into how the investment strategy will work. Let them come up with a plan and see how they do against the expert.

    Give every child a stake in the earnings. Split the earnings among participants, but make the split based on successful prediction of personal finance over the course of the school year, successful marketing strategies found, and development of financial savvy. Reuse the million dollars for the next year's class.

    Teach them to predict their living expenses, income, taxes, inflation, insurance needs, education funding needs, and all similar personal finance items. Teach them to understand the basics of each investment.

    Teach them how to decide if college is a worthwhile investment based on career goals.

    Get them to learn how companies invest and make their money, the risks involved in investing, fees, hidden costs, scams perpetrated by crooks, insurance and similar financial items.

    Get them to understand how to put together a proposal for getting a loan to start a business.

    Get them to understand credit card debt and deferred gratification.

    Get them to understand 401K, retirement plans, and making a plan that leads to financial success.

    Get them to understand the rewards and consequences associate with life's top 20 financial decisions.

    Greed, fear of bankruptcy, and desire for financial security might motivate kids to take control of their finances, understand financial risk, perhaps learn how to responsibly realize the funding for their dreams.

    Use the million dollars as bait!
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    Aug 6 2012: I would spend it.
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    Aug 6 2012: This topic sounds very familiar... lol
    http://www.ted.com/conversations/13062/if_you_had_1_million_what_wo.html

    But I had no idea TED did something like this...
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      Aug 6 2012: The emphasis here is 'for the world'.

      So no Ferrari's, Lamborghini's and Veyron's allowed... ;o)
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        Aug 6 2012: Unless getting those material things can somehow indirectly help the world... somehow...
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        Aug 7 2012: Well... what if it was your intention... >_> lol

        It was your intention to buy a bunch of ferraris for the sake of world peace, and you realize it relates to that good cause in some way...
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        Aug 7 2012: lol someone's gotta do it for the sake of humanity ;)
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          Aug 7 2012: All right then, savers of the world, just don't get to much speeding tickets... :o)
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        Aug 7 2012: lol