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Community driven website that links together the best ideas, the best workers and required financing

I'm a web designer. This is an idea about a community driven website. If people are given the right tools, anything can be done.

There are problems in the world that need to be fixed, and improvements that can be made. You can call this "the mother of all improvement projects". Its like a much more advanced version of this TED website. The basis of the project is simple:

1. There are people in this world who are good in generating good ideas for solving various problems in society.

2. There are people who are willing to work to implement those ideas for money, or for personal satisfaction.

3. There are people who are rich and are willing to finance these ideas.

The web project would link these three elements. The best ideas will get "upvoted", improved and prioritized. The best workers will get the best feedback. Rich people can then decide which projects they want to finance.

The scope is limitless and can apply anywhere in the world from rich upper-class neighborhoods in developed countries to villages in Africa. Examples of problems: Reducing corruption in a government, improving laws, reducing crime, implementing other sub-projects, big or small, that make society better.

Why would this work? One examples of a community driven website is Reddit. The best/most amusing/interesting internet links/images/stories are "upvoted" to appear on their front page. Its a very popular website with a traffic rank of 130 in Alexa.
Other examples: Comments on Yahoo news article. The best comments get upvoted to the top. Another example is an internet search engine. The best websites for a certain term are ranked higher.

The success of a project depends on the belief we have in it and for me it is very strong. My goal is to get ideas and find a group of like-minded people to start working on this project.
I thought TED is a good place to come and get an initial response to this.

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  • Feb 26 2013: Hi Tao, I had exactly the same idea a couple of days ago when I was looking for an efficient reality check for another idea I had. And looking for some kind of idea bank only brought me to crowdfunding sites and conversation sites like TED. What I'm missing in either of these sites is a streamlined process from idea to project. Crowdfunding sites assume you've already worked out the project and you're just looking for funding. Conversation sites on the other hand just focus on talking about the idea, leaving you clueless on how to continue with it.

    Combing the concepts from sites like Kickstarter, Cuusoo and Stackoverflow would make a very powerful platform for turning ideas into something real.
    • Feb 27 2013: hi Stijn, you've said what I had on my mind. You're exactly right: These other projects are bits and pieces of what we want but not the whole.
      To make a project that we're thinking, this kind of website would have to be able to evolve very fast technically and would have a lot of features to link up the three elements (ideas, workforce and financing).

      Yea. I need to study these other bits and pieces and get ideas from them to make our own concept. I would then want to look for volunteer programmers and website builders to make this a reality.
      The concept of "idea/workforce" also will apply to the website itself so it can keep improving.
      There are many Internet related volunteer projects. One example is Firefox, which is free and is the result of hard-working volunteer IT folks.

      I feel this project is about the only useful thing I can do with my life, considering how short our lives are and the typical long-term impact the average person leaves on the world after they're gone.

      The idea about this project came to me slowly after I would think about what I could do with my life.
      Ideas are easy to find or think about. Successful implementation is the actual challenge.

      Any other thoughts you have on this that you'd like to share?
      • Feb 27 2013: The idea is still growing in my mind, but I'll share my thoughts so far. I like the concept of staging ideas as on Cuusoo. But the guidance is missing and I totally don't like the fact that you lose ownership of the idea.

        Presenting the idea is the first stage. Emphasis in the presentation stage is on guiding you on how to express your idea, with a good headline, visual footage and the right tags. Senior members can help you clarify your idea. They can also assist you on presenting it in a way that it will receive the attention it deserves. Stackoverflow has a similar system for questions. The goal of the first stage is to brainstorm about approaches and attract participants. The result of the first stage is a set of different opinions and a list of potential participants.

        The next stage is about formalizing the idea. Approaches are discussed on video chat or in real life. High bandwidth communication (real life being the highest possible bandwidth) is of paramount importance here to get the details right. Participants vote on which approaches they like the best. Then they choose whether or not to commit on the idea based on the chosen approach. The result of the second stage is a final approach and a list of committed participants.

        The third stage is prototyping. Participants create a prototype of the idea that demonstrates how the real thing will be. People interested in the idea can give their feedback on the prototype. Then the prototype can be improved in a few iterations, each time taking feedback into account from the previous prototype. At the same time, the prototyping stage should give insight in how to market, sell, distribute, etc. Not sure how that will be done, since I have little experience in this area. The result of this stage is a very clear concept of the real thing.

        Anyway, I'm out of characters and inspiration for now. I'll sleep on it and come back with some more thoughts tomorrow! :-)
        • Feb 28 2013: Cuusoo, this lego building website? I see. Yea, this is a basic version of an "idea upvoting" system - thanks for the link. Someone suggests an idea and it gets upvoted.
          Could there be a more complex version? Maybe, I haven't thought about it. Our website's goal of suggesting ideas will also apply to itself, so it can keep improving.
          A more complex version could be where teams can work together on constantly evolving ideas instead of just one person.

          >> I totally don't like the fact that you lose ownership of the idea.

          For our purpose its ok to lose ownership because we're solving problems.
          But say, if someone suggests an idea for a commercial purpose? Yes, then ownership is an issue to talk about.
          You're perfectly right in your second paragraph. What you have said is great, yes this is how it has to start. You've given good examples of how they're doing it.
          I have talked to someone about suggesting a name, for example "Community driven problem solving".

          What you have said is the easy part. Here's one problem: Some people are more rational/logical than others. Some people are emotional and irrational.
          A perfectly funny picture in Reddit may get 10,000 downvotes and 15,000 upvotes. The net difference is 5000 and it goes on their front page but still, 10,000 people downvoted it. This means that many people opposed a certain idea - with no reason (emotional/irrational reason).

          We can think about some real life examples of the kinds of problems that approached by this system. Here's a difficult problem: (1) Taliban killing girls who go to school.
          Solution: How do we make it so they are not afraid anymore and everyone goes to school? Yes its a tough issue but the problem can be broken down.

          Would a simple voting system like we talked about be able to keep bad people from stopping progress? Maybe.
          Or maybe we should start with examples of simpler problems first.
          Oh yea, out of char here as well, this thing runs out fast. I will write another post.
        • Feb 28 2013: My 2nd post for continuation. I think, for now we need to find a better platform than TED. I dont like this discussion forum. It has no features that forums of nowadays have. The typing/input font is too small as well (for no reason at all; another problem that our problem solving website should/would be able to fix).

          Is there any other place we can go to talk about this? Maybe one of the websites/links posted by you and Frit has a better forum.
          The people on the forum should be be able to understand what we're saying, like everyone on this thread has.

          After we talk to more like-minded people, we would confirm that indeed nothing exists like what we want. We would solidify the proposal for our organization. And then propose a temporary organization name. We will get the domain for that and install or arrange a forum and we will start working on it.

          Anyway. Yea, I think we need to move this discussion to a better forum first (step 1). We need to find more people like ourselves to have an initial discussion among a larger group.

          I do look forward to reading the continuation of your post! We will take these discussions to our next location, where ever it will be.
          If it doesn't exist, we will make a "free" forum ourselves, one way or the other and attract more people.
          I am severely intellectually handicapped due to sleep issues and my brain doesnt work well. We need to find more people like you. I feel both of us understand this project and as you said, you were looking for this same thing, that makes you valuable for this project (even if just for discussion).
      • Feb 28 2013: Agreed, we should take this conversation to another platform. I can't even directly reply to your reply about, probably because the column would become too narrow.

        The only other forum I found where ideas can be discussed out in the open is http://www.creativitypool.com/forums.php

        But I don't see much valuable feedback on the ideas there. The last thing I want is more "Hey you have Creativity Pool, why would you want anything else?" or "This idea is stupid" type of comments.

        So I suggest using a free forum. Apparently, http://ideas.freeforums.org wasn't taken. So I took the liberty to register it.

        Edit: It suddenly sprung into my mind that many people I know share ideas through Google+. I think a Google+ page would be a good alternative.
        • Mar 5 2013: hi Stijn, so I made a username at that forum you made. Please make me admin and I can make a forum called "Introductions". (optional section)
          http://ideas.freeforums.org/
          I havent used Google plus before. Will it useful if I make an account there? I wont have any connections there as I will be new.
          I get lazy on the weekends but I did get some stuff done except for this TED stuff, hence the delay.

          Instead of replying to this, could you make a new post on the top of this thread? So it will "reset" the indenting.

          There are many "next" steps to do. Another step can be to create a "wiki" website where we can start creating some kind of introduction to the site. Do you have any recommendations on what kind of wiki to use?
          I think the wiki will be useful in working together on creating missions, descriptions of the project.

          We want to create a good, initial definition of the project. We will do some basic foundational work to start it off. Then when we think we're satisfied with what we have, we can look at all the other sites in this thread and see if they have forums. We can even invite people from TED. We will want people to come and give ideas and then we'll search for web/IT volunteers to work on this after our ideas have been solidified by the group. Assuming we will reach that stage! lol.
          We have to make a start somewhere. Our will (willpower and belief) will carry us through. I believe that is the only thing that is needed for success in anything.
          The forum you made will be our first temporary place to get together.

          So in summary, kindly make me a forum admin and let me know your thoughts on a wiki. Also let me know if I should make a Google plus account.
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    Feb 25 2013: Here is a lead with crowdfunding sites for social entrepreneurs: http://www.forbes.com/sites/devinthorpe/2012/09/10/eight-crowdfunding-sites-for-social-entrepreneurs/

    And here is a social innovation tournament: http://www.linkedin.com/groups/INVITATION-First-EIB-Social-Innovation-4654977.S.188258332 You will find lots of stuff once you start looking.
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    Feb 26 2013: In certain parts of the world, the issue of internet connectivity would have to be addressed first, before this idea would work.
    In certain communities, people are more comfortable with face-to-face interaction and physical community gatherings than the online thing. As it has always been in the world, the diffusion of ideas from one place to another also involves the metamorphosis of such, so as to adapt it to the new culture or location.
    These things would work if it is not build on an assumption that one community is, or has to be, like another community.
    • Feb 27 2013: hi Feyisayo, you're right there needs to be internet access for those locations. I just checked and only 35% of the world has access to it. Many regions in Africa and Asia dont have access. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:InternetPenetrationWorldMap.svg
      If this project is successful, those regions will have more incentive to get internet access somehow.
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    Feb 25 2013: This might interest you as well: https://strikingpoverty.worldbank.org/problems
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    Feb 25 2013: I would first check what is already available of this kind, if you have not yet done that. The idea is suggested so often even here that I wonder whether some of those who have recommended it as well as others who haven't are at various stages of implementation.
  • Mar 12 2013: This topic will close automatically in about two weeks (forum does not allow extension). If anyone is interested and wants to write to me, my email is taoronz1 AT gmail dot com. Stijn's email is listed in one of the posts below.
  • Mar 6 2013: Damn, I'm getting forgetful. Well, actually I've been forgetful for as long as I can remember, if I haven't forgotten, that is.

    All joking aside, here's a company that apparently I was following on Twitter: http://www.springwise.com/

    Looks like what may be the closest thing to what you're looking for.
  • Mar 6 2013: I have an old Google code project that you can toy with. But I need to know your Gmail address in order to add you to the project. You can send me a mail at stijnvanbael(a)gmail.com

    Alternatively you can create one of your own, or set up a Github project. SourceForge needs a little more work to set up.

    I also created a Google+ page to experiment with. I also need your e-mail address to let you experiment with it though.
  • Mar 5 2013: I've made you administrator on the forum.

    As for Google+, the interface is easier to use than a forum, especially the admin part. Sharing is very easy and if you already have a Google account, you don't have the threshold of registering as a forum user. Facebook could work just as well, but I personally prefer Google+ since it's cleaner and discussions generally tend to be more serious there. I like the hangouts too. It's the easiest and cheapest (=free) way I know to do group video chat. I suggest you try Google+ and see whether you like it or not.

    We could use a wiki that is linked to a social coding platform like Github, SourceForge or Google Code. It is a developer oriented approach, but it has the advantage of having everything in one place.

    And I know, I'm starting to sound like a Google salesperson now, but I would also suggest Google Docs for visualizing concepts quickly. Microsoft has a similar service, Office 365, but is a commercial product.
    • Mar 6 2013: Cool thanks. I'll make a Google account and let you know.
    • Mar 6 2013: I like Google+ plus more than Facebook myself (although never used g+ and I'm a very limited user of Facebook)
      I made the account and added you in Google+. Not sure what to do next. Let me know.
      I hate using my real name on the internet, if I dont have to and but I may declare my real name at some point. I I guess it doesn't matter that much at this point.

      Do you know of a real demo/example of a wiki that we can use, or setup like you setup the forum (with no coding required, just a setup)? I will follow your suggestions about Google docs and anything else that you have.
      We can keep the forum you made for the moment we need it.

      Video chat sounds like a great idea. We can do that anytime also and I think it will be helpful in solidifying our connection to this project and so on.
  • Mar 1 2013: Oh yea I dont like that forum too. For one, the header is too big and we have to scroll down. Thanks for making that forum! We will work on it to create some headers/sections in the forum, and then go to these other forums to look for people who want to join us. We dont need too many people to start this, just a few good, or as many as we can get. Its ok either way.
    Thanks for evaluating that Creativity Pool forum.

    I'll make a Google plus page and will let you know. I havent used Google plus before.
    One section I was thinking of for our forum is "Bios" where we can talk (would be optional) about our biography, how we got interested in this project, what drives us to think about it and want to see it succeed. This can go at the bottom of all the other future forums. We will see.

    You know I have one thing and that is stubborn optimism and the belief that a solution exists to most (if not every) problem and I'm committed to this project.
    I will register there as well.
    thanks
  • Feb 26 2013: Thanks so much, that gives me a great start. I didn't know what to search for. This is a great help.
    I've now seen all the links you mentioned. My next step is (or has to be) to research these websites in detail and maybe use some of them to start this project, or to contact like minded people on those sites and here after I've worked on this more a little bit.
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      Feb 26 2013: Tao, I spent five minutes looking for a few things. These sites are not unique, i am sure.

      Do a thorough search of your own. Good luck to you.
  • Feb 25 2013: Thanks. That's good news. I want to know what else is out there about this.
    Do you know how I can find these existing ideas or people, or what I could search for to find them?
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      Feb 25 2013: I'd just do an internet search using keywords. Try things like Idea Bank, Idea exchange... OpenIDEO, Human-centered design, social entrepreneur network..., innovation bank...