The third Social Innovation Camp (SICamp) was held last weekend at Glasgow Caledonian University. 60 people from across the UK (and Europe) gathered to help turn ideas into reality. Six back-of-the-envelope ideas for web tools that would make a positive difference to the real world had been previously chosen out of 133 applicants. The six chosen ideas, which included an online public planning tool (think google maps meets sim city!) and a website which enables flash-mobbing for social good, were taken on by a group of people with an amazingly diverse range of skills, from hardcore coders to services designers and interaction specialists.
Diversity, in fact, proved to be the aspect of this gathering that made it such an enjoyable and productive experience. Without exception all the ideas started off as rough concepts at 9am on Saturday and by the time we presented to the judging panel at 2pm the next day, every site was online. But not just that, one team who were working on a web tool which gives live bus information via txt message had a fully functioning demo. And the flash mob team (FlockLocal) actually arranged for a group of people to turn up to a communal garden in Glasgow and spend an hour fixing it up! Its incredible what can happen when a group of motivated people with a wide skill set focus on a defined problem, in fact the whole weekend had the feel of a FlockLocal-style flash mob, with lunch and dinner announced on twitter and the fantastic support crew from Gladserve running from team to team with the latest server news.
Each team was not only tasked with building a site, but also with defining the need, creating a sustainable business model, designing the site to work within the user’s needs and then putting together a presentation to show it off.
I worked with a fantastic group of people on a website which fosters and supports meaningful dialogue between local communities and the police which serve them. Named MyPolice, the site allows the public to share their experiences of the Police and allows the Police to respond, either individually or on more general topics. By encouraging people to talk more openly about both good and bad aspects of the policing service they receive we hope the site will be of true value to the Police, the public and support services.
At the end of the weekend MyPolice was awarded the idea with the most potential by the panel of judges and we have been given a range of business and technical support as prizes so keep an eye out for MyPolice.org!
For more information on the weekend, have a look at SICamp, but also check out the individual project pages:
- Citipedia: A platform for locating, tagging and commenting on future use of public space.
- FlockLocal: The site matches short-term volunteers with one-off activities. From cleaning a garage to painting a shelter, Flock Local makes it easy for you to get involved and help make a quick difference in your community.
- AngelFish: A platform for individuals to provide small loans, in-kind support and advice to small businesses by creating an online/offline community of ‘makers’ (those receiving advice and financial backing) and ’supporters’ (those who are giving advice or financial backing).
- WeeDayOut: A site which pinpoints accessible toilets and shows the facilities they have. And if you know where a loo should be, you can add a gap to the map too.
- Hitch’n’Bitch: All about making buses easier to use. On the ‘hitch’ portion of the site you input where you’re going from together with the route you want to take and the site tells you when your next bus is due in real time. The ‘bitch’ section of the site asks you where you’re traveling to and lets you post feedback about the bus – whether it’s late, over-crowded or unclean.
- MyPolice: A tool for members of the public to give feedback, express thanks or tell their story about their experiences with the police and offer suggestions for improvements. It’s Patient Opinion for the police service.