Peter Corbett @corbett3000

Smarter Better Faster Cheaper

Citizen Driven Idea Sourcing & Needs Matching

The purpose of this session is to discuss the ideal technical implementation and user experience for an Idea & Problem Sourcing Platform that would enable citizens to submit insights into how to make their neighborhood, city, state or country better. Ideas would come to life and needs would be met through an integrated Needs and Provider Matching System

Starting Point

An Innovation Contest

Let’s start with what we learned through the process of creating and running Apps for Democracy for Vivek Kundra and the Office of the Chief Technology Officer of DC

Vivek Kundra, CTO of DC needed a way to make DC’s open Data Catalog useful for citizens, visitors, businesses and government employees.

The Old Way
Few million bucks Couple years Crappy product you know... the way it’s done now


The New Way Open Data/Source + Citizen Talent 2.0 + Fame and Fortune = ?

The New Way

Proposal in 2 days Purchase order in 3 weeks Campaign launched in 6 days

Use a Data Feed Release Your App Open Source

Two Rules

DC Data Catalog

Fame and Fortune

47 web, iphone, & facebook apps $2,600,000+ EST Value $50,000 in cost +5000% ROI


* Marinas near you * Libraries near you * Gas stations near you * Banks near you * Hotels near you * Construction projects near you * Embassies near you * Places of worship near you * Vacant properties near you * Building permits pulled near you * Crime alerts near you * Post offices near you * Housing code violations near you * Police stations near you

Apps for Democracy worked well, but...

1. Open Data 2. Gov Sponsorship 3. Contest Framework 4. Launch and Run 5. Award

...There seem to be some missing pieces

This is the Cradle to Grave Framework for Citizen Driven Innovation in Government IT 1. Problem Sourcing 2. Open Data 3. Gov Sponsorship 4. Contest Framework 5. Launch and Run 6. Award 7. Absorption by Gov 8. Commercialization Let’s focus on #1 now...and get it right!

The Dating Analogy
Our discussion quickly caught fire when I proposed thinking of this platform in terms of a dating site. Users with needs (males) register and complete a detailed profile explaining their needs. Users who are providers (females) register and complete a detailed profile explaining what they can provide. A dating site style algorithm matches those with needs to those who can satisfy those needs in the most efficient manner (those close-by geographically, those not servicing other needs etc.). Those in current relationships are ‘married’ and no longer subject to matching. Once a need is satisfied, their divorce results in a return to the needs/provider pool - needs my be removed from the system at that time if an on going engagement isn’t required for that need and it has been fully satisfied.

Social Capital Accumulation
As providers satisfy needs, they accumulate social capital in the form of reputation points (like ebay). The simplest social analytic tracked is how many hours the provider has spent investing in their community or country. Multiply the hours by the market price for the service - as determined by the community of providers (aka sellers). Example: Peter Corbett has contributed 1000 hours to building free technology solutions for non-profits in Washington DC in 2008. The market price for these services is typically $125/hr - therefore Peter has invested $125,000 of his time in bettering his community. He is the #1 community contributor for the technology category of service in DC. Having social capital accumulate and be displayed publicly is A VERY STRONG incentive to participate in and of itself. Additional incentives like being eligible for grants after a certain level of community investment would also be a strong motivating factor. NEEDS users satisfied during the process could serve as a community driven checks and balances system for authenticating actual community investment and the quality of it.

Idea Collection
There are hundreds of ways to conduct idea sourcing - ranging from conducting buzz monitoring on the web, to conducting email surveys, to creating elegant idea submission platforms. During the session I hit on what may be an elegant solution. 1. Start with Google Voice - create a phone number for people to call in and leave a voicemail of their idea or problem and at the same time key in their zip code for geo-tagging purposes. ( 2. Google Voice translates the audio to text.

3. Google performs a bit of semantic analysis and creates a few tags 4. Machine translation is not perfect, so this text should be moderated, publish and the translation should be edited by the crowd. The tags should also be edited by the crowd simultaneously.

5. These idea/problem streams would flow as geo-tagged RSS that can be imported and subscribed to based on ZIP CODE and/or tag. 6. The streams would feed into a Needs to Provider matching system (the dating style system described previously). 7. Using a simple project management application to track the public progress of the Provider with the Needer, the system could identify stalled projects and repopulate needs automatically if Providers aren’t updating or are under delivering.

Ultimately, a system like this could be used by federal, state and municipal governments.

It could solve ‘the long tail’ of problems that are merely still problems because matching NEEDS with PROVIDERS tends to very inefficient on the community/non-profit/pro-bono level.

What do you think?

Our Lab is in Dupont Circle in Washington DC, with team members around the world. Connect with Peter directly: Peter Corbett, CEO iStrategyLabs Cell: 917-748-3595


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