Tag Archives: crowdsourcing

Trabaju, men and women working

12 Jan

A damaging and painful secret

(and women too)

It all began with frustration: I was looking for information on workplaces, wages and conditions and I spent several days searching the web but I have not found what I was looking for.

Wages, benefits, works conditions, workplaces information is not available, not accessible or extremely difficult to find.

Or how a friend of mine put it:

“In our information driven society the labour market information is a well kept secret.”

Information rules

There is nearly a complete vacuum of real, actionable information that workers, either alone or organized, and organizations can use.

It is possible to make a revolution in the labour market. It is needed, and would be good for the workers, and for the economy in general:

“Without the large market that a robust middle class provides, innovative companies don’t have buyers for their products, and without a competitive labor market and increasing wages, they don’t have much incentive to innovate on the production side, either.”

Tim Fernholz, GOOD Business editor

Our biggest, more important market completely lacks of accessible information.
Internet gave us access to billions of information and data, and showed us who has the wisdom and the power to act: the crowd.

Crowdsourcing:

  1. because everyone is a worker (or will be, or has been, or should be)
  2. because every worker has a very small, private part of the information, and can share it
  3. because these small private chunchs of information, alltogether, can bring the change we need

It is time to step into the labour market and to change it, and for the better.

In an way similar to how Wikipedia changed forever our approach to (enciclopedic) knowledge, there should be the same with labour market, to make labour market “work” better, to give power to those who have less, to show reality, to recognize the employers that are good and make them better, …

This is the idea of Trabaju (means “work” in Sardinian).

Issues -> solutions

Labour market is extremely complex, there are cultural barriers, there are privacy issues, there are legal problems. So how can we do?

All the people we talk to are bringing new energy and helping us move forward the idea, here are some of their suggestions:

  1. find very smart folks that have already faced similar challenges (and are still facing them): folks in Wikimedia Foundation, LinkedIn, Ushahidi, …
  2. hire very good lawyers
  3. it is business, but work for its social mission
  4. … ask for more help
So here we are, ready to tap into every human being willing to give us suggestions, expertise, or encouragement:
what do you think of the idea?
how can we move forward?

Idea inspired by:

Tim Fernholz - Why Fixing the Wealth Gap...
The incredible community of Crisismappers
Ushahidi
Wikimedia Foundation
#nofreejobs

[Antonio, Francesco, Giorgio]

The context of the project: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679128/principles-for-social-innovation-in-2012-follow-the-developing-world

New energies to help in humanitarian crisis

30 Jun

CrisisCamp, Paris

A room at the CrisisCamp, Elena Rapisardi presenting

A case study presentation (by Elena) at the Summit of CrisisCamps Europe, Paris

It was in Paris at the 2011 Summit of European CrisisCamps, that I felt, understood, the true power of  the Crisis Campers fast growing community: no tweet, blog post, article, or paper can replace the experience of being in person within that small crowd of extremely motivated, capable and genuinely devout people! (and yet I’m blogging in the hope that some reader will be inspired).

Crisis Camps are a special breed of barcamps, born to connect a global network of volunteers who use creative problem solving and open technologies to help people and communities in times and places of crisis. 

Senior information managers, developers, bloggers and journalists, project managers, designers from big NGOs to small non-profits, volunteers or professionals, very young and less young, the very diversity of the people gathered there was so powerful to me.

We spoke a lot about technology, sure, but the common ground for all people there is not to invent radically new tech (maybe sometimes) but how to use, mix and shake existing tools, to solve immediate problems.

This changes everything!

At a CrisisCamp you might find yourself developing an application to help refugees find their relatives, designing a system that processes Tweets to provide assistance after an earthquake, brainstorming around a mobile application, open data, transparency and security, and discussing a hundred new ways to volunteer and help, and build a more resilient world.

Among all wild ideas and new technologies, there is one central aspect that needs all of our attention:

people, the very people affected by a crisis are getting connected!

Not all of them, no, not everywhere, not all the time, but they are there. They might not have a pc, but they might access Twitter, and be on Facebook, and this changes everything!

Tools liberating new energies

people in Haiti working on the OpenStreetMap project

New energies in the fields (Haiti, OpenStreetMap) - (C) Kate Chapman

The opening case study of the CrisisCamp is the story of #CIVSOCIAL (slides here), a beautiful, immensely human story, of how a group of friends and volunteers reacted to save lives in recent Cote D’Ivoire crisis, using ordinary technology (Twitter, Skype, etc.) and leveraging the energies of extraordinary people. Thanks to Jean-Patrick (@ jpehouman) for sharing his great story.

Have you ever heard of Ushahidi? Per se, it’s a great idea: with it you can crowdsource geotegged information, provide visualization and interactive mapping… quite powerful. But you should listen to the stories of Anahi (@anahi_ayala) and others that have been using it, to really grasp the revolution that happens behind: hundreds and hundreds of people collaborating worldwide to create accurate maps, to translate messages, requests for help, reports, to harvest information from the Internet aggregate and validate it, and more. The output is information, rapid, often good and very valuable information, to inform people, coordinate, and act, in crisis: for the Haiti earthquake, Chile earthquake, Pakistan floods, Egypt, Lybia, Sudan, …

Other major projects presented, discussed and worth our attention are: OpenStreetMap and Global Voices, and there are many many others, and all of them share the goal to build a little piece of a better world, a more prepared, transparent, resilient, open and human world.

People in humanitarian crisis are getting connected: connected one to each other, connected to people in other countries and willing to help, connected to the rest of the world, when listening. The names of the tools that connects us all are not new: Facebook, Twitter, Skype, WordPress, …

Tools liberating new energies, the energies of:

  • volunteers across the globe translating, validating reports, spreading the information and spreading awarness,
  • geeks, mappers, developers, hackers, creating new and better tools,
  • and most of all, the energies of the people there!

Few have yet acknowledged such a big change and big opportunity.

The new paradigm in Crisis Management

Social, partecipatory web is liberating new energies, energies that have already shown their impact, so where do the well established agencies, NGOs and institutions stand?

An important debate that took place in Paris: “Civil Society & institutions in Crisis Management : New Paradigm of the Participatory Web.”, a roundtable on the current understanding and acceptance of the new paradigm from the Institutions. The main outcome of the debate was that not only the Institutions but also most humanitarian agencies and  large NGOs have not yet seen, understood, nor accepted the change. And it was great to have people from UN OCHA and the International Committee of the Red Cross at the table, OCHA in particular has already done much and is leading the effort of collaborating with the volunteers communities defining the new challenges.

CrisisCamps collect the enthusiasm, the appeal, the dream of the many that have experienced the change: volunteers, humanitarian geeks and technoutopists, a movement born from the bottom, very young, and unexperienced. On the other side the institutions and international organizations that have been working in humanitarian crisis for decades, with their experience and knowledge (and rules and procedures) aimed to ensure quality, safe, transparent and effective action.

Conclusions

Participatory web, and notably the direct participation of the affected communites, will have a growing impact on the information, knowledge sharing, privacy and security, and action before, during and after a crisis.

As Anahi puts it:

“people have access to these tools and they will use them, anyway!”

and also:

“people are now in the information loop and can provide and will also benefit a lot from information.”

I urge all international organizations, NGOs and Institutions to look at, explore and embrace the new paradigm: the debate is open, while communities are growing and social web spreading more and more.

And only these organisations only can provide the experience, the training, the wisdom and the resources needed.  And I’m sure the “new energies” will listen, learn from them, and organize, develop new tools, practices and continue to innovate.

I really hope that in the next years international organizations will foster and help accelerate such change, fully understanding that the social web is an everyday tool to fulfill their very mission.

What’s next?

The Paris Summit of CrisisCamps has motivated me more than enough to move forward and start bringing such new powerful ideas and tools into my everyday work in Reflab, and engaging in the community: together with Elena Rapisardi (@erapisardi) and Marco Boscolo (ogdabaum) we have kickstarted an Italian group. Thanks to Header (@poplifegirl) and CrisisCommons for the support. Huge thanks to LaCantine for giving us a great location, wi-fi, food and everything we needed and to Claire (@ClaireInParis) for leading and guiding us all.

Related resources
crisismappers.net
crisiscommons.com
Disaster Relief 2.0 (report)
Volunteer Technology Communities (paper)
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,133 other followers