Crowdsourcing for the Greater Good

January 26, 2011 By Aminda

Just as General Electric has utilized crowdsourcing in an effort to advance sustainable, environmentally sound technologies, Sony, in partnership with the World Wildlife Federation has recently announced the result of their Open Planet Ideas Project. The goal was to tackle and address a defined set of looming environmental problems using already existing Sony technology. The winner is a cross platform software application designed to mobilize a new generation of volunteers accustomed to social networking.

Open Planet Ideas received over 400 innovative concepts from budding designers across the world. The winner, called Greenbook, beat out two other finalists, a wildlife recording concept and a microclimate monitoring network.

Not surprisingly, crowdsourcing has also been popular with more grass-roots level environmental initiatives.

For example, Planet Agent is creating a space where individuals can share a need with the public and rally ideas and participation with the goal of generating results. The idea is that an individual maps an environmental problem along with posts a video and some proposed solutions. The videos are compiled into a weekly newsletter which is sent out to the community who discuss and ultimately carry through, the solutions. The project is ambitious, stating that it relies on the abilities of every person on the planet. However, it might need to first integrate the abilities of some translation technology to facilitate communication between the various languages currently being used.

“The Portland Bottom Line: Practices for Your Small Business from America’s Hotbed of Sustainability” was published last fall to explore how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive. It does so by compiling the wisdom of 51 small-business leaders in Portland Oregon. Their stories are condensed into easy-to-read 400-word essays. By sharing their experiences with sustainability, the book demonstrates how small businesses can prosper by finding innovating ways to restore the ecosystem.

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