Crowdsourcing Apps to Make a Difference
A crowdsourcing initiative by phone giant Nokia to discover mobile apps to benefit society.
IdeasProject/Nokia, United States
Can an app truly change the world? That was the question that sparked the creation of a crowdsourcing apps contests organised by IdeasProject an online community founded on the philosophy of democratized innovation and idea crowdsourcing, and powered by Nokia.
Participants were asked for their ideas for mobile apps that could make a difference to the way we live our lives.
The crowdsourcing contest was open to anyone registered with the community including professional developers and designers, and mobile consumers.
The contest sought a broad range of participants and organisers were keen that it shouldn’t be directed solely at the app community. And so participants were told that it did not matter if they did not know how to build their app, the important thing was to be able to describe it and to build a team that could bring it to fruition.
Benefits of Participation
According to Nokia’s Valerie Buckingham people wanted to participate not for any monetary gain, but for what their creativity and ideas can do for others.
“What we have found in our exciting communities is that when people have an idea that they want to change the world or they want to share or they want to collaborate, that they are actually the major motivations.”
Nokia was excited by the contest because it gave the company the chance to look further than its own office walls for ideas. It saw the potential of ideating with others and wanted to tap into a broader intellectual and creative resource.
The contest was very much a groundswell approach to innovation, a departure from the company’s typical top down methods. And it was it a hit.
More than 300 ideas were submitted to a specially created website from people based in 53 countries. They received over 70,000 viewings and more than 1,000 votes. The ideas were eventually judged by a panel of experts that included a media entrepreneur, a social media guru, a Nokia executive and a marketing specialist.
App for Change Winner
The overall winning idea came from Sana Refai and Kamel Seghaeir of Tunisia. It was for an app that will allow an individual to search for a blood donor. It merges a global donor community with GPS localization to recommend a close at hand match.
The principle benefit of this app is that it will provide someone in desperate need of a transfusion the ability to find compatible donors within their geographical locale, cutting down on the time and resources that would typically be involved in such a search.
Whilst the organisers of the crowdsourcing contest could see how such an app would be of benefit in the developed world, they believe its greatest potential lies in developing countries where mobile phones are ubiquitous but blood transfusion services are not.
Nokia has promised to engage its developer community to ensure that the app is developed and then made available in the Ovi Store for free download. The reward for Sana and Kamel, apart from seeing their fully functioning app is that they were asked to choose a recipient non-profit organization for a USD $10,000 contribution.
The competition judges also announced a few honourable mentions including:
1) an app to increase the use of carpools to reduce an individual’s carbon footprint
2) an app to help people to find an activity to let them to take positive action anywhere in the world.
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