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The Official Date Files

FROM: Stein von Reusch

What NEED does this meet?
Everybody wants to contribute to the world of science, I guess, if they can. Not everybody has all the credentials, contacts, energies and so on available to go through the entire process of getting something formally published in a paperbased scientific journal, or even an electronic scientific journal. They may hesitate to put it out on their own website in an electronic format for one BIG reason: that they have no obvious way of providing an official date to their document; they may write the date themselves but this is hardly official as it may be just made up. We need to give electronic publication an official status which includes an official date approach.

What is the APPROACH?
The plan is radically simple, and radically efficient: Offer the possibility of anyone anywhere to freely register themselves with full name and other contact information, alongside an electronic publically readable file. They can themselves describe the content of this file in terms of keywords and a descriptive heading. They may even be granted the possibility of keeping the file at least temporarily secret. The file will be stored in a vast archieve that is also backed up on permanent media reguarly, with a date provided by the server; this date cannot be changed by anyone, although the file perhaps can be marked for deletion.

This is distinctive in that anyone may provide any type of file and get an official "backup", which can be searched by others, without having to do it in the context of, say, exchange of programs or whatever; it is distinctive from, let's say, the eminent SourceForge.Net, in that the date cannot be set nor changed by the user. It should also be incredibly simple to use.

I say that it is 'distinctive' in these senses because I have not heard of this solution as yet, but if it exists already, please tell me; I have much use for it myself also...

What are the BENEFITS to people?
We would get an even freer world in that electronic website (even home website) publication can get a far more official status; we would get a sense of permance to the electronic world at those spots which we deliberately seek it (rather than merely taking an overall 'backup of Internet', which seems to be of somewhat dubvious value to my mind...). We will elevate that nature friendly and rather anarchistic approach of exchanging documents without chopping trees for paper, into something that can have a value in terms of providing references when one is doing research; if Mrs Smith, Arizona, solves David Hilbert's last unsolved mathematical problems and publishes it on MrsSmithArizona.com, she can simultaneously supply this document to FreeDateStamping.Com or whatever it is called, and make a link to this place so as to tell the world: "I did this, and I did it just at the date that I say I did it; and so perhaps I'll get credit for this in some decade, meanwhile I'll go on tending to my other activities."

The benefits of this may be to enhance what is really good about the Internet so that many aspects of the hierarchical dense structure of the academic world of publishing may have a healthy competition from a great diversity of fantastically creative individuals who has less official credentials than needed to get the works properly through the old systems. It may in fact contribute to changing the world and our societies just a little bit, if not even more...

What is the COMPETITION?
I'd love to hear of similar services; the closest thing to my mind is SourceForge.Net but you need to be a programmer (like I am, fortunately) to put files to this network and you can change the date yourself; and it is not something that you really should use for other publications than those involve software.

When we make the Official Date Stamp Archieves, or whatever we call them -- The Internet Free and Open Electronic Publishing Archieve -- we must have a certain sense of integrity to the organisation or assocation or network running it; so that the programmers so to speak control each other so that they do not change anything behind the scenes. Ideally, a state committee or something should overlook it; perhaps even a United Nations office or something; and the making of permanent backups would help enhance the security aspect of it.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
It will be no more expensive than running an archieve like CPAN.ORG or SOURCEFORGE.NET, in fact less expensive because there is no obligation to provide additional facilities; perhaps a search engine at most. The file type can be any of a number of preselected standard alternatives, like Adobe Acrobat and even Ascii .txt. It may get so widely popular that a great deal of servers will have to be set up and so sponsoring in form of hardware should be acquired from a big hardware vendor; the computer software companies, like Sun Microsystems, might want to give money; this can also be the case for Open Society Foundation by George Soros. The most expensive part will be the official security element -- that the programmers are indeed having full integrity in running these servers. There is no difficult apart from just getting together and doing it. The programming takes nothing more than a week; setting up all the servers in terms of physical space and so on is the thing that together with providing organsational facilities for overlooking it what takes most time and therefore also budget money.

I'd say $100.000 would get it beautifully started, and then there will be a portion of this money devoted to getting time and resources to contact a large number of big organisations and companies to get sustainable funding. But experiments of this nature could be made, of course, without hardly any funding. The fun is if it is official, though, not just nearly official!

December 10, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (13) | TrackBack (1)

Car parking made easy

FROM: Edward Riley

What NEED does this meet?
Does away with purchasing car parking tickets/ feeding parking meters. No need to remember to "pay and display" or "pay on exit" or worry about traffic wardens. Frees up time, reduces fines, saving administrative costs and personal aggravation.

What is the APPROACH?
Creation of a smartcard payment system (existing technology exists, and costs little) compatible with all car parks/ parking meters (here's your obstacle). User would either pre- or post-pay onto the card, which is then swiped on entry/exit of parking, and voila, the user is billed.
Better than credit/debit card as (a)not everyone has one (b)not everyone wants to use one for this (for practicality and security).
Extension to parking meters; again, either swiped or a displayed badge / RFID token to identify user.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
No need to worry about having loose change No need to be aware of differing ticketing/ parking restrictions No needless tickets = less litter = less wasted paper = green benefits Efficient system - time saving and small administrative cost burden
Existing technology and infrastructure (smartcards and parking machines exist)

What is the COMPETITION?
As far as I'm aware, no similar device exists. Could be extended to residency parking permits (RFID tag idea as above). Unifies a currently complex and fragmented system (nationally, councils, organisations, others have varying ticketing demands/ systems). Could be extended internationally.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Relatively inexpensive longterm, considering the revenue stream already exists, the infrastructure etc. is already in place and the need is growing: more cars = more parking = more money.

December 9, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

University Entrace Psychological Questionnaire

FROM: Kate Samuel

What NEED does this meet?
17% of students in the UK drop out of University before completion. At some universities this number is around the 40% mark and it's growing yearly. This website will help people applying to University to find a location that suits their personality as much as their grades.

What is the APPROACH?
When you are at school you are told where you can go according to your grades and given basic facts, e.g. some universtities are campus based and some are city based. There are also books which tell you about uni's. Uk Universities vary hugely in location and the lifestyle they offer. For students to get the most out of university, or in some cases remain in education at all, they have to enjoy their time at the establishment. What this approach will do is allow all students to access a questionaire which will ask them personality based questions about their interests, lifestlye, future plans etc. These will lead the questionnaire to a conclusion about which universities they would be suited to. A number of options will be given, each offering different grade requirements. Basically, instead of being told facts about universities, the influence of which aren't explained, a student will have an understanding of why their personality profile appears more suited to certain universities.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
It will give students (and their parents) a wider understanding of the choices they are making when they decide on universities. It will help schools give focussed career and future advice. Hopefully, it could significantly reduce university drop out rates.

What is the COMPETITION?
Although there are services which partially cover the same area(prospectuses, university guide books, alternative prospectuses etc) there is no comprehensive service which links your choice of university to your personality as well as your grades and your future aspirations, explaining the reasons for its decisions. This site would allow schools the opportunity to deal with a multitude of individual problems and questions at once, hopefully over a short period of time, maybe even a class. At present studenst aren't aware of the multitude of choices they are making when selecting a university and how much making an incorrect choice can influence their future.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Expense wise there are a number of things that would have to occur: A professional would have to be hired to write a questionnaire on student experiences to send to student unions at every university to get, c.100 reponses from each. These results would have to be tabled and another professional would be hired to write a personality quiz based on these findings. The quiz could then be put online. However, it would be easy to market - as there is a definate need /niche for a service which provides a greater understanding of further education choices. Hopefully schools would use it in school hours. It would ahve to be updated yearly, but only with minor adjustments to figures like entrance grades/male to female ratio.

December 6, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (1)

Are you still searching for a winner?

FROM: Teresa Fritschi

What NEED does this meet?
Increasing market opportunities for cottage industry products (sole proprieters, small manufacturies, family owned businesses) made in Scotland. Percentage of net profits to be reinvested in various philanthropic efforts to preserve, protect or restore aspects of Scottish culture, history or architecture. The concept has multiple benefit in that it provides an outlet for the continuation of work by skilled artists to utilise renewable (organic) resources, enhance their incomes (fair trade) and ensure reinvestment in under-financed aspects of Scottish national interest.

What is the APPROACH?
There are 35 million descendents (globally) of Scots forced to leave their native lands during the Highland Clearances. Many individuals in this group proudly proclaim their heritage and belong to various organisations such as St. Andrew's Societies, Herbridean, Celtic and Gaelic organisations. There is an aubundance of retail outlets focused on the delivery of kilts and clan jewelry but none that collectively addresses the preservation of a culture while embracing commercial outlets.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Increased income for participant artists from a market that is cohesively approached through both catalogue and web sales. Reinvestment to national treasures ranging from the re-forestation of the Scottish Highlands (through appropriate not-for-profit already engaged in this effort) to preservation of ancient Pictish forts and rare breeds farms.

What is the COMPETITION?
Not one. This will do for Scotland what has been done so successfully in Ireland, tap a population with disposable cash and strong emotional ties to their "homeland" driving purchases of thoughtfully made products and tourism alike while enhancing the over physical well being of a country.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
First Phase includes product sourcing (underway) and production samples for developing imagery for both web and physical catalogue, database development (underway), web development, legal set up, packaging, fulfillment partnership. With the successful sale of a single round of products (identified) to a targeted and respective audience (identified)-- 150,000 GBP should cover all start up costs including computer hardware and software purchases.

December 2, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Child Operating System

FROM: Pavcules

What NEED does this meet?
The idea of COS (Child Operating System) is to enable children from an early age to learn about computers and be educated as well. The idea is to allow parents to easily upgrade the software to suit the child needs.

More information and a very early demo can be download from my site at: http://pavcules.fun.to (Software -> COS)

If you have trouble reaching it, you can try this link instead: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pav.jim/software/cos/index.htm

What is the APPROACH?
First stage would be to develop the COS architecture. The software needs to be adaptable for future expansion. A standard interface would need to be designed, to allow other developers to create new modules (e.g.: educational titles, etc.). COS will need to be run on top of the existing operating system.

Second stage would require some of the COS and education modules to be written. This is to demonstrate the functionality of the software.

In parallel with the second stage, the website will need to be designed and developed to host COS and the modules. The website will need to be easy to use, so that parents can download and provide feedback. Developers would need to be able to upload their modules for review and processing.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Benefit to the children:

- The COS software will have an easy to use interface. Children will be able to use the keyboard and mouse relatively quickly. - In time the child will gain confidence in using a computer.
- They will not need to worry about damaging the computer or underlying OS.

Benefit to the parents:

- Be able to easily find educational modules for their child, ranging from easy to hard. - Be able to monitor the child's progress. Each module will contain tests. If the child passes those tests, then parents can decide to upgrade to the next level module. - Will not need to worry about their children ruining COS or Operting System its running on.

What is the COMPETITION?
The only competition I've found is on the following website: http://www.osdata.com/children/children.htm

The author is trying to design a complete Operating System for children. This approach would take a long time to do. And the idea has not been updated for 2 years now.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
It would need a few developers in designing the architecture. Once the system has been designed, information will be provided on the website on how to create further modules. Then other 3rd party developers will be able to easily create the software.

A couple of more people would be required to design the website.

Parents and children from very various ages would be required to test the software and pass feedback.

December 1, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

Points-based book swap

FROM: Dave Green

What NEED does this meet?
Giving people anyone who'd like access to free/very low cost books (and/or other media) greater access to all the unwanted items currently languishing in homes across the UK.

What is the APPROACH?
I'm clearly thinking along similar lines to a couple of other submissions - Community swapping website: http://mysociety.blogs.com/mysociety/2003/11/community_swapp.html

and Internet charity shop:
http://mysociety.blogs.com/mysociety/2003/11/internet_charit.html .

In a nutshell: users upload details of books/ videos/ CDs they've got but don't want, other users browse for things that they do, and a postal exchange is effected. The clever bit would be to create a LETS (Local Employment Trading Systems)-style points system to enable you to swap things with people who don't necessarily want what you've got.

Eg: say CD albums had an arbitrary points value of 10 each. If someone wanted a CD of yours then they'd mail you a stamped addressed envelope (you'd have to weigh more exotic items so they knew how much postage to put on), you'd just stick the CD in their packaging and, when it safely arrived etc, 10 of their points would be transferred to you, which you could then spend or save for whatever you want.

Off the top of my head, you'd also get 1 bonus point for every item you registered on the site, so everyone could start spending straight away. And obvious safeguards would be required (eBay-style feedback?) to prevent people offering stuff they don't actually have, or getting too many points by collaborating with friends by exchanging non-existent items. But at the end of the day, it's mainly a system for giving stuff away, so no-one should get *too* wound up over their various point tallies.

(In fact, it could incorporate the Internet charity shop idea as well for people who can't be bothered to send off the SAE - they could just make a small donation to an admin centre, who'd send the SAE to the person with the item, who'd send it on to the recipient...)

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Hey, free books and CDs! (Plus the opportunity to get rid of stuff you don't want, to people who actually want it, in exchange for points you can swap for things that you do)

What is the COMPETITION?
Like http://www.swapitshop.com/ , but a bit easier to understand (and not just for kids)

Like eBay, but doesn't cost you anything (other than time, Jiffy bags, and stamps)

Addresses some of the issues around "Internet charity shop" regarding who pays for postage: http://mysociety.blogs.com/mysociety/2003/11/internet_charit.html

Like "Community swapping website" but with potentially much wider range of material plus made-up currency to intermediate economists' "double coincidence of wants": http://mysociety.blogs.com/mysociety/2003/11/community_swapp.html

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
Not expensive or difficult at all - a few grand for programming would be nice but basic model could be constructed quite cheaply and easily. Administrative demands would increase the more popular it got but this could perhaps be offset by cross-promotion in some sort of weekly technology newsletter or something.

November 30, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (10) | TrackBack (0)

3rd Avenue

FROM: Avideh Shashaani

What NEED does this meet?
To the extent that our global society remains a stable fact-of-life, the nations of the world will find it necessary to engage each other on many fronts – economic, diplomatic, and cultural. Fund for the Future of our Children (FFC) believes that such engagement requires of nations that their citizenry “get to know” their global “neighbors.” Only by recognizing and appreciating differences and commonalities across regions and cultures will we be able to pursue our common interests through informed collaborative strategies. FFC’s current projects focuses on providing middle school-age children the means to learn about the wider world, and an opportunity to develop the leadership skills they will require in order to meet the challenges they will face as citizens of the world.

What is the APPROACH?
To meet these goals, FFC has developed an interactive website called 3rd Avenue. The site will present the social, imaginative, and spiritual aspects of the world’s cultures in a way that makes that information both appealing and accessible.

The site is designed to welcome young visitors to a “virtual land” consisting of various regions in which they can pursue a number of activities. In the Commons young visitors learn about the social and artistic aspects of a culture; in the Forest they explore a country’s natural environment, its games, and its folklore; and on the Mountaintop, students are introduced to the sacred practices and mythologies of the society. The structure of each region guides visitors through learning experiences. For example, in the Commons the “Train Station” allows the youngster to “travel through time” to explore a country’s history, and in the Forest a student can visit the Hermit’s Hut to learn about the importance of ecology and ecosystems.

For frequent visitors, 3rd Avenue will become a community of friends, both actual and mythological. They will come to know the (virtual) residents of 3rd Avenue, and get to know each other at the same time. The design of 3rd Avenue also serves another function. The contours of its component regions reflect aspects of the human psyche, encouraging in young people an appreciation of an “ecology of self” – a recognition that all parts of the whole are valuable and necessary to well-being.

An important aspect of the site is the invitation it makes to young people to interact on-line with their peers in other countries. This will be accomplished at first by creating partnerships between teachers from many countries. These teachers will agree to incorporate 3rd Avenue into their curriculum and to encourage their students to work with students from other nations. For example, if students in Poland decide that their community would benefit from a clothing recycling program, they might collaborate in designing such a program with students in Nigeria, whose community has the same need.

In addition, 3rd Avenue will feature discussion forums (Roundtables) where students, either individually or under the direction of their teachers, can experience the process of learning relevant facts concerning some social problem and debating proposed solutions. Such activities will foster skills in peace-making, offer civic education, and provide opportunities for young people to take on the role of leadership. These children have the opportunity to develop personal relationships as they work and learn “together.” Eventually, 3rd Avenue will become generally available on-line, with the interactive portions of the site monitored by adults involved with the project. This will allow interactions between youth who are not necessarily students in recruited classes.

Plans for the continuing development of the site include inviting the participation of high school students, who will be asked to contribute to both content and design. We anticipate that this will be a valuable experience for them -- a fun way to learn more about the world while passing this knowledge on to their younger peers. Other potential collaborators include: teachers, scholars, members of the diplomatic community, and technology experts.

Among the first countries to be featured in 3rd Avenue are: Britain, Germany, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Bhutan, and Iran. We expect the number of countries to grow rapidly once the site is on-line. Eventually, every continent will be represented by many countries.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
3rd Avenue will yield many short term benefits, including:

· for youth: a welcoming community in which they can participate and grow, a tool for accessing information, a window to the world, a doorway to valuable new experiences and relationships, a way to have fun while learning.

· for teachers: a social studies teaching tool, a means of collaboration with other teachers from around the world.

· for parents: the knowledge that while their children are having fun, they are participating in a valuable enterprise – learning about the world, learning how to both negotiate effectively in the world, and learning how to transform the world.

· for the countries of the world: a showcase for their unique culture.

· for the world at large: a training ground for future leaders, in which they learn skills that will enable them to identify problems, see those problems from multiple perspectives, and work with others to solve those problems.

However, the most significant promise held out by the 3rd Avenue project lies several decades in the future, when a second generation of youth reaches the age at which they will benefit from a visit to this virtual land. By that time its first visitors will have reached an age at which they will be creating the intellectual and diplomatic environment in which their country operates. If it has done the job we hope it will do, 3rd Avenue will have influenced them in such a way that they will find tolerance a natural attitude and identification with people from other cultures a natural tendency.

What is the COMPETITION?
In some ways, the 3rd Avenue project will certainly be unique. Its overall goals, its unusual website design, and its reliance on collaboration between people in various walks of life and from around the world of life distinguish it form other international websites. Also, as a social studies curriculum, 3rd Avenue will offer teachers an innovative way to present subject material. We believe no other project addresses the issue of the development of future world citizens in an way as imaginative and potentially influential as FFC’s 3rd Avenue.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
We project our yearly budget to be $471,026 of which $128,485 is in-kind contributions. 3rd Avenue will be built using open source technology, so that others in the community, especially non-profits, can benefit from our efforts. The website will also use technology that is available with inexpensive web hosting environments. The interactive component of 3rd Avenue will be a customized bulletin board system that allows youth from around the world to either participate in or observe discussions that enrich cross-cultural understanding. Full participation in the discussions will require that users expand their knowledge of history, mythology, religion, leaders, world cultures, and more. The supporting content and external links will reinforce the idea that conflict resolution and peace can be achieved and sustained by learning the paradigms, archetypes, and values of other societies, and accepting their validity.

We are currently working toward a number of goals for 3rd Avenue implementation. An in-kind grant from the Meyer Foundation provided us with a technology expert who has developed a Request for Proposals (RFP) for vendors. From this pool of proposals, we plan to select a vendor by the end of December. Additionally, we are currently developing partnerships with local high schools and art schools that will help us build the content of 3rd Avenue. With the collaboration of these schools, we plan to have the content developed for six countries by the end of the year. We have also secured the support of a number of embassies, including The Netherlands, New Zealand, Thailand, and Japan, and we are in the process of securing the support of additional embassies. These embassies will be able to provide support through their cultural and community resources.

November 25, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

On-line Talking Newspaper/Magazine For the Visually Impaired

FROM: Mike Evans

What NEED does this meet?
There are many ways for the visually impaired to hear the news - radio, TV etc. Yet local, manually produced talking newspapers all over the country show there is a demand for more. When I worked on one such newspaper, our listeners told us this was for the added coverage and depth that the printed news and magazines offered.

This proposal is to take this national.

Use technology to supply the voices. Companies such as Rhetorical (http://www.rhetoricalsystems.com) can take the printed word and convert it on the fly into quite listenable voice(try their demo on this text).
Then ask content providers such as national newspapers & magazines to supply the content. Bring the two together and distribute across the web on whatever terms the copyright holders require.

What is the APPROACH?
This proposal is to fill the gap between TV and radio news, and the audio book. The technology is now here to offer listeners access to in-depth but current editorial content.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Distributed as widely as the web (well - broadband web). Users can even choose the voice they are read to in.

What is the COMPETITION?
I do not know of any news / content services using voice synthesis technology. Hence I belive this to be an early adoption of the technology.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
This proposal requires a lot of giving and a fair bit of technical complexity. 1. A voice synthesis company must offer its software. 2. Media outlets must make their output available. 3. Considerable server hardware and bandwidth will be required. 4. The content must be catalogued and made available to users. 5. The distribution channel must be secured so that only those eligible can use it (a ceratin condition of the copyright holders).

November 22, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (7) | TrackBack (0)

Facilitating parent/toddler interaction within the local community

FROM: Kristan Hopkins Burke

What NEED does this meet?
This project is aimed at helping 'new' parents. Parent/toddler groups are often the only way to make contact with other parents. Parenthood can be extremely isolating, especially for those who are 'new' to an area and those who have no family/support network around them. Attending parent toddler groups provides social contact for both parents and their babies/toddlers. In turn, they provide access to support, information and a basic human need for sociability. However, finding out where these groups are etc. isn't necessarily easy. I think that greater knowledge of and access to these groups could help prevent a large amount of post-natal depression (I think isolation is a key factor) and also maybe even help to prevent negative/abusive treatment of children in certain situations. Afterall, access to other human beings in the same situation can provide all sorts of information, education and support!

What is the APPROACH?
Within local communities there are many 'voluntary' parent/toddler groups. However, they usually rely upon voluntary helpers and are non-profit making etc. Parents (and other child carers)attend such places to 'make contact' with other people in the same position as themselves. Such parents can be very isolated within their own communities, especially in the absence of family and/or friends. Such parent/toddler groups are often the only 'adult' contact that 'isolated' and 'new' parents have. Many 'new' parents find themselves outside of the world of work (even if temporarily) and inside the world of 'babies'and 'toddlers'. This can be a rollercoaster ride and everybody needs support. Moreover, such groups also provide opportunities for babies and toddlers to 'play' and learn to socialise with other human beings.

However, it is often difficult to find out where these places exist. When I was in this situation myself, I received a list from the health visitor which was out of date. Such parent/toddler groups do not find it easy to advertise themselves. They are self-funding and voluntary.

My idea is that we could set up a web site which provides information to all parents and child carers of the many national parent/toddler groups which exist within their local communities(similar to upmystreet.com). This could be a life-saver for a great many parents and their children too. So, really this idea is about facilitating human interaction amongst a socially isolated group of people (mostly women). This site would obviously need updating by the parent/toddler groups themselves (?) but it could provide a 'free' and relatively 'easy' way to make their services known. It could also (though not necessarily) provide additional information (perhaps from parents) about other issues: transport, parking, the way in which the group is run, times and days, the structure of the sessions etc.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
My idea will primarily help 'parents'/child carers (and their children). However, it will obviously be more helpful to those who have access to the internet. Nevertheless, more and more people do have such access (even if not at home!). It will provide them with invaluable information which will help to reduce their social isolation (I write from past experience). Having somewhere to go and 'getting out of the house' are so important to 'new' parents who are not in paid employment. Imagine the situation where you are new to an area, your husband or partner is at work all day and you have no 'real' friends or family in the community. Add to this a 'crying' or 'colicky' baby and very little sleep! Being part of a wider community and making friends is invaluable. Finding out where these groups are on-line would serve a great many people.

What is the COMPETITION?
I don't know of any! Until children start playgroup, nursery or school, they require the care of either their parents or child-minders or nannies. All groups of child-carers require support within the community. This information made so easily available could be a great support to a great many people, for a very small cost! Once they have access to the correct information, they have access to the places themselves, and the opportunity to meet people and make friends.

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I think this could be a 'cheap' and relatively easy idea to develop. It would require the necessary research to find 'upto date' details of these groups and post these details on to the relevant site. Once it was set up, the actual parent/toddler groups (which exist 'nationally') could be asked to update their details, if, for example they move or stop providing the service. Keeping the information upto date would be the most important thing!

November 20, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

School Run Fun

FROM: Lydia Howland

What NEED does this meet?
Fewer and fewer parents allow their children to walk to school any more which means more and more cars on the road and heavier levels of congestion during school run peak times. This frustrates other road users, environmentalists and parents as everyone knows the school run is one of the most stressful ways to start a day.

But what if there was a quick and easy way to find out if other children in the neighbourhood went to the same school as your child? Maybe you could contact their parents via email and suggest a school run rota? This would be more environmentally sustainable (1 car with 4 children makes much more sense than 4 cars with 1 child) and would alleviate the stress of having to do it every morning.

What is the APPROACH?
Set up a website where users register their postcode, the number of children they have, the schools they attend and the vehicles they own (including seat numbers). People could then search by school name or postcode to find out if other parents with children at the same school live nearby, contact them and arrange a school run rota. It's basically e-nabled carpooling targeted at a specific group who do the same journey daily. Not exactly rocket science but might make people's lives a bit easier.

What are the BENEFITS to people?
Not having to battle through gridlocked traffic which screaming/arguing children 5 mornings out of 7. Save petrol, get more sleep, save the planet. It's all good.

What is the COMPETITION?
I don't think there is anything out there that offers this service, although there might be templates that are similar. I guess it needn't stop at schools either. Perhaps it could be offered to commuters or people who drive to a station, park and then take a train? Or people visiting prisons, hospitals etc?

What BUDGET & LOGISTICS are required?
I honestly don't know but I don't think it can be very expensive because the technology would be similar to something like Friends Reunited. All it need to is collect the data and then enable people to securely email each other, which doesn't sound massively sophisticated.

November 20, 2003 | Permalink | Comments (32) | TrackBack (0)

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