Social Innovation Camp launches new Call for Ideas: What’s your big problem?

The Social Innovation Camp December 2008 has launched its Call for Ideas – and this time, we want you to think big.

We’re looking for the best ideas for web-based tools that could change something important.

Over one weekend from 5th-7th December 2008, we’re bringing together some of the best of the UK’s software developers and designers with those at the sharp end of social problems.

Send us your idea for a web tool to create social change and you could be joining 80 other participants to try and make your idea a reality.

So what kind of ideas are we after?

One of the things that excites us most about the web is its potential to change something big by starting something small.

With simple technology available to anyone, an individual can now create the kind of impact that in the past might only have been possible if you had the resources of large, cash-rich, professionalized organisations.

Take, for example, the actions of a UK bank last year. HSBC was forced to change its policy on student accounts following a campaign started by a single student and run – for free – on Facebook. In the past, people had to rely on political parties, large charities or professional campaign and pressure groups to force this kind of change. Now an individual can create the same effect by starting small with far fewer resources because the network the web creates can become more than the sum of its parts.

What happens if you could have a similar impact on other big things? Not just a commercial organisation like a bank, but things that affect a lot of people in important ways? What about schools or the health care system for example? The prison service or the way our climate is changing?

Social Innovation Camp is an experiment in solving big problems by starting small and supporting the individuals with the ideas, skills and tools to create change by leveraging the power of the web.

The two ideas that won the first Social Innovation Camp back in April both tackled big problems: Visiting Prisons focuses on how the UK prison system interacts with the families of prisons which is key to prisoner welfare and re-offending rates; Enabled by Design is about revolutionising the design of assistive equipment for people with physical disabilities. Two ideas to change big issues starting with the small, bottom-up and user-driven.

We think there are more ideas like these out there.

Social Innovation Camp is a space to experiment: so go on, be brave and bold – what are the really big things we can change by starting small?

Tell us what your big problem is by Friday 7th November for a chance to come to Social Innovation Camp December 2008 and see your idea become a reality.

See here for more information on how Social Innovation Camps work.

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