Not so crowdsourced afterall

Last week I had a great conversation with one of our mentors, Toshi Nakamura, about crowdsourcing. Tohsi started a site called Kopernik, which crowdsources the best way to solve everyday challenges faced by third world inhabitants (think solar lights and doughnut shaped water jugs). Their specialty is funding and distributing the resulting ideas.

As we discussed Civinomics’ public policy crowdsourcing model, Toshi pointed out that, there are a limited number of problems in the world – water, education, health, economy – human societies the globe over deal with these. Many have developed solutions already. Europe has some public transit and healthcare solutions that could be effective in the US, and the US has some business regulations (or lack thereof) which Europe sorely needs.

While Civinomics will certainly be a font of new knowledge, new solutions, and new, crowdsourced thinking, it will also be a catalogue of the best policies that have already been created and implemented. It will help to increase the speed with which communities acquire and adopt the best “social DNA.”

This realization helped to rekindle my awareness of our role in the global community. Civinomics is not the first or only policy crowdsourcing platform – but what we do in our home city, county and state will have huge implications for the rest of the world, because the rest of the world is filled with communities of similar size and stripe.

“Think global but act local” – overquoted, but truer than ever. And nothing makes me happier about our work of finding the right interface between people, technology, and a better society.

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