Thursday, July 14, 2011

Tools, Not Just Entertainment

The pace of innovation is astounding, but so is the need...

Listened to a POP Tech talk by Nathan Eagle titled Global Mobile Workforce on my iPhone the other day. According to his POP Tech blurb "Nathan Eagle is harnessing mobile phone data in emerging markets. He’s launched txteagle, a program that enables the under-employed to earn money or phone credits by performing tasks on their cell phones. Through partnerships with over 220 mobile phone operators, txteagle is active in nearly 100 countries." Give it a listen; his approach is simple, clever, and makes use of an ubiquitous technology to improve lives and communities.  Cool beans.

As I was poking around at the POP Tech site I found these other awesome projects percolating in the POP Tech Accelerator.

PeaceTXT is a multidisciplinary project to explore the potential of mobile technology to amplify a proven approach to reducing violence. The program brings together several renowned partners including:

CeasefireChicago maintains that violence is a learned behavior that can be prevented using an interdisciplinary disease control model. The Interrupters is a documentary about the program made by the film maker Steve James, who filmed the excellent 1994 documentary Hoop Dreams.

FrontlineSMSMedic or Medic Mobile uses mobile phone apps to extend the reach of community health programs.

Ushahidi is a non-profit tech company that develops free and open source software for information collection, visualization and interactive mapping.

Sure beats whiling away the hours watching silly pet tricks on YouTube, or texting while driving.

PS, If you like TED (as I do) you'll find POP Tech an interesting take on the idea, but from a slightly different perspective.