All IDEAS entrants, if you have visual content you would like to display to generate publicity for your team as public voting goes on, there is now a Pinterest board dedicated to showcasing all teams in the Global Challenge, MIT IDEAS Global Challenge Teams. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your Pinterest username so that you can be added to the list of collaborators who can post to the IDEAS Board. If you are not on Pinterest yet, you may request an invite via the site itself or by e-mailing the same address listed prior. Happy pinning!
There is a growing ecology of resources at MIT that support student ventures – from grounded ideation in programs like D-Lab to launch mechanisms like the $100k business plan competition. The idea behind Pitch Kitchen is to create an informal environment where students can trial their venture pitches in from of a mixed audience – representatives across these resources – and receive helpful feedback that sets them up for success down the road.
We had our first Pitch Kitchen in February 16. Peter Kang of Team AQUA presented the idea and business model for his project – an online game that is one part education tool and another part charity platform. In the room were representatives from $100k Emerging Markets Track, the Entrepreneurship Center, a communications expert from CSAIL, and yours truly from IDEAS/GC.
Kudos to Peter for his stamina – after presenting his 8-minute pitch he endured nearly a solid hour of intense questioning from panelists – all with the intent of helping Peter and team AQUA sharpen their message around a few key areas:
Community connection and impact
Transparency and accountability in income and expenditures
Representing communities without exploiting ie “gamifying” communities
Business and sustainability model
Translation of online income into on-the-ground impact
Interested in experiencing the crucible? Join us for the next Pitch Kitchen on Wednesday, 3/16 from 5:00-7:00pm in 4-145. Questions? Email lhtorres at mit dot edu.
Deadline extended! What’s are you doing to change the world? How can resources like the IDEAS Competition and MIT Global Challenge help?
Share your story in the Global Challenge Video Pitch Competition and be eligible to win $1500.
The contest is open to anyone, but teams must involve MIT students. The winning entry will receive $1500 and will be featured at the October 23 Alumni Leadership Conference launch of the MIT Global Challenge.
We’re launching the MIT Global Challenge to connect and reward teams of innovators and entrepreneurs that are tackling barriers to well-being through invention. We need the world-changing students who benefit from opportunities like IDEAS and the MIT Global Challenge to help us spread the word!
We want to tap student passion to make the world a better place by asking you to make a case for why the MIT community worldwide should care about the Global Challenge. To be successful we’ll need their support to fund awards, underwrite challenges, and support student projects as mentors, volunteers, and local promoters of the Global Challenge. Download contest details [word.doc].
Non-profit tech experts Beth Kanter and Alison Fine have a great article in the June 13 edition of the online Chronicle of Philanthropy. In it, they profile a 29-year old Canadian who has spent the last couple of year traveling the world, doing good deeds, documenting his experiences, and sharing them online – inspiring millions to follow along and contribute to his work. Pretty cool stuff. Reminds me a little of the work of Gabriel Stauring, inspiring founder of stopgenocidenow.org.
In the article, they make a provocative claim: “Free agents do it when and how they please, making them distinct from and more powerful than traditional volunteers.” ”He is inspiring other people to talk about the issue of global poverty and take action “’in a way that is different from the big nonprofit organizations,’” he says.
But he’s having a hard time earning credibility with the big guys – the more conventional aid organizations. Alison and Beth explain:
““The problem isn’t social media, the problem is that you are the fortress. Social media is not my problem: I have over a quarter million followers on Twitter, 10,800 subscribers on YouTube, and 2.1 million views. Yet despite that, I have a hard time having you guys take me seriously. I get dismissed as ‘just a guy on YouTube.’”
Crowdfunding is an excellent way to raise start-up cash the way most entrepreneurs do – from friends, fools and family. What is crowdfunding? In a nutshell, raising sizable, useful sums of money in small amounts from many people. It’s an ancient tradition that has achieved some great results – its even gotten many Presidents elected.
What makes crowdfunding so relevant to today’s start-up environment is that the tools have never been so powerful. From simple donation buttons created through financial services sites like Paypal to robust “package” sites like Crowdrise that enable you to build a campaign, crowdfunding sites have exploded in the last decade. Many of them now have their own publicity machinery and are a great way for you to attract new eyes and hearts to your project. Here, we offer just a few to get you started.
EGG-energy has had several successes over the last few months, including:
- At the the William James Foundation Social Responsibility competition Egg Energy won the Richard Heinberg Sustainability Prize, were runner-up for the Africa Prize and had an honorable mention at the Socially Responsible Business Plan Competition. View the WJF press release here.
- Invited to pitch their business at the Princeton Entrepreneurs’ Network of Boston’s inaugural Social Enterprise Pitch Competition on April 21st. Find out more about SEPC here.
Wildfire, the social competition application for Facebook, has recently landed a couple of big name gigs, including Gatorade and Britney Spears. I’m glad their sharing what they’re learning as they implement inducement prizes and social filtering within social spaces. While the aim is to move product, the lessons I think can be pulled into plans to engage communities in social benefit campaigns – like IDEAS!
Here’s what they’ve said about their recent work:
Gatorade is the first to use our latest and most powerful campaign format – a combination of voting and sweepstakes. This format will soon be available to everyone on our platform.
Different campaigns are viral for different reasons. Voting formats are often viral because they involve self-expression. Voters like to broadcast their opinion to their friends (in the case of Gatorade, for example, voters can express which moment in Michael Jordan’s career they think was the best) by publishing newsfeeds….which results in more people learning about the campaign….which leads to more newsfeeds being published.
Sweepstakes, on the other hand, are extremely powerful because they enable companies to gather information about their users (contact info, email address etc) and to encourage them to become fans of a company’s fan page and/or join a company’s newsletter. Sweepstakes that utilize our ’social’ prize format (see below) are also highly viral because they encourage entrants to invite their friends. A voting campaign combined with a sweepstakes (e.g. “Vote for your favorite Michael Jordan moment and then enter the sweepstakes for the chance to meet Michael Jordan”) offers the best of both worlds – a highly viral, newsfeed driven campaign plus a powerful way to generate leads and build fans.
By combining the viral strengths of these two campaign formats, we’ve created the most powerful Facebook marketing campaign format on the web.
The founders of Xigi.net and Nokia have produced a wonderful little site called the ideasproject.com which is a place for thought leaders and the public to share their future-setting ideas. Business founders like Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn) share the UI with activist-thinkers that include Ethan Zuckerman (Global Voices) and innovation drivers like Peter Diamandis (X Prize).
The site competes in some ways with other “deep thoughts” sites like TED, and what it lacks in production it makes up for its warmer, more participatory approach: emphasizing a back-of-the-envelope feel and making space for the big shots (“ideators”) to share the screen with joe public, the Ideas Project has the casual intellectual environment of a Viennese cafe ca. 1920. In a good way!
A few other notable if imperfect aspects of the site include a non-linking visualization of ideas and how they connect by people and theme along with a dashboard that enables users to collect and track their favorite ideas. Not sure how this maps with data collection efforts and what the end result would be. Oh, and anyone submitting ideas qualifies to win a Nokia N95 phone. Is this marketing at the end of the day?
At the end of the day, some great pointers in UI, information architecture and design for the Global Challenge.