Monthly Archive for August, 2009

Discovery Process Underway

This week Global Challenge staff and allies are in a series of meetings with web development partner Idea Couture to develop a clearer understanding of the opportunities in play to engage the global MIT community in “innovation as a public service.”

The goal of these meetings is to identify a set of requirements for the “challenge platform” that can be expressed through a well-defined workflow, feature set and user experience. It has been hugely insightful to sit in on meetings with alumni, students, MIT leadership, and colleagues across the Institute as we begin the planning phase of our build. A huge thanks to everyone who’s been involved – 41 and counting.

Learn more about Idea Couture at Noodleplay.

Nokia Enters Development Space with “Life Tools”

Kiwanja has a great post on Nokia’s latest move into the ICT for development (ICTD) space with the release of its mobile financial and payment service, Nokia Money.

Kiwanja writes,

“Last November, on the day Barack Obama won the US Presidential elections, Nokia quietly lay their cards on the table and entered the ‘international development’ arena. The launch of Nokia Life Tools - initially a suite of education and agriculture-based tools aimed at the Indian market – was a significant step forward for the handset maker, which had for some time been positioning itself not just as a manufacturer, but also as something of a services provider.

So, something else which shouldn’t have come as a big surprise was today’s news of Nokia’s big move into mobile financial services. There’s clearly a big market opportunity here, and Nokia have partnered withObopay to take it on (a company they had already invested around $70 million in earlier this year).”

Intersections with work happening here at MIT include – among others – Next Billion Network, NextLab, International Initiatives in Health (IIH), and D-Lab ICT course – among many others. I expect this to be an area of explosive growth here at MIT over the next few years that cuts across many disciplines.

Its Official: Global Challenge Taps Idea Couture

After a deliberative process that reviewed proposals from 20 talented web development firms and a round of pitches from the top five, the IDEAS Global Service Challenge has concluded negotiations with our top pick and generated a contract.

Our pick is Toronto-based Idea Couture, a web strategy and experience design firm that exemplifies the multidisciplinary talent we are eager to work with. There are many reasons we’re thrilled to be working with Idea Couture, but a quick summary has to include:

  • Their vision most closely matched ours
  • Bring a high standard for interaction and experience design
  • Deep understanding of, and play to the social web
  • Demonstrated prior work on similarly complex projects
  • High level of enthusiasm for the Global Challenge project
  • And of course, an experienced, fun, creative team

Beginning the week of August 24, Idea Couture will run a series of discovery sessions with stakeholders and key informants. From there, we’re all eager to move into the design and development stages of this work. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, a huge thanks to all the teams that submitted exciting and provocative responses to the MIT Global Challenge RFP – we’re deeply grateful for the work you put into each of your proposals, and learned an awful lot from the process.

Wildfire Combines Viral Power of Voting and Sweepstakes

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.