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Filed under: Development 2.0

Marmadej QR code

“Good ideas come from having an itch to scratch” – Social Innovation Camp Ltd.

The Social Innovation Camp Armenia (Mardamej) will take place later this month in Yerevan. For those of you who might not be familiar with the concept, Social Innovation Camps bring together ideas, people and digital tools to build web-based solutions to social problems – all in just 48 hours.  How’s that for a challenge? :-)

As a stimulus for Mardamej’s call for ideas we have been bringing youth activists, representatives from civil society organizations and techies together, from Yerevan and “the regions,” for “itch workshops.” Below is a selection of some of the information and advice we offer to participants, based on the Social Innovation Camp methodology.

What are we looking for?

In short, change. We’re interested in ideas that will challenge conventional wisdom and create new models for solving social problems. Technology-enabled people power is a central focus; the ideas need to use technology in an innovative way, but must also be user-centric. Cheap, simple and easy to use is best.

We’re looking for nascent ideas, not late stage prototypes, and people who are able to devote time to making the idea a reality after the event.

Participants don’t have to know how to code software. We’ll bring together the right people such as software developers and designers to help build the proposed web and mobile-based solutions to social challenges. But all this starts with an itch!

What makes a really good itch?

Focus is important: itches shouldn’t be too big, we’re not going to solve world peace. For example, rather than “people in rural areas are isolated” try “people in rural areas are isolated because they lack access to public transport.” Also, itches should be solution-oriented: rants aren’t constructive, including a “we should” in the itch makes it easier to work with. For example, not “young people find it difficult to access the labour market” but “young people find it difficult to access the labour market so we should match them with internships and apprenticeships.”

The itches are grouped into themes and participants are asked to turn their groups of itches into ideas by answering the following questions:

  • What’s the problem you’re trying to solve?
  • What technology are you going to use?
  • How will you sustain your idea?
  • How will you get people to use your idea?

Finally, we close by asking participants to submit their ideas to the Mardamej website.

To date, we’ve hosted eleven workshops. Watch out for further posts on the ideas submitted….