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Create a Social Network to Solve Global Problems by Changing Personal Behavior

Robert House, ODL-Engineering, UX Designer
March 9, 2017
There are several large problems facing the world in the 20th century: climate change, pollution, water shortage, poverty, food production, health, education, energy, etc. Broadly speaking, there are three main ways of addressing large scale problems: 1) Innovative technologies, 2) Policy change by government and industry, 3) Changing the personal behavior of people. The goal here is to address the last of these. There are many many people in the world who want to become more active in solving global problems, but they simply do not know how. What can I do? People are simply uninformed. The proposed solution is simple: create a social/peer network, and explicitly give people a list of things they can do, changes in their own behavior, which can make a global impact. The site will have a small number of categories (~10), and within each category a list of about 10 things each person can do (switch to energy efficient lightbulbs, commit to only eating meat 3 times a week, etc). These lists will be vetted by scientists and experts in the various subject areas to have the highest impact if performed by a large number of people. When users complete each action, they will earn a badge of completion. This simple mechanism accomplishes 2 things: 1) it allows users a form of EXPRESSION. They express their commitment to change by their actions, which can be seen by their friends and peers. 2) Users can share their accomplishments and encourage others to also complete the same goals. As a large number of people complete the actions, the site can show data on the aggregate quantifiable effect of the changes made by the community. A large goal of the site would be to communicate information about various issues in a way that is easily understood by average people. Subject areas could be curated by subject experts, or even well known celebrity activists. This idea has no immediate monetizing strategy, although there are options. As such, it would have a hard time finding capital funding by traditional methods.


Tuan Le Mau on March 9, 2017

I think this is a great idea. I'd like to come together and discuss with the author of this idea if you happen to stumble across my comment. I am running a Software Dev house in Vietnam while concurrently pursuing a PhD here at MIT. So I figure there may be some ways that I can contribute in technical terms.