Crowd sourcing

Station Location

Credit: New York Times New York City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) has been working for years to bring a bicycle share program to the city.  Two weeks ago, they announced they had chosen Alta Bicycle Share (of Boston’s Hubway and Washington, DC’s Capital Bike Share, among others) to implement the system in NYC.

While Alta announced that they would be placing stations in Manhattan south of 79th Street and in some parts of Brooklyn, the DOT is also moving forward with a campaign to gather station location suggestions from the citizens at large. As you may be able to see from the map, stations suggestions are pretty much evenly distributed throughout Manhattan and most of Brooklyn, and even some as far away as JFK airport.

What this means to me is that this citizen engagement request may not be effective for station location, which has been done previously with fairly technical analyses, but that it could be effective at raising citizens awareness of the new program, building momentum and expectation before the launch.  Ultimately, this may be a better determinant of its success that particular station locations anyway.

­- Terra Curtis


Good Karma? GoodZuma

This weekend, I ran into a designer friend who told me about his recent web design project: GoodZuma.  GoodZuma, still in the early stages, seeks to provide a platform with which to crowd-source innovative solutions to organizations facing a wide range of nagging problems.  They’re focusing on social, environmental, educational, and health-related issues. How does it work?  An organization posts its “Challenge” on the GoodZuma site.  The organization incentivises users to suggest solutions by offering “Rewards” – e.g. academic credit, cash, a paid fellowship or even job opportunities.

The concerned “crowd” of users is then encouraged to come up with a “Pitch” – a potential solution to the problem – or to simply critique or add on to others’ solutions.  So far, GoodZuma is working with a few organizations including We Can End This (searching for help ending hunger in U.S cities, offering a $1,000 reward) and the Rainforest Alliance (creating an educational and outreach campaign, offering a $1,500 stipend and fellowship).