Under a span of two decades, the Web has changed the way we communicate, do business, and connect with the world around us. The revolution, however, has only just begun. As public access to vital data such as healthcare, education, and governance become increasingly available, we are witnessing how revolutionary the Web can be in changing how society organises and provides for itself.
But how can that data be used? Who creates the tools that can interpret that data in ways the public can understand, and use to drive transformation? This is what SocialInnovationCamp wants to discover and develop.
The road ahead to Social Innovation on the Web
The Web was made to be social, but it wasn”t until the “Web 2.0” movement that the masses realised how easy it was to connect, contribute and collaborate with others to create better solutions to social problems in the real world. Creating those solutions, however, requires an approach that is radically different from the conventional top-down hierarchies that businesses, media companies, and social organisations have structured themselves.
That”s because the Web”s disruptive nature has up-ended the traditional structures, empowering us to become more than just passive audiences or consumers. With the information and tools available, people want to contribute their insight, make their own analyses and conclusions – from which new ideas and discussions would be created.
When combined with increasing access to the Web across the world, the conditions are now ripe for the social web to become a force for social progress.
What needs to happen next?
Before achieving such a goal, however, the platforms need to be built first – not necessarily by governments and profit-driven corporations – but by web users with bright ideas and the right knowledge and tools to make them.
We think there’s a mismatch between what the technology supplies and what society needs. Whilst Amazon and eBay have become a common way to shop, the expectation that a similar tool might be an aspect of healthcare choices or a child’s education is not yet a reality.
For practical innovations using the social web to have impact they must get themselves some users; but for this to happen, both users and social innovators have to understand and value the potential uses of these tools – they have to ‘get’ the tech.
But this is only half the story. What about the people who can supply the tools: the software developers and designers – the geeks who like their code? There’s a wealth of technical talent out there, but developers and designers are not social change experts. Energy that is currently being driven into creating the ‘next LastFM’ or the ‘next Facebook’ – more tools for already very technologically-savvy users – needs to be given an alternative, social outlet.
So the geeks with the know-how need to be matched with the people with the need to build more appropriate effective software, together.
By bringing together these two groups – technology and need – we’re creating a community of practice where people can experiment, discover, prototype and become advocates for using social technology as a driver of positive social change.
### Entrepreneurs.my is proud to be the Official Online Media Partner for Social Innovation Camp KL in November ###
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