When starting a small business or launching an idea, the biggest hurdle is often obtaining the seed money necessary to get the venture off the ground. One often has to rely on the depths of their own pockets, generous relatives, or the goodwill of a loaded investor. The Internet and the advent of crowdfunding offers an alternative that promises to turn this model on its head. Individuals around the world are able to make affordable contributions to projects that they feel a personal connection to or would like to see come into fruition for one reason or another. Some donate as little as ten bucks, while others donate thousands of dollars, creating a system of investment that is readily reminiscent of the creation of Linux or other open-sourced projects.

In order to develop this travelogue on crowdfunding, we have each chosen a particular website that will serve as our individual “case study” for the duration of the project. Using a set of predetermined methods, we will each accumulate data on our selected site, and then compile our findings, comparing and contrasting in order to shed some light on this online phenomenon.
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Please watch the TED Talk first.

Salman Khan talks about how and why he created the remarkable Khan Academy, a carefully structured series of educational videos offering complete curricula in math and, now, other subjects. He shows the power of interactive exercises, and calls for teachers to consider flipping the traditional classroom script — give students video lectures to watch at home, and do “homework” in the classroom with the teacher available to help.” Read the rest of this entry »

The open source movement of the 1980s – 1990s did wonders for the distribution of free, quality software like GNU and Linux. Best of all, open source allowed the public to continuously develop the code, allowing for rapid improvement and benefitting from “cheap failure.”  So what happens when we take the same principle of global collaboration and apply it to global issues? Can the methodology behind software development be useful in creating social innovation? Read the rest of this entry »

Deviating away from my initial proposal, I have decided to take the opposite route: instead of researching how we can innovate social media, I am instead hoping to understand how social media is impacting innovation. IDEO, a global design consultancy known for their implementation of design thinking to develop innovative solutions for various companies, has established an online community called OpenIDEO, an online platform designed for creative thinkers to collaborate and share ideas, information, inspiration, concepts, and evaluations. Read the rest of this entry »