Our number one ask is that openness be at the core of your idea
and/or its implementation.
Openness is not an add on. It is a fundamental approach to both
participation and intellectual property. Other than that, there
are no absolute rules, only strong suggestions.
Address your application to us and customise it
accordingly. Generic proposal material does not tell us why we
should specifically support you.
We’ve invested in OERs, education platforms and re-imagining
peer learning before. Although this remains important in the
world, it no longer automatically meets our criteria. We will
need considerable evidence of innovation.
“I will build a platform that will…”: Platforms do not solve
problems. They also do not magically bring people, or problems
and solutions, together. If you build it, there is no
guarantee they will come. Tell us how you will do this and
what the real world processes will be.
“The Facebook for…” or “Like a social networking site for…”:
Facebook and other social networking sites exist. They are
theme agnostic and allow you to engage with others around any
topic/theme/identity of your choosing. They also already have
millions of users. Why does your theme/topic/subset of people
need their own site? Why can’t they just use Facebook or
similar? What will make this specific group come to your
version? How will you let them know about it? Same goes for
“crowdfunding platform for…”.
Just adding technology to an offline process or problem will
not solve it. Participants in the offline process will also
not move to the technology enabled version just because it is
there. What is the compelling reason for them to adopt the
technology version? How will you help them do it?
Building awareness or making connections is not specific
enough. We want to support the exploration of a specific
solution to a specific problem. Enabling others to connect in
order to ask those questions and possibly find answers is
great. We’re looking for more. While we think it is important
and useful for people to come together and we in no way
prevent this from being part of a strategy, that is not
enough. We are looking for a specific result in change in
“I want to inspire (young) people…” People are inspired by
what you do in your own life, not by what you tell them to
do. Do not set out to inspire someone else, set out to make a
difference in the world. Your journey may end up being
inspirational to others, young and old.
“I want to provide information on x to y…” Providing
information only serves to inform; people need a compelling
reason to act. Any information service has to be clear about
the actions they will take to bring about change in behaviour
as a result.
Picture quality on your video is less important than sound
quality. If we are distracted by trying to understand what you
say, your message will not come across.
Offline solutions are still important in the world, and often
the best way of doing something. While we don’t rule these out
completely, it is not our experiment in the world. We far
prefer solutions that include an online, technology enabled
“Mobile” money/payments are being done, and done well,
Let us understand your context. Making it as real as possible
allows us to understand your frustrations and see the
applicability of your solution.
“We can bridge the digital divide” and “democratize
innovation” for “systemic change”. These are all phrases that
are over used and mean very little. What are you actually
doing? For what purpose? What value are you adding?
Quoting others does not help your cause, unless they are
specifically speaking about you and your project. Share your
idea in your own words.
When compiling your video, assume the viewer has not read your
documentation. Set the scene, but ensure that you mention your
specific idea as early as possible in the video.
Focus on what you want to do next. We would like to hear about
how far you’ve come, but this is not a history lesson. It is a
pitch on how you are going to change history.
Openness is not an add on. It is a fundamental approach to
both participation and intellectual property. Other than that,
there are no absolute rules, only strong suggestions.
Lastly, propose what YOU want to do, not what you think we want
to see. Of course it should be tied to our interests -
innovation, technology, knowledge and learning – but an honest
application from the gut lets your passion and commitment shine
through. This is much more likely to be successful than a
formulaic response to a call for proposals.
Your idea may not be for us, but if you believe in it, others will too. Good luck!