A friend recently sent me an article on what BMW was sponsoring in an Urban Think Tank deployed in NYC. The website describing the project struck me as a bit self-congratulatory for a venture that had yet to accomplish anything and in reading more about it, I got to thinking about how this type of platform could actually serve the community. How without the luxury of a big budget you can actually source problems from the community and put them into action.
Here is a rough outline of how I see it working:
POP-UP PARTICIPATION PODS
Pop up a tent like structure with a gas generator to power light electronics. Advertise via posters and radio in the days leading up to an event and have the community come by to eat, drink and talk about problems they face in their locale with advocates trained to ask questions and isolate issues.
A few volunteers are walking in and around the pod talking to residents and getting their permission to enter their cell phone number, after which a text message is sent immediately to them asking them to save the local number in their phone under “Participate” or alike.
In leaving they are asked to text in problems of any kind as they see them. A reminder goes out to all via SMS once per month to promote the behavior going forward.
Pre-screened problems are listed on a city branded website where entrepreneurs can view and apply for grants and/or community sourced funds to relocate and build scalable solutions with an eye on procuring capital and building the business-to-be in the same community with the support of a network of entrepreneur advocates.
Urban Incubation. Global Application.