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ICT & new media

di Betsy Dugas

IBM has opened to the public a new innovative collaboration site with a purpose: ThinkPlace. thinkplace_ibm_1
It is a "place" where real world problems can be proposed as "challenges" and anyone in the world can respond with ideas. Through the forum, the ideas can be continuously built upon by comments from others.
The idea can be connected to other initiatives or information by list of links. Peers can review and rate the ideas. Then the original group of initiators, or catalysts, reviews the ideas and potentially adopts them. Even if the catalysts don't adopt them, anyone can volunteer to help implement the idea.

Almost more interesting that the forum is the second Challenge posted on the site:  "Which areas of innovation hold the best promise for enabling economic development in Africa?" . Here the technology of ThinkPlace is being used for global input on a serious issue, one that is also at the heart of ActNow Alliance . The input from this "Challenge" will be used for IBM's international conference "Global Innovation Outlook"   (GIO) in June. ("GIO, since its inception in 2004, has brought together more than 500 leaders from business, academia, government, venture capital, and NGOs to address pressing needs in areas as diverse as healthcare, the environment and the future of the enterprise.") While this Challenge was asking for ideas to be posted by May 25, it is still open for viewing and commenting. Responses to the Challenge range from: "How Mobile Telecommunications and Microfinances Eradicate Poverty" to "Joint Solution Design with Children @ the BOP (bottom of pyramid)" to "Electricity - a basic need for technological development"

It is always exciting to see technology at the service of humanity and ThinkPlace takes international collaboration over the internet to a new level. ThinkPlace is a sofware application still under development in IBM 's AlphaWorks .
I'm hopeful that Initiatives like this second challenge will gain the visibility and resources needed to make a difference. It will be interesting to see how they actually evolve and develop.