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== World Changing Ideas or Crackpot Schemes: ==
[[User:David.reber/blog |]]
I often have various brainstorms for how to save the world. Deep down, I want to try all of them despite how impractical they may seem. If only I could be five people instead of one. If one of these ideas inspires you to take on the project, I will fly to wherever you do it and buy you lunch.
====Social Water Business====
Corporate control of water resources has been advocated for the last 20 years by the WHO among others.
There are very good reasons for this: buerauracries tend to be inefficient, when there is no reward for better performance or punishment for worse performance, buerocrats become lazy and don't run their organizations cost effectively.
However, there are many reasons to come down against corporate ownership of water resources: Namely, people are afraid of putting profit seeking cleptocrats at the top of vital public infrastructure.
After reading Muhommad Yunus's book "Creating a World Without Poverty", in which he spelled out his ideas for [[social businesses]], I have become convinced that a social water business can harness some of the benefits of markets and private ownership, while avoiding problems of profit seeking cleptocrats.
During my trip to Nicaragua this summer, I am going to look into this idea.
====[[Folding bike seat | Folding Bike Public Transport]]====
The basic idea is to make existing public transport infrastructure more efficient by redesigning buss/train seats to accompodate folding bikes. Click the link above to see the whole article including proposed prototype.
====Developing Country Video Blog====
Go to a developing community for a year to live with the locals. Bring a video camera and make sure you have power and can access the internet. Make a daily video report of your experiences for youtube. Something very similar is being done by The Uncultured Project, but short daily videos which include a lot of humor and focus on human stories would be much better.
====Fix Education====
Education today is conducted in a sloppy, inefficient manner. So create a new model for highschools and colleges.
Lectures given in such institutions today are a one way delivery of information. The encourragement of "smaller class size" to promote teacher-student interaction is a lost battle and getting worse. Worse than that is that many teachers are horrible lecturers who cause attending their classes to be a living nightmare.
Then, students go home with a list of problems that they are supposed to solve with no guidance. This is incredibly inefficient. The students get stuck in their problem solving by small details which cause them to spend hours on their own trying to get past their small detail.
I propose we turn education around. The lectures should occur at home by watching well produced lecture videos such as those at Then, students will go to class twice or 5 days a week where, they do their "homework" in groups with a tutor available to guide them when the whole groups gets stuck.
This is much cheeper as the lecturers are only tutors who don't have to be paid much. Also, because the system is more efficient, it produces better educated students.
My prediction is that since institutions are resistant to change, developing countries are more likely to institute such a model first (due to it's lower cost) and then when they start producing better educated students, western instutions will be forced to adapt to keep up with the competition.
It also seems to me that you could run the website as a social business (as described by Muhommad Yunus in "Creating a World Without Poverty") that is to say that adds on the website could pay for full time staff and pay back investors who help to seed the program.
Anyway, if someone wanted to change the world, they would need to start a small tester college of maybe 400 students and 50 staff/faculty and prove the model and then market it. Again, a developing country would probably be more receptive of such a tester college.
====Color Changing Road lines====
This is the best money making idea I have ever had.
There are chemicals that can change color with temperature. I think most people are familiar with color changing hot-wheels which change color when you put them in hot water.
I assume it is possible to create a road paint that is white when its temperature is hotter than freezing. When the temperature is lower than freezing, the paint turns blue signaling to drivers that the road is frozen. Counties located where freezing temperatures are common would be willing to give million dollar contracts to a company who could supply such paint.
==== Appropedia Groups ====
Feasible or not, I like this idea. I want to turn a corner of appropedia into an international project clearing house. Projects like those currently undertaken by Engineers/Doctors without Borders will be posted to a project list. These projects will be taken up by chapters that will spring up. These chapters will be supported by travel/technical manuals that will be hosted here on appropedia.
==== Senior Project List ====
This is really a sub project to the appropedia groups project. I am in the process of compiling a list of AT R&D projects that can be taken up by students for their Senior and PHD topics.
==== Bike Box ====
There have been several [ Bike Boxes] that have been donated to developing countries. It might be economically feasible to turn this into a social business. We would have to hire an American employee to collect and ship the bikes.
Then we would sell it to a mechanically minded slum dweller who would use the profits he made from his new bike business to make payments on the box. Ideally these payments would pay for the shipping and the American Employee.
* eco friendly transportation in communities that lack transportation
* a more vital economy in the community due to the new business and reduced travel costs
* if it was economically sustainable it could be scaled to a program involving hundreds of boxes per year.
==== [[Vision and eye care|Glasses for the Poor]] ====
I have heard this idea mentioned in several books and it seems like one of the most ripe opportunities for a social business.
There are millions of poor people living without good vision with no access to eye care.
The idea is to sell as many glasses as possible as cheaply as possible. The glasses would be distributed by hand drawn carts pulled by glasses salesmen.
With economics of scale you could feasibly bring better vision to millions of people.
==== Book Porting ====
There is a book called the "Appropriate Technology Sourcebook" which lists several hundred books and pamphlets on appropriate technology. These materials are currently copyrighted, but if we could track down the authors and get them to release their copyright, we could port their materials here. Unfortunately, my initial attempts to track down authors was rather unsuccessful.
One benefit of this project is that a lot of authors with an obvious interest in Appropriate Technology would become aware of Appropedia.
There are of course hurdles. Firstly, we have to get current contact information for people for whom we have only a name. Secondly, people may be opposed to loosing control of their intellectual property. However I think that a lot of the authors of these books had noble motivations for writing them in the first place and it is my hope that at least some will jump at the opportunity to allow their work to reach a wider audience.
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