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The San Francisco nonprofit TechSoup has started the Netsquared Innovation Awards. On May 30, $100,000 will be split among the three projects that best use technology in pursuit of social change. Recently, online voters narrowed the pool of 152 submissions to 21 finalists. Now, they’ll advance to the NetSquared Conference held at Cisco where they’ll go head-to-head in an “American Idol” type competition, presenting their projects to the crowd VC-style.
I haven’t heard of most of these projects and that’s a great thing. We see the same names popping up in the space, and it’s nice to discover the next wave of new ideas in this area. Krista Van Lewen, who is doing some communications work for them, has divided the finalists into categories. Take a look through and tell - which ones should I write about?
- 100 Innovators - the world's most important story has started to unfold (assisted podcasting and other online tools to tell the stories of social innovators as they unfold)
- NABUUR.com – a Global Neighbor Network (Global peer-to-peer problem solving)
- Addressing Africa's Problems Through Social Networking Sites
- Freecycle.org (recycling via the Web/global gift economy)
- FamilyFarmed.org – connecting consumers, trade buyers with organic/artisanal food growers
- Farmer 2 Farmer Learning: Web collaboration to share global farming best practice
- Kabissa.org (marries social networking and 900+ African organizations to collaborate, share best practices to use Web 2.0 for social change)
- TakingITGlobal.org (Global online destination for young people who want to be involved in social good issues)
- Yankana.org: Social Web Tools for Developing Countries (helps non-profits benefit from social Web tools if they don't' have necessary skills or know English)
- MAPlight.org – tracks political fundraising and voting records
- An Anti-Genocide Community: Building the Political Will to end Genocide (online tools for the anti-genocide community to pool the collective knowledge of this movement for change)
- Global Women's Leadership Network (online collaboration., on-the-ground training)
- HELP International Telemedicine Humanitarian Emergency Mobile Medical Clinic Network (Hardware + people to provide medical help both online and on the ground)
- Stop Family Violence (online community to empower local programs, coordinate activism and increase solutions to family violence in U.S.)
- Maps 2.0 – Geospatial Tools for Nonprofits and Humanitarian Relief (first online resource for nonprofit/humanitarian orgs to share information using geographical information systems (GIS) and digital mapping)
- WiserEarth;: (platform and tools for NGOs, social entrepreneurs, activists, scientists, and citizens to connect, collaborate, share resources and build alliances)
- Youth Assets – Connecting the World's Most Vulnerable Youth (Web-based knowledge management tool to enable youth and their supporters to share critical information about and for HIV/AIDS orphans in Southern Africa)
Software/Open Source Advocates
- Aspiration Social Source Commons (database of all software available to non-profits)
- Big Brothers Big Sisters Agency Information Management (info clearinghouse for disparate BBBS orgs)
- Grassroots.org Toolbox (fully configured set of online tools for content management, event registration, CRM)
- Open Source, Open Standards Video (to YouTube and Google Video as PBS is to broadcast networks – to create the next Firefox for video)
What comes next? The Bloomberg Businessweek Innovation and Design blog chronicles new tools for creativity and collaboration, innovation case studies in both the corporate and social sectors, and the new ideas that have the power to change the way things have always been done.