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Introducing Anish and the upside of optimism

December 26, 2010

Apart from my reputation for randomly pointing to the skies (or ceiling), much like Plato (see images), I am known as Anish and have had the honor of co-founding ChangeMachine. One of the reasons it has been such an honor is because of the energy I get to see in every meeting or communication that our team puts together. As with any enterprise, starting ChangeMachine would be impossible without optimism. But optimism alone is a disaster waiting to happen, and part of my role in ChangeMachine is to make sure our enterprise is as viable as we can make it, even at this early stage. So I wanted to illustrate for you how an integral part of our creative process is to consider the limitations of our proposal and seek ways to tackle them. Let’s take a look at some of the broad concerns that we have heard and had to explore ourselves – and what we are doing to address them, using a method that we can credit to our good friend Socrates.

Dear ChangeMachine, my concern for ‘micro-volunteering’ is evident in its name – the only tasks done are ‘micro,’ so isn’t the impact on nonprofits ‘micro’ as well?

This really is one of the reasons we were founded – to be able to make an impact. So we planned our model in such a way as to accommodate impact, in two main ways. First, the ability to create taskforces – groups of students that collaborate on our platform – will allow nonprofits to crowdsource more meaningful tasks than before. Second, we are in an endeavor to build relationships – between nonprofits and students, among students themselves, and between ChangeMachine and those individuals and institutions that would be our partners, many of whom we are already in healthy dialog with.

How do better relationships mean greater impact?

For impact, we need not only the completion of meaningful tasks, but also some longstanding participation from the parties involved. Because we can’t – and wouldn’t want to – simply enforce commitment, we have had to come up with incentives to increase the probability a user continues to use the platform and provide good work.  Much of this is linked to our plan to approach not only students, but the universities that harbor them. Paul has talked about this concern in more detail here and Annina provides a scientific explanation here.

So you’ve planned to make an impact. But it seems much of this depend on the collaborative interface you are going to be using – how can you be sure it will achieve these things?

I’m glad you brought it up, Socrates (or whoever you are). This is especially pertinent as we head into development, but as you may know, I am not free to give out details until we get clearance from tech. While it may not be an easy task, we believe we have the initial resources (and even more if you vote for us and donate,  folks) and expertise to make it happen, as well as the patience to follow a logical development process.

Optimism is key, but not as much as the careful kind – a quality that has in fact raised many healthy questions to add to those I’ve listed above; questions that we will continue to scrutinize. Interested in helping? Be our Socrates and let us know of your concerns and suggestions for ChangeMachine going forward. We promise to reply.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 7:13 am

    Anish,

    I would like to connect with Change Machine to see if we can partner and support your organization
    We offer a green, socially responsible and sustainable fundraising tool for College students who want to support a cause
    Let me know if we can connect

    Dario Agama
    President
    Green Awakening
    941 803 0610

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