Austin Ideas for the G-8 Summit from the G-Everyone Meetup

By SUSAN LAHEY
Reporter with Silicon Hills News

The government team at the G-Everyone Meetup

The government team at the G-Everyone Meetup

Three teams put their heads together to tackle the question of using technology for social good in Austin Monday night at the G-everyone meetup sponsored by Mashable and the Social Good Summit. The gathering at Capital Factory included about 20 people. It was recorded and would be made available as part of a 24-hour global digital convening to precede the G8 Summit in Northern Ireland.
Among the ideas the teams came up with:

  • To make government more open and accessible, encourage public voting on issues and even on government contracts—such as those for municipal projects—by SMS. Where those projects or issues are complex, employ graphic elements—such as infographics–to make them easier for people to comprehend.
  • To encourage healthy discussion on issues, gameify public debate with a tool that responds to one person’s input by sharing the perspective of someone on the opposite side. Create a leaderboard and invite thought leaders or, as participant John Fitch called them “Jedi”you’re your side of the debate, to participate. Public forums exist in the city’s site: Speakup Austin as well as sites like Change.org and Whitehouse.gov but the gamefication factor would encourage participation of those who don’t naturally tend toward political involvement.
  • To promote health initiatives, use social media but also cross the digital divide by going to community centers and door to door in underserved areas. Monica Guzman, participant in the team that tackled the question of encouraging health awareness in Austin, said she uses her social media contacts as well as prints flyers and passes them out in areas where technology is not widely used, to share information about health initiatives in the Latino community.
  • Create an app, Health-e ATX, for people to get information about healthcare locally.
  • To use innovation to stimulate the economy, employ a barter system of knowledge or service rather than always relying on money.
  • Create a local currency, Austin Bucks.
  • Promote happiness with the view of promoting economic success, rather than the other way around.

The healthcare team at the G-Everyone Meetup

The healthcare team at the G-Everyone Meetup

Participants in the discussion included Steven Polunsky, Director of the Texas Senate Committee on Business and Commerce, attorney Erin Gilmer who specializes in healthcare, Ruben Cantu, Austin Social Good Summit organizer, and a number of Austin based entrepreneurs. Other partners in the Social Good Summit are 92nd Street Y, the United Nations Foundation, the United Nations Development Programme and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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