And the finalists are…

It’s been so much fun watching Social Innovation Camp take on a life of its own. 115 ideas submitted and last Friday our judges chose six to go through to the final weekend. And they are…

A tool to help people take control of junk mail: Going Postal aims both to stop junk reaching your letter box, as well as offering companies alternative ways to get their advertising out — which is good news for the trees that are used to produce the 550,000 tonnes of paper wasted on unsolicited mail in the UK each year.

What if travelers brought more than cash to the countries they visited? You could harness the skills, talent and knowledge of those visiting other countries — whether they’re on business, visiting relatives or simply tourists. Via the web, universities could find visiting professors, hospitals could find visiting nurses, feeding centres could meet five star chefs and Joe the plumber can fix the drains in an orphanage. It’s a new approach both to international volunteering, as well as tackling the brain drain many countries are suffering as they loose talent and skills to migration.

The rush hour’s bad enough for those who have only a bag and umbrella to carry around. But how do you negotiate a city’s transport system when you’re not able to keep up with the commuter scrum? AccessCity aims to develop a site to enable a user-generated view of London (in the first instance, but with the ability to be rolled out nationally and beyond) from an accessibility perspective: helping those who are less able to get around — due to physical disabilities or impairments, or if they need to take children with them — and highlighting what needs to be improved to make simple journeys less of a hassle.

There’s been increasing emphasis on how you give users themselves greater control over the social care they receive in recent years — it’s a huge social and political issue. Visualising Community Need is a project to help people map their own care requirements and use this information to get care providers to better understand the needs of those they are supposed to be serving — turning the system of social care on its head.

People all over Britain run, jog and lift weights. The Good Gym aims to make it easy for people to channel this energy toward social good. The idea is to get fitness fanatics to incorporate visits to isolated older people or the delivery of useful items to dependent individuals into their exercise routines.

Etsy, but for vegetables. This idea uses an online market place to bring together people who grow food in their home, allotment, small holding or farm with people who want to buy locally produced, natural, wholesome foods — just like Etsy has done with handmade craft goods. So there’s less air miles in our food and we know exactly what we’re eating and where it’s coming from.

Last night we got the people who proposed them to come along and explain all at our meetup at the Hub in Kings Cross. Perhaps my favourite moment was when James described one of his feature ideas for Vegsy as ‘Betfair for potatoes’. Anna asked him what had inspired the idea and he replied in an instant ‘ I really like potatoes’.

There’s a twist to all this though. The judges couldn’t decide between four other projects which they so we’ve had to put it to a public vote to see which will be the seventh project at Social Innovation Camp for the weekend of 5–7th December. You can help decide here.

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