Our Idea…Give us your feedback

December 5, 2006


Imagine this.  You arrive at South Station or Ruggles Square or City Hall Plaza or a dozen venues across the city.  There is a giant electronic screen strategically placed with a question or a problem lighting up the board.

Everyone is invited to share their experiences and their solutions in real time. All you have to do is send a text message from your mobile phone or the phone next to you.  The posting comes up on all the screens across the city simultaneously. 

Ideas fly and are shot down or elaborated. Solutions are offered to a posed social problem–How can we make housing affordable? How can we make Boston a green city? Why are people rude on the T? 

Behind the electronic curtain, our Wizard of Oz team monitors the postings.  Maybe once a week or so, they pick some of the most innovative thoughts and throw them out again for the next round of public conversation. We might even ask Bostonians to pick and choose the best three or four or eight solutions. 

We could go to the next stage and even arrange a brain-storming event or meet-up:  Green Boston meet on the Greenway Saturday at 3 p.m.?  T-warriors get together for an anti-rude happening? The goal is to get a buzz, to harvest the lush crop of ideas, to stimulate a new form and new medium for a public conversation. And to get Boston solving common problems on common ground.


What’s Up Boston?

December 5, 2006

Task: To create a city-wide daily bump and connect opportunity for ALL Bostonians 

As published in the 2006 report Innovate Boston!, the Boston History & Innovation Collaborative’s recent research has uncovered several drivers of Boston’s incredible four-century long ability to regenerate in the midst of economic decline.

One such driver, coined as “the bump rate,” encompasses the phenomenon of innovation spurred by people “bumping” into one another in unlikely venues.   For a variety of reasons this phenomenon seems to play a particularly significant role in Boston’s history of innovation; BHIC and the “What’s Up Boston?’ task force are dedicated to finding a way to promote and sustain this trend.

 In the city’s busiest public places, the places with the most potential for bumping and connecting, individuals use their electronic devices as a medium to disconnect (iPods, cellphones, blackberrys).  Is there a way to channel these people through their devices?