OPENSOCIETY: "If I could make my ideal society..."
 Posted on 31/05/2014 - 14:34
Idea Outline
OpenSociety is a web service that allows people to create and live by new societal systems that correspond to their own values. It also provides an information platform to support the functioning and well informed decision-making of these societies.

The Challenge
The societies today are characterized by problems such as economic crises, climate change, income inequality, poverty and ill or ignorant governments. Closely linked to these issues are gaps in information, slow, ineffective and bureaucratic decision-making as well as lack of activity by citizens who are frustrated by their feeling of powerlessness as nothing seems to change. Also the politicians are tried as nothing ever seems to change quickly enough. At the same time, companies and organizations are struggling between the need to behave responsibly and the need to maximise their profits that steer them to other direction. To put it short: in our current society many different parties of society are yearning for a change but cannot see a way to make that happen.

The Solution

OpenSociety is a system idea how people can create and live by their own ideal economic, political, legal and other societal systems. It is also a platform for collecting and integrating the information produced by journalists, researchers, companies and individuals to inform the decision-making in these societies. We don't imply any ethical stance aside from respecting free choice. See the ATTACHMENT for how the system works.

If we receive the grant, we will use it to build a prototype of the web service. It is to prove the concept and let people start using some basic functions. We will continue our real-life experiments of the OpenSociety idea to inform the design and show critical points. We'll build cooperation with other organizations and apply for more funding to continue the work.

Target group and social impact
1.Individuals: Empowered to realize their own powers in changing the world. Connect with like-minded people around the world. Easier to live by your own values. Get better information about companies and politicians. 2.Companies: Able to maximize their profits by following customer's ethical values. Committed customers. Understand own actions and production chain better to see where to improve. 3.NGO's: Able to create a society of their ideals. Prove their influence. Inform people and societal decision-making directly. 4.Politicians and governments: Test different policies and their alternatives to reach best solutions iteratively. Comprehensive, easy-to-use information base for decision-making. Active participation of citizens. Increase real democracy and legitimacy of the state system

Competences of the applicant
PANU:Entrepreneur; in Usability Eng. Designs, codes, does maths. GIORGOS:LL.M in Law;MSocSc in Int.Human Rights Law.Knows Nozick and Popper theories on open society. TUOMAS:MSc. in SW Eng. Codes. in Env.Eng. Runs our real-life experiments. in Cross-cultural communication. Communicates. in Accounting; in Industr.Eng. Knows economics&ERPs.

Video Link
None posted
Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement
  • Economic Empowerment and Prosperity
  • Environment and Sustainability
  • Knowledge Society and Education
  • Social Inclusion, Human Rights and Equality

  • Tecnology Category
  • Data
  • Open Source
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

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    Idea Submitter

    CLOTHING PRODUCED BY CHILD-LABOR - Example of using the OpenSociety website.
    Initial situation: You are worried about the possibly use of child labor used in the manufacturing of your clothes. Use the OpenSociety website in one of the following ways.

    ALTERNATIVE 1: You want to know about the manufacturing of your clothes!
    You go to the OpenSociety website and write the name and model of your piece of clothing. You see whether forced child labor has been used, how many hours, how good/bad the working conditions were, how certain this information is and which data sources is it based on. You also see similar clothes as a comparison and how much child labor has been used in their manufacturing.

    ALTERNATIVE 2: Absolute NO to child labor!
    You create a user account for the OpenSociety website. You set your personal value settings so that you don't want to buy any child labor manufactured products, if the information is quite certain. Now, all these products are shaded in gray color in all your search results. You can explore these products, but to buy them, you need to first change your personal value settings.

    ALTERNATIVE 3: Society for compensating the child labor and steering the shopping behaviors!
    In this alternative you can virtually change the society you live in, at least for your part. You can do so with all those people around the world who want the same change. You first log in with your user account. You join an online society that has set a ”tax” for child labor. When you are buying child labor produced clothing, the price of the product has been raised so that the child can at least be paid a proper salary. All the participants of that online society do the same. All these extra payments are piled together and shared to the child workers of the factories via NGO's or some other light-weight, reliable method organized by OpenSociety. If the child workers in some case have access to internet and OpenSociety website, they money is paid directly to their bank accounts. The online society can together also choose what would be the rule that every participant commits to: paying a proper salary or, for example, for every hour of child labor, paying 4 hours of school for the same kid.

    I find the project very interesting. Especially important I find the implication of activating and empowering people, as this open society gives a way to tackle important problems together that single individuals cannot do much, or where their individual actions don't carry as much weight and influence as acting as a collective. Giving a direct way to influence things that sometimes seem out of our control is very important. Very good idea, I can't wait to see this project developing further!

    I'm actually quite surprised how well the picture sums up all the key elements of an idea of this scale! I think taking part in these societies is very rewarding. Participating is actually as simple as sharing the best ways to live by your values. In addition you just get extra motivation and possibilities from the people around you, who are also committed in living so. The only thing is, that you first need to get the people to listen to you for a while, since the idea is not the simplest. Oh, and I'm so much looking forward to get an OpenSociety mobile application!

    I love the idea of empowering people this way. However, I am curious to hear more about how you think people could be motivated to actually use the system and join these societies. We all have our own busy lives to live and we already have to deal with the responsibilities of the "real" society - why would we want to add new ones?

    Idea Submitter

    Laura, thanks for your question on the motives of participants! The main motivation is that the participant wishes for some specific change in the society. OpenSociety lets her make that change, at least around herself, and she can really SEE the change right away. First in herself, then when others join, in all of them, and if the idea gets world-wide support and the participants have already PROVED it really works in practice, the whole world will change as fast as other people just click to join. The most sceptic people may decide to join only if a certain amount of other people agree to do the same. When the group has reached 50 % of population of some democratic country, they can also make it an official law there. The second part of your question was about the effort it takes to change the world via OpenSociety. People are already voting, boykotting, googling for the impacts of products they buy, volunteering in NGO campaigns and writing on news papers. Compared to all that, OpenSociety is just a more efficient way of changing the society, and it always pays you back right away. In addition, also the less active people are able to participate and make changes, because it takes only few mouse clicks.

    The idea is original and exciting! The new "societies" help groups of people to make their own societal change in grassroot level. I participated in a "waste reducing society" pilot which aimed to reduce waste in households. Seems that people who volunteered for the pilot were motivated by their free will. Of course it might not work as well when there is dozens of people involved.