Tag Archives: Social Good Technology

3 New Emerging Technologies for Good

9 Oct

This is a guest post by Missi Winterburn.

3 New Emerging Technologies for Good

New technology is constantly being developed to solve all kinds of problems, from making our everyday life easier to truly revolutionizing the way we interact with the world around us. Social media is undoubtedly one of these developments, and when harnessed in the right way can offer excellent reach and communication for non profit organizations and charities. Because communication is so fundamental to organizing and impacting positive change, it’s important that we share some of the newest, most promising technological developments that could impact our quality of medical care, long term sustainability and access to clean water.

new day rainbow

Technology is continuously allowing new solutions to appear that can help solve problems.

The Nanotube Sponge

Developed last year, the carbon nanotube sponge has some very interesting properties, and huge potential for limiting environmental disasters such as oils spills and providing access to clean drinking water. The sponge itself is made of carbon nanotubes which are essentially sheets of carbon rolled into cylinders. The sheets themselves are only an atom thick. Being made of almost pure carbon, the sponge naturally repels water, but attracts oil. As a result, this material could prove invaluable when it comes to cleaning up oil spills, and elegantly simple approach. Furthermore, the sponge itself is magnetic, which offers some options as to how these might be deployed in a large scale, and recovered. Additionally, the sponges are extremely durable and resistant to burning, which makes them have a long life span. It is also being explored as to how this technology might be further developed to allow the filtration of microbes and harmful bacteria from unsafe drinking water. Currently, this is being explored by coating more traditional polyurethane with carbon nanotubes, and additionally with silver nanowires. The sponges then form a very good conductor, and can cleanse contaminated drinking water with a very low voltage input.

Koi

Nanotube sponges can solve challenges like cleaning up oil spills, and cleansing drinking water.

Robot Doctors

One of the major problems that medical staff often face, especially doctors, is having enough time to get around and visit all their patients. Robot avatars have been developed to enable doctors to interact with patients and do their rounds while being somewhere else entirely. There are currently around seven hospitals in the US making use of the avatars, and one hospital in Northern Ireland is also implementing the technology. This enables doctors to focus on attending to patients from any point in the hospital, while still retaining the advantage of face to face contact and direct communication, in essence. The avatar, developed by iRobot, is still relatively new, but is likely to see more widespread use in the future. Additionally, the advantage of using the avatar is that the doctor has access to volumes of medical documents and information while communicating with the patient directly, but it is not the only new medical technology being developed. According to Licensed Prescriptions, along with some of the other advances in the field, we could see the way we receive care in hospitals become much more efficient – and this could lead to better, faster diagnosis and result in saving more lives.

3-D Printers

The concept and development of 3-D printers has been around for a few years now, but the current advances and implications are staggering. While the basic technology has in fact been around since the 1980s, recent developments have led to major breakthroughs in efficiency and practical application. One of the most fundamental aspects of 3-D printing is that it generates zero waste, and when paired with sustainable materials truly offers a fantastic option for ecologically sounds manufacturing. Not only that, it could completely revolutionize the way we manufacture anything and everything. Currently, 3-D printers can make just about anything you can imagine, from chocolate to glass, titanium to nylon. Once the technology becomes widely available, we could see a huge reduction in manufacturing waste and energy usage, not to mention that almost anyone will be able to print extremely complex and detailed products.

These are just some of the truly innovative and potentially groundbreaking technologies that are becoming a force for good in the modern world. Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we can expect to see many more in the coming years, whether in the form of ‘hard’ tech such as robot avatars, or innovations in accessibility to communications and social platforms. All of these offer us great potential to help shape the world into a better, fairer and more sustainable place.

14 Quotes to Inspire You

7 Oct

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

by 

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Posted: 10/05/2012 5:00 pm

Inspiration can come from many places. Often, it’s something simple that catches your eye and your curiosity, sparking new thinking or a flash of insight. Quotes have long been a source of inspiration for this reason. The right quote can leave one feeling uplifted, or create an “Ah ha!” moment of compassion, happiness, and awareness.

Here are 14 inspiring quotes to give a quick, positive boost to your day!

2012-10-05-InspirationTree.jpgSomething bright at just the right moment can create a beautiful perspective. Photo courtesy of Amy Neumann

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“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~ William James

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Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter@CharityIdeas.

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Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

#SocialGood Stars: @PlantAFish Founder Fabien Cousteau (@FCousteau) on Helping Our Oceans

17 Sep

This article originally appears in The Huffington Post.

Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Good, PR and Marketing Consultant

Social Good Stars: Plant a Fish Founder Fabien Cousteau on Helping Our Oceans

Posted: 09/02/2012 9:08 am

This is the twelfth installment of the Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the eleventh interview with Global Impact CEO Scott Jackson here.

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”
– Jacques Yves Cousteau

Fabien Cousteau was born with a passion for the ocean. His grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, was a prolific ocean documentarian and explorer (134 documentaries, 70 books), and an inquisitive conservationist who helped invent the aqualung, allowing modern SCUBA diving. Fabien spent many years on board the Calypso and Alycone with Jacques and his family, developing a love for the ocean, filming it, and helping its creatures. His father Jean-Michel and sister Celine are also avid explorers, and the three of them completed a three-year multi-hour series for PBS called Ocean Adventures in 2006. Fabien uses his environmental economics degree from Boston University to bring insight into striking balance between regional and global environmental issues and the realities of market economies. In 2010 he founded the nonprofit Plant A Fish to empower and educate local communities by replanting aquatic plants and animals.

Between traveling between France and New York City, Fabien spends a great deal of time on the oceans filming. He also speaks around the world about the Ocean and its ecosystems, and has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Gayle King, and NBC’s Today Show. He is involved with the boards of SeaKeepers Society, Water Innovation Alliance, Millennium Project, and many others, and has spoken recently at TEDx and the 2012 UN Rio Earth Summit.

Here are some of his thoughts on saving the world, one fish at a time.

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Plant A Fish (PAF) is an active, hands-on outdoor education and restoration experience developed by Fabien Cousteau, third-generation ocean explorer, documentary filmmaker and environmental ambassador. Photo courtesy of PlantAFish.org

You’ve said, “The oceans are the circulatory system of life on this planet. Quite literally saving the oceans protects ourselves.” Can you expand on that?

Oceans make up 71% of the earth’s surface and 97.5% of all the water on earth. And around 70% of all food contains ingredients from the oceans, even down to the grain grown using fish meal that may be fed to animals, or the kelp in ice cream. Someone skiing on a mountain 1000 miles inland is skiing on snow from water in the oceans. It’s critical to protect this ecosystem since it impacts all facets of life.

Once you start to learn more about the ocean and all its incredible life forms, it’s nearly impossible to turn your back. That’s why Plant a Fish came about – to educate, empower, and help restore these amazing creatures and ecosystems in a hands-on, fun way.

Telling stories visually, through documentaries and photos, is a hallmark of yours. Why do you think that’s so impactful?

Although it would be ideal for everyone to be able to experience the wonder of the ocean scuba diving or on a scientific submarine, since that’s not practical, being a storyteller for the oceans is the next best thing. I started film making when I was 8 and love it. Visual elements are at the core of telling compelling stories, and telling stories is a great way to inspire people and evoke emotions.

This is useful for any organization, visual storytelling. And although the attention span increases with the quality, any tool is a great tool when used properly – even a casual video shot from a smartphone can capture the essence of an event in a way that shares it more fully with the audience. And photos can capture the beauty and emotions of particular moments so they’re recreated for others, and create a desire to help or learn more.

What are some ways individuals can help the ocean?

Of course we offer many programs, and ideas to start an effort in your area, at Plant a Fish. Another great resource is your local aquarium. They will have access to conservation groups, events, and activities you can join to get more personally involved. There are hands-on actitives like beach cleanups and local restoration projects that are an opportunity to have fun and learn as well as protect and restore.

Just as important are simple, day-to-day things, a different way of seeing. Stay curious. Respect nature. Get guidance when doing new activities outdoors. Look but don’t touch. Explore, learn, and share what you discover.

And things like recycling are invaluable, but often come a bit late in the process. Instead, think: Refuse to use, reduce, reuse, then recycle. Conservation and protection are far more helpful to the environment that fixing things after they’re broken.

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Fabien Cousteau was inspired to protect the oceans growing up on the decks of his famous Grandfather Jacques Cousteau’s ships, Calypso and Alcyone. Photo courtesy of FabienCousteau.org

You can learn more about how to get involved with the oceans at Plant a Fish, on Facebook, and @PlantAFish on Twitter.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

Social Good Stars — @CharityWater CEO Scott Harrison

12 Jul
Amy Neumann

Writer, Speaker; Social Media Consultant

Social Good Stars — Charity: Water’s Scott Harrison

Posted: 07/11/2012 5:53 pm

This is the ninth installment of the Impact series, #SocialGoodStars. The people highlighted here are passionate, dedicated philanthropists, strengths to their communities, and social media masters. They also happily share their vast knowledge with others, making them shine as leaders in the Social Good world. You can read the eighth interview with Maggie Nielsen, partner at Global Philanthropy Group, here.

Scott Harrison is well-known worldwide as the charismatic founder and CEO of uber-impactful clean water charity, charity: water. But the story of how charity: water came to be is quite unique. It’s not often that such a colorful, inspiring, paradigm-shifting story happens. Scott’s is just that, and the global impact charity: water has had in the six years it has been around is staggeringly beautiful. I had the honor of learning more about the history and progress of one of the most productive water organizations out there through Scott.
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Click above to hear Kevin Rose’s interview of charity: water Founder Scott Harrison. Photo courtesy of charitywater.org
Raised in a loving Christian home, Scott developed a rebellious side that led him to New York City. Part of a band, he got into the club circuit, then became a popular and wildly successful club promoter for many years. Although the glamorous celebrity lifestyle was irresistible for a time, Scott had an epiphany one New Year’s Eve. “I had become the worst person I knew,” surrounded by and enmeshed in the partying crowd, with no sense of purpose. In spite of what appeared to be a jet-setting, extravagant life, “I was desperately unhappy and needed to change,” Scott says.

So in 2004 he decided to “become the exact opposite of what I was then,” and after being passed over my numerous nonprofits trying to volunteer, he paid Mercy Ships, a hospital ship which provides life-changing surgeries, to be a volunteer in Africa. Having spent his wealth at about the same or greater rate at which he raked it in, his life went from lavish to austere in a flash. As the photographer responsible for documenting the thousands of surgeries Mercy Ships did over the next two years, Scott was astonished by the poverty he saw, and realized how important the most basic things most of us take for granted really were. One day in Liberia, he saw a surgeon dig a well for a village, next to a filthy human water source unfit for animals, and turn it into clean, fresh, safe, drinkable water. At that moment, his life forever changed.

Back in NYC in 2006, Scott dived into his passion to help bring clean water to the one in nine people in the world who don’t have it now — 800 million people. His unique club promoter background inspired an original idea that is now a commonplace and hugely successful fundraising tool — donating a birthday. First he threw a party at a club, and raised $15,000. But next, he thought, “What if people skipped the cab fare, the cover charge, the drinks, and the tips, and just donated that money?” He started with $1 for every year he’d been alive, and voila, the “donate your birthday” revolution began.

And thousands of birthdays donated later (to date), millions of people have been given life-sustaining, clean drinking water. Folks like Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Alyssa Milano, Justin Beiber, and countless other celebrities have given up their birthday gifts to give. And of course, thousands of caring people around the world have too. And not just birthdays — proceeds raised with creative activities like skydiving, marathons, lemonade stands, scrapbooking, mountain climbing, you name it!

One of the most unique, and original, things charity:water is also known for is the 100% model. One hundred percent of all donations go to drilling wells. This was a novel idea, and one Scott was adamant about. “People would constantly mention how they weren’t sure if their money was going to the cause, or to other expenses,” a conundrum he wanted to prevent. All expenses come out of a separate account, so all donations flow directly to water.

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Bringing clean water and joy — charity: water. Photo courtesy of charitywater.org

Director of digital at charity: water, Paull Young, believes a few key brand values have driven much of the growth to date:

“At charity: water we are aiming to inspire a movement to solve the world water crisis. We do this by inspiring through story telling, maximizing the impact people can make by sending every cent given or raised to fund water projects, and then by helping our supporters see their impact by linking their donation to a specific water project.”

And not only does charity: water change lives in the developing world, but Paull and the team are building an experience for supporters that will do the same at home.

“We believe that people want to make a positive impact on the world, but might feel powerless to do so. We hope we can provide that opportunity, and once they see their impact believe that they’ll be transformed personally, just as they change lives in the developing world.”

Another groundbreaking idea was leveraging technology to further illustrate just how life-saving an impact every dollar makes. Before it was a more commonplace service, Scott started tagging wells drilled via GPS, and showing photos and videos of the sites and the happy people they serve. The impact this has is monumental — the story tells itself, through the smiles, joy, and laughter of kids and adults, even in some of the most remote places on earth. With the ability to tangibly not only see the wells, but the phenomenal effect they have on entire communities, donors feel the concrete impact they make in a very visceral sense. And by using social media to spread the message, millions of people get to see those results every day.

“A person dies every 15 seconds from water-borne diseases. That’s an enormous problem. But we are having a positive impact on a large scale,” notes Scott. Recently charity: water raised enough money to purchase two drilling rigs, which exponentially increased drilling ability.

Scott and the charity: water team, along with donors and volunteers all around the world, are indeed having a positive impact. To learn more about how Water Changes Everything, watch this video. To donate to charity: water, click here. You can also follow @charitywater on Twitter, and Like them on Facebook for more.

Amy Neumann is a social entrepreneur, writer, speaker and consultant on social good marketing. Check out her Charity Ideas Blog and follow her on Twitter @CharityIdeas.

Follow Amy Neumann on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CharityIdeas

On Ventureneer: 25 Best Social Media for Social Good Blogs

1 Feb

This is a fantastic collection of Social Media for Social Good blogs, put together by another great blog I often ReTweet: Ventureneer.  I’ve RT’d this particular article dozens of times, and adore every blog listed.  Read on for some of the smartest ideas, and most creative minds, in the Social Good space!  A big THANK YOU to @Ventureneer!

25 Best Social Media for Social Good Blogs

Values-driven organizations – nonprofits, social enterprises and socially responsible small businesses – face a special challenge: balancing social good and mission with revenue generation.Ventureneer has put together a list of the 25 Best Social Media for Social Good Blogs, those blogs that “get” the challenge of mission and/or provide useful information about social media. We hope this resource will encourage and guide values-driven organizations as they expand their use of social media.Why did we make this list? Who are we anyway? Our favorites. How did we rate them? Suggest a blog for next year’s list.
Rating Blog Name Blog Focus
1 Nonprofit Tech 2.0: A Social Media Guide for NPO’s Solid information any nonprofit can use when implementing social media.
2 A.Fine Blog Intelligent, focused.
3 NetWits ThinkTank Nice balance of big picture and details.
4 Amy Sample Ward’s Version of NPtech She keeps up with what’s going so you don’t have to.
5 Socialbrite Excellent how to’s.
6 Social Media Explorer Good general social media information.
7 Sarah Durham’s Duck Call Detailed posts that allow you to drill down to the info you need.
8 Kivi Leroux Miller Nonprofit Marketing Guide Social media within a marketing framework. One of the best.
9 Beth Kanter Eclectic, reflecting the personal curiosity of someone dedicated to improving the use of technology by nonprofits.
10 Katya Andresen Nonprofit Marketing Blog Accessible, helpful tech info for novices.
11 Nonprofit Technology Network Not for the beginner but great once you get started.
12 FrogLoop blog On the mark: social media for social good.
13 Richard Millington/ Feverbee Very specific to community building; excellent!
14 Chris Brogan Practical advice anyone can use.
15 Geoff Livingston In your face writing, thought-provoking, challenging.
16 Joe Waters/Selfish Giving Great info about using social media in a cause marketing campaign.
17 Jay Baer Insights you don’t see elsewhere.
18 Social Media Today Social media strategies for the business side of social good.
19 Social Mouths Good general social media info and how-tos, not for beginners.
20 Companies for Good Excellent tidbits on a wide variety of topics.
21 Social Impact For more advanced, tech savvy readers.
22 John Haydon The place for Facebook info.
23 Jocelyn Harmon Good basics for nonprofits; conversational, practical, and sometimes thought-provoking.
24 Laura Quinn Engaging, tech-focused but accessible.
25 The Dragonfly Effect Runs the gamut, from inspiring to practical, from nonprofit to social enterprise but always social media.
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