Social Objects – Rubbish!


Long weekends give me a chance to catch up on some of the podcasts I subscribe to. Today I heard a piece on the Beeb’s Digital Planet from March 3rd about the lovecleanstreets scheme launched by Lewisham Council. Whilst this has now evolved into a community wide crowdsourcing initiative, whereby anyone can report fly tipping, graffiti etc. <o:p></o:p>

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What interested me were the comments of the guy in charge of refuse collection.<o:p></o:p>

It seems that the scheme was first introduced via the refuse collection teams, and from the outset the Council recognised the difficulty they might have in making the reporting of problems by their teams a compulsory duty, on top of emptying the bins. Cleverly they started with a few volunteers from within the teams who were given web enabled phones with the reporting app preloaded. Whilst the fact that they could also use the phones outside of work to access the web, was obviously an additional attraction, the phones and the app became social objects (which Hugh Macleod explains well here) amongst the teams, with the early users showing off and stimulating interest an ultimately adoption amongst their colleagues.

Another interesting feature of the scheme is its attempts to demonstrate transparency and accountability. The site not only allows people to report issues; they can also check progress, see who, in the department, has been assigned responsibility, and even vote on which incidents are seen as the highest priority.

It seems this scheme has not only caught the attention of and been adopted by other councils, it looks like being adopted as far away as Jamaica. From little (social object) acorns….<o:p></o:p>

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