Silver lining

Snow dances on the waving plain,
that reminds me of a French or
Belgian landscape,
with the wind.
Then it swirls across the road
like desert sands did in Jordan.

While we drive under low skies,
familiar from the Old Dutch Masters,
a lifetime of pop music favorites,
stored on a previous generation iPod,
plays through the car stereo.

Snow starts falling on an already
whitened Lithuanian landscape.

Yes, the French landscapes,
the desert reminiscent grains on the road,
the Dutch skies, the pop music from
Africa, the Americas and many places
in Europe, are enjoyed along
the Baltic Sea coast.

No matter where you are, you can
find a familiar face if you just
look with an open mind.

A few meters west from the road
ice shelves are pushed up by wind
and water.

Then the sun reappears.
Giving a dark grey cloud in front of us
the proverbial silver lining.
I wish you all could see it.

Making Greenbook real: Open Planet Ideas Development Day

Have you ever found yourself with some time to spare and the urge to do something good with it? And did you manage to do that? Micro volunteering is not easy. Sure, there are several websites, like Sparked, but their focus is mainly on online tasks. What about off-line action? Well, that was exactly the thought of Paul Frigout when he came up with his Greenbook concept on Open Planet Ideas. Standing at a bus stop, waiting for the bus to come, he thought how great it would be if right at that moment he would be able to find a spot close by to make a difference in that short time.
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Making volunteering easier with Greenbook on OpenPlanetIdeas Dev-Day

Have you heard of OpenIDEO? If you have, you know it is a great platform for open innovation for social good.If you haven’t, here’s a short explanation: based on a challenge set by a sponsor, the OpenIDEO community is asked for ideas to tackle the challenge. Based on the design method of IDEO, the first stage consists of gathering inspirations. These are basically examples of how the challenge could be tackled. The next phase is about coming up with solution concepts. This is followed by an evaluation phase and the final step is the realisation phase. Currently, OpenIDEO has two active challenges: ‘How might we improve maternal health with mobile technologies for low-income counties?’ and ‘How might we increase the number of registered bone marrow donors to help save more lives?’ You should go and check them out.

One recently completed challenge was sponsored by Sony and WWF. It asked the question how today’s technology can address the environmental challenges we’re all facing and had a separate channel called Open Planet Ideas. It is completed in the sense that the inspiration, concepting and evaluation phases are all finished now, and that there is a winning concept that is now in the process of becoming real. The concept, called Greenbook, aims to lower the threshold for volunteering, so that people can more easily contribute to changing communities and the environment for the better. On the Open Planet Ideas website and Facebook page, the conversation continues. Everybody is invited to contribute to making this concept real. On top of that, some participants have been invited to join Development Day. I am one of them, and next Friday I will be in London for some intense brainstorm sessions to see how Greenbook can be further developed and refined. As should be with an open innovation platform, participation is not limited to the people in the room! Through the Open Planet Ideas website, Facebook page, and other social media, you can share your input as well.

As you can imagine, I’m looking forward to the Open Planet Ideas Development Day, and will definitely report back on it. In the mean time, the question is: how do you think Greenbook can convince you to do some volunteering, or raise the number of volunteered hours in your community/organisation? And: what issues in your community should be addressed?