Useful Visitors Big [Social] Idea

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Information about Useful Visitors Big [Social] Idea

Published on May 7, 2009

Author: sicamp08



Runner up from Social Innovation Camp December 2008, Useful Visitors. Their idea was captured and recorded by the Creative Coop:

Our Big Social Idea is called Good Gym UsefulVisitors UV01/MAR09

What is this document for? You have probably received this document because Femi Longe thinks you are potentially suited to contribute something very useful to UsefulVisitors – his BIG [social] Idea. The aim of the next few pages are to help you understand what he is trying to achieve, the people already behind the idea, alongside the challenges and opportunities they face and the partners he needs to engage to move forward – and finally, most importantly.... ...where YOU fit in! If you’d like to get involved please contact Femi at UsefulVisitors: t. 07707318449 e.

What’s the BIG [social] idea? Volunteering overseas can be expensive and time consuming. UsefulVisitors creates opportunities for travellers to connect with organisations who would benefit from their skills, if only for one afternoon. Background and inspiration Concept outline UsefulVisitors is the brainchild of Femi Longe, inspired by his UsefulVisitors is a web service to match international own difficulty finding things to do during free time on a trip travellers, who have lots of skills but limited time, with to Nigeria visiting family and friends. He had always been charities, schools or small businesses in their destination keen to find ways to contribute to African development but countries that they can donate their skills to. was limited by lack of volunteering contacts. He later realized Whether travelling on business, to see friends and family, that if he went to one of the volunteer providing companies, it or as a tourist, UsefulVisitors makes it simple for people to would cost an arm and a leg to be introduced. take part in effective exchanges of knowledge and skills over Surely, he thought, with the power of the internet it must be short periods of time - yet still make a difference. possible to bypass these middlemen and create a service Every one of us has all kinds of experience that charities, that matches people to organisations that could do with their schools or small businesses could benefit from. With as little skills directly at very negligible cost. as two hours to spare of your vacation time, travellers can Femi sees this service bringing disruptive innovation to the start to create positive impacts for the community - simply volunteer tourism industry, in exactly the same way budget by sharing their expertise. In exchange, the traveller will gain airlines changed the airline industry or firsthand insights into local life and the feel-good factor that challenged the travel agencies. comes from a sense of time well spent! He wants his idea to be run as a commercial enterprise In an attempt to redefine the somewhat patronising providing quality service at an affordable price, making connotations around ‘volunteering’, UsefulVisitors prefers to healthy profit yet still having very large social impact on the promote the idea of ‘mutual exchange’. travellers and the host communities.

The story so far... January 2009 What’s the plan? On the back of successfully roadtesting the Useful Visitors A business plan is in development with a view to applying concept at Social Innovation Camp 2008, Femi Longe for seed funding to develop the initial [beta] website, [Founder and Project Leader] is presently building a team to establishing the proof of concept which could lead to more work with him in delivering the idea. There are presently five substantial investment. In-kind support will also be sought at people at the core of the project, as well as a large number of this stage. supporters contributing specialised skills as required. The team are planning to incorporate UsefulVisitors as a business shortly before the launch of a beta version of Femi Longe: background in leadership development training, the site at the end of April 2009. The beta site will test group facilitation and project management with extensive user experience and identify any process flaws – both for experience working with AIESEC, an international charity that runs travellers looking to compare organisations they might like a large international exchange and volunteering programme. to support and the organisations looking for visitors with particular skills. A key issue is that the site will facilitate James Day (Technical Coordinator): background in IT project relationships between visitors and beneficiary organisations management and studying for an MBA in carbon management. which are uncomplicated and easy to manage. James has experience working on IT projects with organisations such as Microsoft, Diagoe, BBC. He previously worked at Social This will involve recruiting visitors from travel agencies and Change Online which provides web services to the government, around 20 organisations in each of 3 African cities initially: community and union sectors in Australia, NZ, UK and the USA • Nairobi, Nigeria Rodrigo Zuniga ((Product Development Coordinator): background • Lagos, Kenya in interactive product design and information technology. Rodrigo works with Deutsche Bank as an IT analyst. • Johannesburg, South Africa Subsequently, the project will be expanded into other cities Neil Ramsorrun (Marketing and Communication Coordinator): and countries across the world. background in interactive media as a video producer/director and digital media consultant. Neil was MD of digital media agency Without diluting UsefulVisitors’ key principle of ‘redefining Gas Street Works and is now working volunteering’ the concept can also be taken to partner freelance. organisations for consideration as an integrated element within CSR programmes – especially relevant for Zanna Rodrigues (Operations): background in corporate organisations with frequent flyers or operations in several communications and sustainable development. Zanna is countries. A global corporate community could be built on from Zimbabwe and has extensive volunteering experience in this basis. Zimbabwe and the UK. Presently works with an oral heritage charity in East London.

Next steps? What does UsefulVisitors need to keep the idea moving? About Femi With the key next steps involving establishing proof of concept and the development of the beta website, Femi Longe is 30 years old. Until recently he the project needs to create traction on several fronts – worked at The Young Foundation as the Project especially in building its social and growth capital to both Lead of the UpRising Leadership Programme. populate the beta phase and fund initial development. He since left in December 2008 to run his own Bringing the right levels of skills to the project now, either organisation, Africa++, an African collaboration paid or in-kind, will make a big difference to creating consultancy. He is involved with Useful Visitors trustful engagement around the idea, an essential facet of as the founder and Project Leader. Femi’s big any online community. passions are Africa, fulfilling human potential and miscellaneous sports (as a spectator) The big [social] idea infogram on the next page gives a snapshot of the landscape for UsefulVisitors right here, right now. It is designed to help identify what relationships need to be built around the idea and, perhaps more importantly, show anyone interested in supporting this big [social] idea how they might fit into the big picture. Interested? If you are interested in UsefulVisitors and would like to find out more, please contact Femi Longe on 07707318449 or email

UsefulVisitors – where do you fit in? human capital people who help to deliver the big [social] idea uk based volunteers business travellers existing volunteers leisure tourists people already volunteering but people frequently travelling or planning people already volunteering people frequently travelling or planning on a local level. a one off trips to do with work in developing nations... a one off journey in their spare time. social capital - business social capital - tourism stage 1: useful visitors proof of concept individuals or organisations that individuals or organisations that can help to grow the big [social] idea can help to grow the big [social] idea beneficiaries stage 2: useful visitors database beta site organisations who can use volunteers charities, small business, enterprise, schools etc in developing nations

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