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December 20 2011


Net2 Featured Projects 2011: Expert Patient 2.0

The first project to appear in our “reflections on 2011” blog series is Expert Patient 2.0, a project submitted to the NetSquared Project Gallery in June 2011. To better understand the idea behind the project, and learn more what happened since it was submitted to the Project Gallery I talked to Dr. Manuel Serrano Gill, an M.D/Ph.D from Spain who is a president of the Education Health and Society Foundation -- a non-profit national institution, based in the Murcia Community in Spain.

If you have any questions to the interviewee or myself, please do not hesitate to ask. Also: feel free to reach out to Dr. Serrano or to the NetSquared team if you would like to support the Expert Patient Project or collaborate on it.


Where It All Starts

Expert Patient is based on exploring how illness management practices are embedded into people’s everyday life, and encourage patients who are currently undergoing a treatment, or successfully finished it to share their experience with others. The overall aim of the project is to empower the patients who suffer from obesity or diabetes by enabling them to act as active participants of the treatment process. Expert Patient 2.0 wants to take the offline therapy meetings to another level -- we can talk and exchange best practises quicker and more effectively in the new 2.0 reality. This is where technology comes into play.



The goal of Expert Patient 2.0 is to translate Dr. Serrano’s expertise into a successful online illness management system. The project would be located on an interactive platform and would involve webinars, video testimonials, articles, forums and online meetups. Even though Dr. Serrano’s project originates from Murcia, Spain it already has an international dimension, as similar activities are taking place in Russia. The project’s aim is to be come truly global (reach-wise), and very local.


What Happened since?

Since Dr. Serrano submitted his project to the NetSquared Project Gallery, he has spoken about the concept at many conferences including one on new horizons of medical care in Novosybirsk, Russia, and has been actively looking for collaborators. 

Leave a comment below or contact the Net2 team -- we will connect you with the Expert Patient 2.0 team!


Coming soon are the blog posts about other great projects and ideas that were submitted to the Net2 Project Gallery in 2011. Want to know which ones? Stay tuned!


November 11 2011


Five tips for creating a successful app-for-good event

Hackathons, coding sprints, app challenges -- oh my! While these types of events can focus on the creation of many things, we are seeing an increase in app-for-good related events. There is no question that such events with an app focus can offer a great deal of collective momentum to address social issues. They are a great -- and fun -- mechanism for bringing together people who are passionate about a cause and connecting them to opportunities to enhance civil society, create social change, and have a real-world impact. 

Here are some tips to consider and great examples of how to create a successful event:  

1. Give your participants ample time to construct an app

Be sure to provide your participants with a well defined time period for creation and clear expectations about the submission time frame. Make sure that your time is reflective of the expected finished product.

On Veterans Day, 11/11/11, LinkedIn and the White House are joining forces to kick off the first ever Veterans Hackday. We are looking for hackers to put together projects that can improve any aspect of a veteran's life.

Veterans Hackday 2011, kicking off today, is aloting their participants four days to create something that will benefits our veterans.. They are also noting the time with a stop clock on their website. A longer hackathon may expect a more polished finished product whereas a code sprint or hackathon anticipates more of a prototype. Regardless, it is important that your expectations and time allotment align.

2. Make it tight. Define specific parameters for your event program

It’s important to focus on and define the challenge you’re looking to address. This helps you to plan a the event, and to ensure success. Narrowing the scope of your programs means people can contribute better.

“Hacking Autism” was launched in June 2011 to seek new ideas for technology applications beneficial to people with autism. / The “Hacking Autism” initiative sought technology-based ideas to open up learning, communication and social possibilities.

This is a great example of a clearly defined cause that is consistently communicated through all channels.  They are looking for "a touch-enabled software application for the autism community". This very specifically addresses this community's special needs. By establishing a clear goal participants are better able to engage with the issue and participate the event.

3. Better together. Select a team of organizers to aid in creation and execution

A great team can make or break any event. Make sure the core planning team, members’ roles, and responsibility expectations are clearly defined right from the start of the event planning process. This will help everyone to work efficiently up to and through the execution of the event. Also, remember to give credit publicly to the hard work of the event team and any others who are supporting the event.

Startup Weekend (Paris) is an intense 54 hour event which focuses on building a web or mobile application which could form the basis of a credible business over the course of a weekend. The weekend brings together people with different skillsets to build applications and develop a commercial case around them.

I love how Startup Weekend Paris spotlights their event team on the event homepage (see the left hand column). It’s a great way to show recognition up front for their work as well as foster additional excitement. It’s also great how each member is a cheerleader for the events and sharing info through their networks.

4. Bigger is better. Bring to the table a diverse audience and participants with a shared passion

More and more coding events are welcoming a greater range of people, not just technically minded folks. Be mindful of the benefits of bringing in a variety of experts and skills of those who are equally as invested in the challenges of a particular cause being addressed through the event. A diverse audience can help to generate even more innovation and depth of ideas or solutions.

Over the past several years, a growing movement of technologists, government officials, and activists has emerged, working to leverage technology to fundamentally change the way government works — to make government more open and more efficient. Over two days in October, the Code for America Summit [brought] this community together for a candid conversation about where we are, where we want to go, and how we’ll get there.

This is an awesome example of how one event brought together very different stakeholders with the desire to help address the same issue. The result, high-value conversation and next steps to change.

5. Sharing is caring. Share the story of the winner as well as the other participants

Even with the conclusion of the challenge there is still much to share. Collect participant stories along the length of the event and share them in conjunction with the announced winner and completed projects.

Apps Against Abuse Contest [A] challenge that encourages the development of applications that provide college students and young adults with the tools to help prevent dating violence and sexual assault. The application envisioned will offer individuals a way to connect with trusted friends in real-time to prevent abuse or violence from occurring. While the application will serve a social function of helping people stay in touch with their friends, it will also allow friends to keep track of each other’s whereabouts and check in frequently to avoid being isolated in vulnerable circumstances. / This application is a step in enabling young women and men to take an active role in the prevention of dating violence and sexual assault.

The winner of the Apps Against Abuse Contest, Circle of 6 from ISIS, was showcased prominently with a great video piece piece that paired a technological explanation of the app with a compelling story. This is a nice way to add context to the event, the cause, and the end products as well as extend the life of the event and help to foster community for a longer duration of time and achieve greater reach.

What tips do you have for others looking to kick off their hackathon or code sprint event? What hackathon events have you attended that you think did one of the above well or ofter other great best practices?

September 19 2011


Cool Apps Roundup: Green Apps

In my companion blog post on Why Apps Are Green, I talked about how apps permit the use of lighter IT infrastructure like mobile phones to accomplish things we previously used to do just on PCs. Mobile phones use much less electricity than PCs, and another benefit is that they make Internet and IT readily available in developing countries.

Another way that apps can be green is because some of them do environmental things. There's a surprising array of them actually. Planet Green's 7 Best Green Apps for Mobile Phones are a good example.

The ones I like are:

  • Ecorio which uses the GPS system on your phone to track your carbon footprint as you travel.
  • 3rd Whale searches for green businesses near you.
  • greenMeter tracks your vehicle's fuel and power efficiency.
  • Carticipate is a social media app with a very clever name to connect you with people who want to carpool.
  • PedNav tells you how to walk, bike or mass transit to wherever you're going and sets you up with an itinerary.
  • The Locavore app offers government and NGO info on which food items are in season in your locale. It also offers Epicurious recipes for them. It doesn't have a market-finder feature specific to in-season foods, however. Too bad.
  • Zerogate's MeterRead is an iPhone app in which you record your electric meter readings and it suggests ways to improve your energy efficiency. It doesn't connect up via the Internet to your smart meter. I found that one on Reuters Green apps that can save you money.

Consumer Reports' 7 free green mobile apps has some good ones as well:

  • The Eco Buzz Widget, for Android, is a configurable environmental news feed.
  • Eco Defense for Android is a game that pits angry plants against dastardly pollutants - for those of us with environmental passive-aggressive issues.
  • Green Gas Saver is an iPhone app that emulates a vigilant back seat driver, reminding you of when you're getting reckless behind the wheel. I don't know if I want that app.
  • iRecycle is Earth911's app for iPhone and Android that helps you find recycling locations for more than 240 types of materials.
  • IP Thermostat is an iPhone app that controls Proliphix Internet-connected thermostats from your phone so you can save on heating and cooling bills. There are now several brands of remote control thermostats that can be controlled from the Internet.
  • Schlage Link is an iPhone and Android app that controls several Schlage home devices including a module for lights, entry door locks, thermostats, and home video cameras. An example of a Schlage home device is the Schlage LiNK Wireless Keypad Entry System. It's much more expensive than a regular door lock, but then the app is free.

Here are a few more green app top picks from sundry publications:

This post was authored by Jim Lynch, Program Manager for GreenTech, and originally appeared on The TechSoup Blog. This is the first in a series of blog posts that we'll be doing as part of our new App It Up project called Cool Apps Roundup.

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