The use of crowdsourcing from the people closest to particular social issues to construct integral public policy solutions.
About Your Organization
Country where this project is creating social impact
Is your organization a
Non‐profit/NGO/citizen sector organization
How long has your organization been operating?
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Entry Form title
Select the stage that best applies to your solution
Scaling (the next step will be growing impact on a regional or even global scale)
How long have you been in operation?
Operating for less than a year
THE NEED: Describe the need for your solution and the size/dynamic of the community (ies) you will engage
We have noticed how policy makers in Mexico don’t have enough information about the target population on their programs and these don’t work as expected, and how this population is eager to participate and share their ideas in order to solve the problems; however, there is a lack of a democratic channel that efficiently connects these two.
Yo Propongo engages the population that is affected directly by the issues discussed, therefore, it targets communities at a local level: mainly municipalities and cities. However, the model is replicable, and can be easily applied to a large number of small communities. The model used in Mexico City has already been successfully replicated in Ciudad Juarez, and will soon be replicated in the poorest 200 municipalities in Mexico. In this way, the final target is the whole country, and in the long run, the scheme can be carried out at a global level.
THE SOLUTION: Please explain what your solution offers and how it is innovative. How will you put your solution into the hands of users or beneficiaries? Be specific!
We saw evidence of the power and reach of social media tools and technology everyday, and it seemed just obvious to use them to create the channel we lacked.
Yo Propongo is a social engagement platform that, through the blog, the use of social media tools, and direct surveys using electronic tools – to increase the amount and quality of the information gathered - collects people's ideas for possible solutions to pressing social issues. It is based on the principle that the people closest to the problems possess valuable information on how to address them, and that by compiling a large number of ideas it is possible to construct an integral overview of the problem and come up with a real solution that addresses it through many fronts.
In this way we are tapping into the knowledge of the people closer to the problems, providing policy makers and NGO's with valuable information regarding the problems they are interested in solving. At the same time, we are engaging citizens to actively participate in the solutions to the issues that surround them, raising the level of civic engagement in a critical point of Mexico’s history, in which the social tissue is severely damaged.
THE MODEL: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference through use of information technology and media
Technology is a key element of Yo Propongo, as it allows us to create effective channels for people to engage in a very easy way, which increases the level and depth of their participation.
From QR codes and SMS, to Facebook and Twitter, we try to be present in every channel used by the target population so that their involvement is natural and easy. It has also allowed us to analyze a massive amount of data without discarding valuable information beforehand, with a series of tools, from Google Docs to analyze the inputs in real time, to complex statistic suites to run tests over the data.
We are currently developing our own technology which will allows us to access populations which are digitally disconnected (which we do by more traditional methods such as urns) and capture and analyze their ideas immediately, preserving the raw data.
In this way, we have been able to penetrate in the daily lives of the participants, making participation a trending topic in the communities targeted, and not a random, unnatural incursion into their daily lives. Technology has allowed us to involve the communities in such a way that the project becomes theirs.
THE MARKETPLACE: Who are your peers and competitors? What challenges could these players pose to your success or growth?
There are other NGO's working on the issue in a similar matter. Some recent movements try to get people involved in a series of activities that rarely have an impact, such as sending videos or joining in a public square. Others have developed technology to enable people to get involved (mostly through Ushahidi), yet their approach is mostly technical. We have managed to develop a platform and gotten the people involved. Now we are all forging civic engagement and providing tools, in the future there might be a competition and only the most efficient platforms will survive.
This Entry is about (Issues)
FOUNDING STORY: We want to hear about your “Aha!” moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution’s potential to change the world.
A couple of years ago a couple of friends and I had the opportunity to get involved in the planning process of a public program targeted at people our age. The policy makers showed in the first couple of minutes the lack of knowledge they had in the matter. Our ideas were extremely valuable and helped identify the flaws on previous programs. One of us was livetweeting the meeting and started receiving good ideas from friends and followers.
Then it hit! A lot of knowledge and information was out there, and people really wanted to get involved but policy makers, although they found the information valuable, didn't have the means to access it. Yet we had free tools and the power of media on our hands to collect the information and allow the population to work on a collaborative solution!
Specify both the depth and scale of your solution’s social impact to date
The first issue addressed was drunk driving in Mexico City which is the leading cause of death amongst the city’s youth. We gathered the views of thousands of young people and aggregated them in order to provide a wider view of the issue’s causes and its possible solutions. Succeeding in making thousands participate was the first major milestone. We have been collaborating since with the local and federal governments, the WHO, NGO's and now 65% of the ideas collected are being implemented.
In Ciudad Juárez, Mexico's most affected city by the current Drug War, we joined efforts with the Federal and Local governments to gather ideas to transform a now abandoned horse track into a public space that can function as a catalyst for the social transformation of the City. We managed to implement the platform in a different city and with a very limited budget, and we succeeded in gathering the ideas of more than 5,000 citizens, actively engaging them in the reconstruction of a gravely deteriorating society.
What is your projected impact within the next 1-5 years? Is your idea replicable? If so, how?
The project can be scaled up in three ways: by replicating the model locally in a larger number of cities, increasing the number of participants in each phase through technology-based improvements of the platform, and improving our research ability to have a deeper understanding of the information gathered.
We are currently working with the Federal Government on a plan to bring the platform to 200 municipalities. Our goal is to establish alliances with local governments and NGO’s so that the platforms remain running locally on their own after our initial implementation.
Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and mark growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact
To have the platform implemented in 20 municipalities, efficiently adapting to the particular situation of each municipality to
Further develop the scheme that will allow us to replicate the existing platform in an indefinite amount of communities.
Improve the technological platform so that it can reach thousands of people in places where web-based tools are more difficult t
Establish alliances with local institutions that will allow us to have a wider variety of resources and a deeper reach in each c
Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone
Successfully implement the platform in 50 municipalities, with the necessary infrastructure so that each can run on its own for
Find financial resources, apart from those provided by the Federal Government, that will allow the project to expand (and remain
Develop the final details that will allow the platform to run automatically, which will free our resources so that we can expand
Prepare allied local institutions so that the supervision of the platform can be handed to them, thus guaranteeing its continuat
How many people have been impacted by your project?
More than 10,000
How many people could be impacted by your project in the next three years?
More than 10,000
Explain how your company, program, service or product is structured
What barriers have hindered the success of your project to date? How do you plan to overcome these and other challenges as you grow your solution?
The most important barrier has been the access to financial resources that allow us to develop our technological platform. Our young age and the fact that it was a different and not yet proved model, made it very difficult to find funding in the early stages.
However, due to our past success, we have been able to establish strong alliances with several branches of the Federal Government, and the project is now widely recognized by many NGO’s and others agents involved in social development, including private companies; the demonstrated success creates many opportunities for future financing.
How do you see the information-technology and media sectors shifting over the next decade? How will your solution adapt to and/or drive that changing environment?
The next decade will certainly bring new tools and access to a greater population. We are constantly looking for these in order to add them to the platform, and build on the existing infrastructure so that more people can get involved. Yo Propongo is already proving to be an efficient channel between governments and their citizens, if it continues this way, it will fuel change through involvement and better communication.
Failure is not always an option. If your solution fails to gain traction in the next two years, what other applications of the idea could you explore?
If our solution doesn't work as we expected, we can adapt our data analysis processes as well as our civic engagement methods to other applications such as marketing, open forums and polls, or a lower scale of cityhalls. There will always be a need of knowing what a population wants (for private or public purposes), and our tool is efficient gathering that information. It may be publicly or privately financed.
Expand on your selections, explaining how you will sustain funding
The relationship is becoming much stronger with the Federal Government, and it is becoming a more secure and important source of funding. Despite this growing relation, we have looked for other ways to find funding.
Up until today, we have depended on corporations and the national government to provide our funding, since we didn’t have the necessary legal structure to receive tax deductible donations. However, in the past few weeks we have completed this process, and we are now able to receive donations that are tax deductible, which will allow us to find financing from many new sources.
Tell us about your partnerships
We have built a partnership with the Federal Government to bring the project to the locations when it is needed the most, we have been in Juarez and are working on taking it to the whole country next year. We have partnered with the Mexico City Gov and a number of NGO's to implement the ideas gathered by the platform. We are creating a network of groups to further expand the project, in reach and technologically. Since its creation we have worked with ThinkTanks and researchers to create a solid model and implement the knowledge of similar projects.
What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section?
The team is divided in three groups. The eight co-founders of Yo Propongo that make the general strategies and take care of direction of the whole team. In the second group are the students that are making community service with us, they come from the best universities of México City. In this semester we have more than 30 people in our community service program. The third group is made out of volunteers that support the Yo Propongo because they believe in it but they don't have a rigorous scheme of work. In this semester we have more than 20 volunteers.
Changemakers is a collaborative and supportive space. Please specify any community resources you would need to grow and sustain your initiative. Select all that apply
Investment, Marketing or media, Collaboration or networking, Mentorship.
Specify any resources you might offer to support other initiatives. Select all that apply
Human resources or talent, Research or information, Collaboration or networking, Innovation or ideas.
Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren’t specified within the list
The project is sustentable in all its stages but it increases it's potential if it gets more investment and support in marketing and media. At this moment we have enough human capital, creativity, ideas and we have also developed a wide network of followers, never the less, to accomplish our goals for the next years we need a lot of support in publicity, media, investment and the continuous increase of our network.
Define your company, program, service or product in 1-2 short sentences
Yo Propongo is the social engagement platform that gathers people's ideas for possible solutions to present social issues.
Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences
The use of crowdsourcing from the people closest to particular social issues to construct integral public policy solutions.