One year ago today, I woke up to find out that my London neighbourhood had been ransacked by looters. The owners of my corner shop had to jump out of a second story window to avoid being burned to death. I was in shock, but I was powerless. I had a newborn in the house so I couldn’t go down and help clean up. Also, as a social media obsessive, my handle @albinoriotman seemed wildly inappropriate so I stopped tweeting for a few days.
So today, to mark the one-year anniversary of this terrible event, I am launching my search to find London rioters who will be willing to learn a new skill that will make them instantly employable. I want to teach them the most important language in the world. I want to teach them how to code so they can make websites and apps. I’d like to help them give back to the society that they ravaged. And then I’d like to see them get jobs not re-offend.
This is a bit ambitious, but I’m going to try it out. I am teaming with Steve Henry of Decoded, the company that helps teach people to code in a day and also Emma MulQueeny of Rewired State, the company that runs hack days as well as Young Rewired State, the philanthropic arm of RS that runs hack days for teenagers.
I am also on the hunt for London-based community-oriented charities that need websites and apps as these will be our ‘clients’ — essentially, the ex-rioters will give back to London by creating topical shareable content and housing them in interactive platforms that will help maximise exposure for charitable organisations that operate on donations and or shoe-string budgets.This is what I’ve been doing for a few years for charities and brands here at Urgent Genius.
Follow LondonCodeRiot on Twitter. I’d love to get your thoughts on how I should go about this little coding movement. Tweet me at @LondonCodeRiot and or @albinoriotman.
Visuals for this post and Twitter background/profile are from the Photoshop Looter which we featured here a few days after the riots.
An example of where a charity has attempted to use Urgent Genius innovation to push their cause and it has actually worked (REALLY well) is Amnesty International’s Sound of Amnesty campaign. It was a petition on behalf of those around the world whose cries for help are not heard. Every time a signature was recorded on the campaign website it was turned into a single music note. When combined, and released these notes formed A Hymn to Freedom. This is clearly a nice idea, but not necessarily ground-breaking. For that, Amnesty International drafted in Shazam.
We all know the disappointment felt when Shazam can’t recognise a song. Well, Sound of Amnesty turned this into a thought provoking positive. Whenever Shazam failed to recognise a song, users saw a special message that said ”Valentina Rosendo Cantu could not make herself heard either. Assaulted by soldiers, she asked for justice but the authorities refused to investigate.”
This prompted 150,000 petition signatures in a single week, a whopping 500% increase in the same campaign when it ran the previous year. The urgent and genius elements of this idea lie in the fact that Amnesty International successfully used a popular service to address a topical issue and dramatically change the course of the cause towards positive ends.
Rate the urgent and genius of this idea below.
Guest post by Nick Mack
Digital Buzz Blog covers The Sound of Amnesty
Simply Zesty on The Sound of Amnesty
The Sound of Amnesty explained on YouTube
With the month of November currently being adopted for charitable causes by the annual Movember movement, new ways of keeping the donations pouring in have emerged apart from the obvious mustachioed staple.
The Gallery of Mo is the brainchild from digital marketing agency twentysix who have formed a creative partnership with the charity. It’s a website that utilises in-house artists for the campaign’s duration, who make their services available to the most generous of givers. For every pound received the artist will donate one minute of his or her own time to create a portrait of the donor, naturally with a ‘tash attached. So the more money received, the more detailed and elaborate the end result. The turnaround for each image can vary, but as Movember lasts a month participants can expect to see the results in a matter of days. But that is not all. Every week a Feature Artist is brought on board to create an original piece for the largest donation for that week. With some truly talented individuals on the bill such as multiple Eisner award winning comic book artist Rob Guillory, this could be an opportunity to land some beautiful artwork while helping a worthy cause at the same time.
Obviously, Movember itself could be seen as Urgent Genius. To spread awareness for men’s health and cancer research, thousands of them effectively become walking billboards for the campaign and the powerful aesthetic of a ‘tashed man has now become synonymous with the month of November and Movember itself. With this latest website, it seems that there is no stopping the creativity involved with this crusade and they are looking to smash the previous total funds raised last year of a healthy £3000. You can help them by donating to The Gallery of Mo here.
Facebook users donate their status to African mothers for Mother’s Day. An awareness and fundraising campaign by BBH for an African health development charity appealed for Facebook and Twitter users to share their accounts with people in Africa for five days. The campaign rolled out to coincide with Mother’s day in France, Netherlands, US and Canada.
Thanks to Plus Aziz for the heads up on this one.
#1000Cranes an initiative encouraging people to give to the aid effort for the Japanese earthquake. By donate a sum of 2 pounds or more you get a pdf of an illustration and the directions to construct your own origami crane. Those who give are then encouraged to place their crane out in the world and then photograph it using instagram.