Well that was a lot of fun! After a successful outing last time round at the first ever Social Innovation Camp, leaving with first prize with co-founder Denise Stephens for Enabled by Design, I thought why not give it another shot?
Inspired in no small part by conversations with great people like Stian Westlake, Denise and the Enabled by Design community, the idea behind AccessCity is to allow Londoners to record their frustrations, hints and tips for fellow Londoners and visitors to London creating the real view of London based on people’s own experiences. Or as the submission had it:
The rush hour’s bad enough for those who have only a bag and umbrella to carry around. But how do you negotiate a city’s transport system when you’re not able to keep up with the commuter scrum? AccessCity aims to develop a site to enable a user-generated view of London (in the first instance, but with the ability to be rolled out nationally and beyond) from an accessibility perspective: helping those who are less able to get around – due to physical disabilities or impairments, or if they need to take children with them – and highlighting what needs to be improved to make simple journeys less of a hassle.
Through a combination of the sterling efforts of Anna Maybank and the people behind the camp, reaching out to people I knew and a smattering of self-organising serendipity, I was lucky enough to assemble a small but perfectly formed group of extremely talented and enthusiastic developers, designers and usability experts, Jenni Lloyd, Laura North, Kalv Sandu and Chris Thorpe – and me! This fantastic five worked tirelessly over the 36 hours to develop a fully functional prototype ready for the Sunday’s show and tell session (presentation below). A truly remarkable achievement in such a short space of time, especially when you think about how long an average corporate or government web project drags on for!
While there was no win this time round for AccessCity, with first place going to Ivo Gormley‘s rather fun Good Gym idea followed by Femi Longe’s Useful Visitors in second, as with last time it truly wasn’t the winning but the taking part that counted! We formed a really strong and determined team over the weekend, with all of us continuing to meet or talk on a regular basis and working to take the prototype to full beta by early February.
For now, why not sit back and enjoy the video that nicely captures the energy and spirit of the weekend. You can read a nice summary from the Social Innovation Camp crew, get a insight into the thinking of two of the judges Lee Bryant and Umair Haque on their blogs, or even listen to me talk about the project over at the Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast.