20 July 2012

Jamie Drummond: Crowdsourcing the Post-MDG Agenda

Jamie Drummond, Executive Director and Global Strategy for ONE, delivers a TED talk focused on the much-debated issue of the Millennium Development Goals. More specifically, he discusses what is to come after 2015 and how the new goals will be determined.

"As we gather here in Edinburgh, technocrats appointed by the UN and certain governments, with the best intentions, are busying themselves designing a new package of goals. And currently they are doing that through pretty much the same old late-20th century, top down, elite, closed process."

Drummond explains in a ONE blog post:
What’s exciting is that, unlike in 2000 when the first goals were agreed, internet and mobile phones have spread all around the world. People are more connected than ever. So, I’d like to explore how we could use this technology to involve people from around the world in co-designing an historic first: the world’s first ever truly global poll and consultation on “What the World Wants”. Let’s crowd-source the new Millennium Development Goals. I believe that through this crowd-sourcing we won’t just improve the quality of the goals, we will also increase the quality of support for getting the goals done.
In the talk, he lays out the three steps to move the new agenda forward.
  1. Collecting - Doing public opinion polls wherever possible. Collect a strong baseline survey as a point of comparing the progress countries.
  2. Connecting - Use new media tools to activate and connect with people around the world who can then enforce a level of accountability.
  3. Committing - Achieving the two other steps will compel foreign leaders to commit as determined in the previous steps. It will also require accountability that comes through tools like Ushahidi and Kenya's open data dashboard.
An interesting idea that raises a series of questions: Who will implement the idea? How will the information be collected? Who will be surveyed and how? What are the limits of crowdsourcing? How will this ensure that the goals are in fact right for the people who are affected most by their creation? How is success measured?

I posed a few of those questions to Drummond and asked a few other experts to weigh in as I develop this into an actual story. Feel free to offer some suggestions and ideas.