Welcome to #OPENandChange Care : An invitation to join us in shared bid for a 100 Million Dollars to fix health and social care

The MacArthur Foundation has decided to deliver a mighty push to fixing the world’s most hairy, entangled, unfixable problems.

The idea is to look hard for a promising organisation, one that has the tenacity and creativity to provide a real solution to a problem (almost any problem is eligible). They will provide the resources: a whopping 100 million dollars.

We have been thinking hard about the problem of providing high-quality, affordable health and social care to all. We think we have a candidate solution: provision of care services by communities equipped with open source knowledge and technology. From where we stand, these communities deliver services that are based on modern science (like those provided by the state and the private sector), yet they retain low overhead and human touch (like those provided by traditional communities).

This is more than just an idea. We have already connected with tens of initiatives out there, and we suspect there are hundreds, possibly thousands more. We are already seeing a lot of interaction and knowledge sharing happening: we think this could be the beginning of a cycle of prototyping-sharing results- improving-prototyping. With sustained support, this cycle could result in an ecosystem of care services building on a shared body of open knowledge and tech – and be ready to deploy at scale before our present care systems collapse.

So, here’s what we want to do. We want to apply for the 100 million dollar grant, with this solution. But not alone. We volunteer to coordinate a “decentralized application”, with hundreds of communities, and organizations large and small, a swarm of solution providers working on a cloud of problems related to the provision of health and social care.

We think we will win. Why? Because decentralization is, simply, a superior approach. Consider:

  • We will deploy much more brainpower than competitors. There are more people in the many communities around care than in any organisation: almost every human has been, at some point, both a care giver and a care receiver. We are all experts, we all have something to contribute.
  • We will use more effectively the brainpower that we do have. Organisations are, by definition, hierarchies: funding one means empowering a small group at the top (senior management, possibly a research group here) to issue the orders for the rest of the organisation to execute. With us, almost everybody is at the top, almost everybody is thinking creatively around her particular corner of the care problem.
  • We are better at learning, because more of us are teachers. Centralised projects maintain coherence via concentration of power and hierarchy. But decentralised ones cannot do that, and they have to rely on knowledge sharing and documentation. With many units collaborating on sharing knowledge and competing (with the world outside, and sometimes with each other) on implementation of care services, you get a highly interconnected network of practitioners. And these networks learn fast: we now have evidence that sociality in access to knowledge and teaching produces better technology than individual smarts. In Edgeryders alone, we have 5,300 documented sharing knowledge relationships.
  • We are more diverse – and diversity trumps ability. Large, entangled problems tend to be badly defined, so that we are not even sure what kind of expertise will help solving them – it’s a bit like having a car that won’t start, and you don’t know whether the problem is mechanical, electric, electronic or the car is simply out of fuel. In this case, assembling a team of the best mechanics you can find is a risky strategy, because the problem might turn out to be electric after all, and no mechanic, no matter how good, has the right skills and tools to solve it. A large swarm of initiatives large and small will be vastly more diverse than an organisation (the Edgeryders community alone is present in over 30 countries).

Join us. You should be involved in applying for the 100 million dollars grant as part of #OPENandChange if you are involved in a grassroots initiative that is contributing towards improved health and well-being of people using/ interacting with it. You could be an activist or social entrepreneur who got the initiative started in the first place. You could also be a researcher, but you need to have full access to the people behind the initiative.You could also be someone who appreciates the initiative and wants to support it.

How to participate. In order to coordinate effectively, all participants are asked to come online in one of the weekly skype calls and tell the others about their work/ project, interact with the community here and contribute their own project planning to the collective bid.

Getting started is easy! Just fill in this form (deadline September 10): http://bit.ly/29BmwxP

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