Saturday, October 5, 2013

Still Life With Robin: Ideation Nation - A Contest

Image from Ideation Nation
by Peggy Robin

Do you have an idea or creative way to use technology to improve things or solve a problem here in Washington? I wish I did! There ares so many things that need  fixing. The Metro is barely functional on some days (this very weekend, for example, a few key Red Line stations are completely shut down). When there's a dusting of snow, or even a heavy rain, the streets become gridlocked and remain that way for four, five, six or more hours. Then there's the difficulty of getting a newspaper delivered onto the front porch, not on top of the front hostas.

If I had a solution for any of these things -- or any other problem that might be amenable to correction via the creative application of technology (and that stipulation rules out any hopes for entries to cure the present Congressional impasse, I suppose), I would enter the Ideation Nation contest, described below.

Since I have no whiz-bang entries at the ready, I'm hoping to recruit others to the challenge. If you enter and win the prize ($5000), please say you saw the contest on Still Life With Robin on the Cleveland Park Listserv.

Meanwhile, I will carry on as I often do in this space, proposing non-technological solutions to everyday problems, including but not limited to:reducing those yards-long receipts that you get at CVS (I have tackled this problem not once but twice: see and; railing against the abuse of ALL CAPs (; and calling for the elimination of physically hazardous and emotionally frustrating clamshell packaging ( I have my issues!

Before we get to the contest, I would just like to note that the invitation to enter comes from our area transit authority, WMATA. And that WMATA seems to think a good way to address me is "Hey Peggy." First of all, I don't feel I'm really on a first-name basis with anyone at WMATA, and second of all (as I was taught by a wise elementary school teacher), "Hey is for horses." And now here's the contest:

Hey Peggy,

As a member of the online conversation at WMATA: An Online Conversation for the Future, your contributions have been invaluable. And we at MindMixer the company working with your community to host this site want to thank you for helping change your community for the better. We would like to invite you to join another conversation this time, we're teaming up with Code for America to talk about how to use technology to improve the way governments and citizens work together. It's a nationwide call for ideas Ideation Nation.

From now through October 31, we're asking for your big ideas, for a chance to win $5,000 to implement your idea, along with consultation sessions with MindMixer and Code for America.

So if you have an idea for how to improve the way communities work together using technology, head to and join the conversation. Remember, you have until October 31 to submit for your chance at the $5,000 prize. Let the ideas begin!


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv,, and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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