Grants/WOVOX - Discover Workplaces!
Describe the project you are proposing as clearly as possible in just five sentences.
WOVOX.com is an open platform that invites everyone to show, find, and be inspired by places where people work.
People spend a lot of time at work, so work’s a big part of life, but it’s hard finding the right place when all you see is corporate websites and job vacancies.
We’re building a tool for people to openly share, discover, and connect with workplaces through pictures, videos, and reviews.
Our future vision: everyone works in a place where they can be themselves, do what they love, with people they like.
To promote the free flow of information and to maximize reach and impact, we add Creative Commons licenses to all the content people add to WOVOX.com.
Detail the tangible project output (e.g., paper, blog post, written materials, video/film, etc.; this would be in addition to the final written report that successful grant recipients will be expected to deliver to CC at the conclusion of the project).
Our website is live, in progress, and almost ready for the public (completion date of version 1.0 set on August 4th 2010). It has all core functionalities needed to do what we stand for. But complete social media integration of WOVOX.com’s essential for our project to succeed.
We want people to share CC-licensed content easily and quickly, in their own networks. And we’re looking to bring CC-licensed content from other platforms.
We want to accomplish the following: • Login with Facebook Connect, Twitter credentials, and OpenID • Open Authentification with services like Facebook • Auto-updates of activity on WOVOX on other social media walls and streams. • Embed CC-licensed Flickr- and Google images onto WOVOX.com to aggregate what’s already on the web. • ‘Follow’ option for workplaces and profile personalisation, so users can stay up to date on new content additions via their own WOVOX ‘home page’.
Describe the community you are targeting. How would the project benefit the community?
WOVOX provides a taste of real workplace experiences. We target people looking for a bite.
They’re seeking a job, or looking for inspiring ideas to apply in their own company. But they can also be companies and organizations looking for talent, who have difficulties attracting it. Finally, we target everyone not looking for a new workplace, since WOVOX may help them rake up the inspiration and courage to make a change in their life.
And to narrow this down a little: we first target people already comfortable with sharing content and experiences online. They’re the early adopters who can demonstrate to others the transparency and inspiration created by sharing workplace experiences with pictures, videos, and reviews.br />
We’re a small team Amsterdam-based online enthusiasts in a network of young IT start-ups.
We’re closely connected to societal changes, both offline and online. We feel part of a generation that’s been given the tools to unveil what’s being covered up, to question our purpose in life, and to discover our passion.
Work’s a big part of that discovery. We ourselves have found a place we love going to on a Monday morning, and we’re passionately driven to give people a tool to achieve the same.
We believe in the power of transparency as a driver of change, and we’ve applied this to several projects already.
http://www.sendsteps.com developed a PowerPoint plug-in so people in gatherings can speak freely. Presenters can post votes or opinions; audiences respond anonymously via TXT (SMS), (mobile) Internet, and/or Twitter. It’s amazing to see how this positively shakes up get-togethers: it brings things to light otherwise left under the carpet, it hugely increases interaction, and it makes for more fun, empowerment, and effectiveness.
http://www.DoetDoet.nl is the Dutch Organization for Electrical Transport (DOET), uniting people who work on making this an everyday thing. DOET stimulates the use of electrical transport through knowledge sharing, with lobbies, and by organizing promotional activities. One example is Oplaadpalen.nl, a website, connected to mobile phone applications, that shows the whereabouts of electrical charge points in the Netherlands. It’s greatly helping people to switch over from petrol, because they can now see how many charge points there really are.
http://www.Taxirating.com is cleaning up the taxi world via a community of taxi-clients, who can rate their rides via a mobile application. This helps turn the world of paid transportation into one of quality, friendliness, and service again – the way it should be.
How will you measure and evaluate your project’s impact - on your main participants? Other contributors? On the larger community?
Quantitatively, we’ll measure visits to our website, the number of registered users, the amount of content and number of workplaces added to our platform, and the sharing of content on other channels.
But more importantly, we measure by the stories people post, the feedback we receive on if and how WOVOX.com has helped them, and by the willingness of companies to let go of their reservations.
Finally, we’ll measure impact by how WOVOX.com helps people to see work no longer as something separate from, but integral to their lives.
How many participants do you expect to be involved in your project? How will you seek and sustain their involvement?
It’s difficult to say: once we have a couple of ‘superpromotors’ connected to us, things can go quickly. What we’re after of course, is a world-wide embrace of the ideas behind WOVOX.
We’re approaching this two-fold: one way is via social media, to engage and enthuse people through our presence on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog; another is by partnering up with organizations in a network of people for whom the concept of sharing experiences online is still new (and scary).
One such partnership is with Kluwer, one of the largest publishers in the Netherlands. They have a strong independent presence in the government field, and they’re one of the biggest recruitment mediators in this field.
Such a partnership gives us leverage to reach out to people less connected with social media.
Describe how your project will benefit Creative Commons' mission to increase the amount of creativity (cultural, educational, and scientific content) in "the commons".
WOVOX is about discovery and inspiration.
Discovery of what’s out there, what’s new, and what’s different; inspiration to pick up on ideas for creating or finding your dream workplace.
Much revolves around creating an environment for yourself where you can spend your working days in a state of flow, creativity, and happiness.
The CC-licensed content generated on WOVOX.com will be added to the ever growing pile of freely available creative work that people can share, remix, and build upon.
And to stimulate the understanding and use of copyright alternatives, we’re very open about how and why we use Creative Commons.
Our legal text is very readable (with a bite), and we have a separate ‘Some Rights Reserved’ page explaining the CC-licenses and the ideas behind Creative Commons – all with links to the Creative Commons website.
Describe what technologies and tools your project will use. What kinds of technical skills and expertise do you bring to the project? What are your technical needs?
For this specific project, we’ll mainly implement social media integration tools already out there.
To embed cc-licensed content from other sites, we’ll be using Flickr’s and Google’s API’s.
For social media integration, we’re opting for Janrain.com’s Janrain Engage technology: it has all the features we need, so it’s just a matter of customization and implementation.
We’ll be working with a couple of very talented developers to make this happen. So it’s not so much a matter of technical needs as it is resources to help those involved to eat, sleep, and rest (i.e.: to pay for it).
What challenges do you expect to face, and how do you plan to overcome them?
Going from a nice-looking platform with clear intentions to a widely adopted tool.
Social media presence, listening and connecting, is one way to kick-start this. But we have to continually work on integrating WOVOX with social networks so people can take their piece of WOVOX pie and eat it elsewhere too.
We have no ambition or illusion to be an all-exclusive platform: we celebrate sharing. But success comes by reaching out to people where they are, not by waiting for them to come and flood our platform.
How do you plan to sustain your project after the Creative Commons funding has ended? Detail specific plans. How do you plan to raise revenue to continue your efforts in the future?
Our most likely business model is one where companies and/or mediators can post job vacancies on specific workplace pages. We're currently kicking off a partnership with Kluwer, on of the largest publishers in the Netherlands. Our cooperation follows that path for government institutions, and aims to cover our operational costs. We have several connections in the same arena, and there’s lots of enthusiasm, so we’re optimistic about the possibilities.
We’re also working on a plan to create more awareness through a campaign. One of those is like BBC’s ‘wife swap’, but for workplaces: people spend a week in a workplace unknown to them, sharing their experiences. Another idea is to set up a ‘most inspiring / transparent workplace of the year’ campaign, to be co-developed with a commercial or public organization.
And we see possibilities where online meets offline: speaking and interacting at workshops, conferences and seminars about workplace transparency, openness, recruitment, and the free sharing of experiences as a tool to inspire and be inspired.
Finally, we have a dream business model: WOVOX.com’s a free dating site for people and workplaces, with a tip jar for successful matches. It’s based on the idea that value can only be determined after the experience, and that people are willing to reward when made easy to do so. Kiva.org inspired us with a similar model for micro-finance loans.
How can this project be scalable, or have a scalable impact?
We know there’s a need for what we’re doing. And this need will help us to scale WOVOX. But fun, ease of use, and integration of WOVOX.com with existing social networks are three crucial success factors.
And this last one can really help us to scale, virally. It brings WOVOX to where people already are, in an environment they already know. This invites participation instead of the dreaded ‘oh no, not another social media platform’ feeling.
What resources and support do you expect Creative Commons to provide to your project to ensure its success (if any)?
We’re applying for the grant maximum of $10,000. We will use it to make WOVOX.com a part of existing social networks. Several examples are OpenID sign ups, Open Authentication with e.g. Facebook, auto-updates on other media of activity taking place on WOVOX.com, and widgets and applications that integrate into those networks.
In addition, we’re very keen on getting your feedback on how we communicate the use of Creative Commons licenses, and on how we can (better) integrate the Creative Commons experience into our platform and other social media.
Finally, we’d be thrilled if Creative Commons could show some love by talking about us. The international Creative Commons community’s a good place to connect with early enthusiasts. Everyone there’s already in tune with our mission, and they can help us reach that critical mass of people, content, and buzz to realize our mission.
Describe how your organization currently communicates with its community members and network partners. (100 words)
Right now, our main channels of communication are social media. Up to this point, our community exists of a few enthusiasts, and people we know and work with.
The final touches of version WOVOX.com version 1.0 are almost in place. After this, we’ll actively start connecting with people via our social networks more actively.
In addition, our partnership puts us in touch with people less familiar with social media. Through conferences, seminars, and workshops, we’re meeting with (potential) users face to face, in a world still coming to terms with the possibilities of Internet. And this is exciting, because their enthusiasm marks the start of a break-through.