Can we use technology to solve some of Pune’s problems?
A few weeks ago, we had asked our readers, “How to increase community participation in the Pune tech scene?”, and we received a huge number of very interesting suggestions. Please read the comments on that article for the full list of suggestions. We have decided that over the next few weeks, we will put up individual posts highlighting some of those suggestions, and asking for feedback on how best to take this forward.
Start a series on PuneTech where everyday problems (plaguing Pune) are taken and an attempt is made to address them using technology.
Essentially, someone poses a problem (e.g. uncoordinated traffic lights) and puts forward an attempt at solving this problem. PuneTech community debates the feasibility and if it stands the test interested folks come together to take it further. A sponsor willing to put their name (and some moolah) behind the approved initiatives would round this off well.
We are techies. Technology is our strength. So it makes sense that we try to find ways in which we can use technology to solve issues. Granted that technology isn’t always a solution to problems, but it can be a part of the solution, especially if we team up with others (non-techies) who are domain experts. Often, domain experts who are working on a problem at the grassroots are not technologically savvy, and hence are not able to leverage technology well, and a little technology boost can significantly improve the impact of their efforts. This is where we can help.
What is the best method of taking this idea forward? As Unmesh indicated, we can start a series on PuneTech itself where the problems and proposed tech solutions are posed and voted upon. Or we could create a separate, more specialized package that is better at keeping track of votes (if you have good experiences with any such open source package, then let us know in the comments).
What other things do we need to take care of to ensure that this is successful? One thing I strongly feel is that every idea needs an “owner” who is willing to give non-trivial amounts of time for that idea for the first few months. I believe that the number of people intersted in an idea looks like this:
After the initial hype, where a number of people show interest, there comes “the dip” when people back out for various reasons (or just stop responding), and then only a few people are left (in some cases, just the “owner”). It is necessary that the idea owner continues working on the idea and making progress during this time, so that they can come out of the dip towards success. For that, you need to be passionate about the idea, and you should be clear that there will be a chunk of time when you are working on the idea alone. Basically, what I am saying is that you cannot depend upon “community participation”, especially in the early months.
So, every project needs a passionate “owner”.
Please give all your ideas, suggestions, feedback in the comments below.