Let your light shine before people in such a way that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  –Matthew 5:16

What if you ran the world and could cure or help anything that came to mind while sitting in front of your HP laptop?

Today, while scanning my Twitter feed, I noticed a very interesting start-up with plans to bring online activism to an entirely new level and change the world in the process (thanks Guy Kawasaki).

I have written a bit about online activist start-ups on this blog in the past and this one seems to have a lot of promise.  Eliot Van Buskirk from Wired writes about the potentially groundbreaking concept of Ifwerantheworld.com in Yes, We Plan: How Altruism and Advertising Could Change the World.

Ifwerantheworld.com’s big idea is to break down large cause related projects into small tasks.  The small tasks will be distributed to members on the website, creating a sort of liquidity of Good.

Indeed, the market for “Good” often seems inefficient.  There are loads of worthy projects that need capable volunteers and there are loads of people willing to provide their special skills in order to help…but very often, good intentions pave the road to nowhere, as the connections necessary to complete worthy tasks are just not made.

According to Van Buskirk, Ifwerantheworld.com works like this:

A simple, Google-like search box on the site will greet first-time visitors with the partially-completed sentence, “If I ran the world I would….” Their entries join a database of action platforms, which platform originators and community members break down into discrete tasks — irreducible atoms of action. Members complete these tasks, assign them to friends, offer kudos for jobs well done and offer advice to various action platforms. Completed tasks and kudos appear on your profile page, which lists everything you’ve done — a little different for most people than everything you say you support.

Where I think their plan gets more interesting is in their commercial approach with companies. Corporations will be invited to participate in the system and they will be able to build “action platforms” to encourage their employees to help out internally.  Externally, the site could match corporations and causes helping to create a kind of quantifiable and visible form of social responsibility (example below).

Again, Van Buskirk:

If Coca-Cola wants to target 18- to 25-year old males, it could use the site to determine which action platforms that demographic supports, and lend financial or employee support. This would let it interact with a targeted audience in a positive way, with relative transparency – no greenwashing allowed…If We Ran the World would let corporations demonstrate verifiable social responsibility while reaching a public that has grown increasingly resistant to traditional strains of marketing.

I look forward to watching Ifwerantheworld.com take off.  The internal/external commercial approach with companies could really work provided the site can reach significant critical mass and attract meaningful levels of attention…However, even if the concept is amazing, the team will need to get the online user experience right the VERY first time.

So what if you ran the world? What would you put into the (soon to be launched) Google like box?  Thoughts?

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