The Challenge

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How might we increase social impact with OpenIDEO over the next year? read the brief

Idea

Small Act of Goodness

The Small Act of Goodness website each morning sends an e-mail to subscribers, giving them a small, fun task to implement, which will make people smile
Do you like making people smile? Do you like surprising people? The Daily Act of Goodness each morning sends an e-mail to subscribers, giving them a small, fun task to implement. A task could be - "Today you should compliment the person who you think wears the coolest shoes", or "Today you should place a pressed flower in a library book" or "Today you should write a postcard to your best friend telling them why you think s/he is wonderful"

On the website, people could share their stories and images of what happened after they implemented their act of goodness. These acts could be the acts could feed the "A Goodness Ticker for Impact" concept. 

Large scale social change can happen in small steps... and as Desmond Tutu once said "When you give, you receive". 

This concept has already gone into prototyping, and we would love to hear your comments, ideas and to see you help us 'build this airplane, while flying it". 

Thanks to Arjan Tupan there is now Small Act Facebook group you can join at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Small-Act-of-Goodness/115651551868214

... you can also join in and share your ideas and pictures at: http://asmallact.tumblr.com/
What kind of social impact does this concept achieve?
It leads to daily personal action. And if you spend 5 minutes each day making other people smile... imagine the impact over a year!
What skills are required to take this concept forward?
A person who thinks up 365 ideas of goodness to implement .. and a web developer and a graphic designer
How do you envision this concept being supported financially?
It can be done pro-bono by a web developer and the OpenIDEO community can think up 365 Acts of Goodness
Virtual Team:
Thanks to the IDEO brainstormers who inspired me to build on their idea. Thanks to Meena for encouraging me to post the concept

Comments

Join the conversation and post a comment.

Haiyan Zhang

September 23, 2011, 14:58PM
What about small gifts as a small acts of kindness? For example, I'd love to do a gift circle, where we each get the name and address of somebody else in the circle and must buy them a small, surprising, delightful gift.

Charlotte Fliegner

October 14, 2011, 01:38AM
That reminded me of this sort of gift circle, The Package Project (http://bit.ly/prV9yO), a worldwide swap in which you send a package to another person (who you don't know), and receive one from someone else.

Paul Reader

September 19, 2011, 12:16PM
Great concept Anne - congratulations! Wonderful start to implementation and inspiring work from Ana too.
I posted the link to the facebook page in a comment on this national radio page ( http://www.abc.net.au/rn/lifematters/stories/2011/3318232.htm ) about "Acts of Kindness" initiatives from Michael Landy (British installation artist) - one already underway in London on the "tube", one in Sydney about to start and a third intended for Athens. If you are in Sydney 23 Sep - 23 Oct look out for them (and/or attend a session), maybe post a photo on the facebook page. If you are in London maybe you will see them there if you travel the underground.
The audio segment is about 15 minutes and the "Pool" page will be collecting listeners stories. Check out the various links and videos.

Ana Cecilia Santos

September 15, 2011, 10:12AM
I recently dead this post on GOOD magazine about the project 'Chatroulette for Smiles Snapshots' : http://www.good.is/post/smile-like-you-mean-it-you-could-make-someone-s-day/ maybe a bit more of a 'cheesy' way to share smiles, but nevertheless I think the 'analogue' way we are doing here is closer to the heart :)

Why I share it is because maybe we could implement the interactivity of this idea into A Small Act of Goodness idea in the future, not sure how, but maybe you could send virtual simley's across the world, and upload the smiley you got, place it in your mouth with the face detection feature through the web cam, and share it to your friends on FB or Twitter?

Just wanted to share this post as it reminded me of this winning concept!
Take care all.

Anne-Laure Fayard

September 11, 2011, 22:58PM
and of course congratulations to Anne for the concept... I'm sure it's great to see the concept being brought to life.
al

Anne-Laure Fayard

September 11, 2011, 22:18PM
Ana, I love the idea and the blog.
and I like the fact that you just went and did it.

It reminded me of a day when I was a 14 years old, "dark and melancholic teenager", believing that I had no friends... On that day, I can't remember why, I decided to "stop being sad". The first step was "stop looking sad", understood as "start smiling". I did smile that day, to the sky, to strangers... and I made two friends... :-)
What was surprising was that these people were in my middle school but I've never seen them before!
One was not my friend 6 months later, the other stayed a very good friend for many years...

It made me feel trying again... but with a "take a smile" post-it. :-)

Ana Cecilia Santos

September 12, 2011, 14:44PM
Hi Anne-Laure!
Thanks for your kind comment and sharing :) I think you did a great thing there when you took that first and sometimes most difficult step, it makes such a difference sometimes, I understand you. A smile is something with no boundaries, no race, no age, nothing! Everyone understands and can communicate with a smile and no words, that's what's so beautiful about it.

I'm gonna try and put it on a street in my local community and see what happens!
Take care !

Haiyan Zhang

September 10, 2011, 00:48AM
By the way, Anne, the tumblr blog prototype for this concept is such a great way to try out this idea, but to also prototype what 'Realise this' might look like for community members to blog about their own efforts. Great work!

Anne Kjaer Riechert

September 09, 2011, 18:45PM
Ana, that is AMAZING. I love how you took action on this at Hyper Island. I enjoyed reading your comments too. I will be real curious to hear your reflections in one week as well. How did people react? Did they take a smile -why, why not?

Ana Cecilia Santos

September 09, 2011, 22:26PM
Hi Anne!

Thanks, I wanted to do it for a while but have been busy and lazy really, until today I was seeing all the announced winners and thought this is such a simple and effective concept to implement, I did it !

Well... I think people at first were finding it a bit weird, I set it up at 2pm. After a couple hours I went by and only two papers had gone. Then we went back to work and around 6pm I past by it and all of them had gone ! Then I looked at some of my friends desks to see if they had any smileys' on their desk, and I saw one of my friends had one! I asked him 'oh you took a smile out of the paper!' and he replied 'Actually Fia gave it to me'. That was interesting, my friend knew the smiles were there, and she took a couple to give away to two colleagues in our class. I thought that was really sweet, because she is also a thoughtful person that appreciates this kind of nice act... So maybe next week I need to put a new one up! I took a picture of the paper with all the smileys gone, I'm gonna post it on my blog later tomorrow :)

What a fun challenge to implement, and interesting to observe (wish I had more time to 'watch' though :)
 

Anne Kjaer Riechert

September 09, 2011, 22:57PM
Ana, that is SUCH a wonderful story, which totally endorses the idea behind the concept! If you have time, It would be great if you can upload the story you will write on your own blog, to the SmallAct Tumblr site as well - or maybe just create a link

I placed a few posters around IDEO in Palo Alto today, and at lunch there was only one smiley left in the cafeteria. inspired by you, I will go for a walk later today to see if I can find any and listen to a few good stories!

I send a virtual smiley your way!

Ana Cecilia Santos

September 10, 2011, 18:44PM
Hi Anne !
Thanks for the wonderful encouraging words :) I can certainly write the story on SmallAct's Tumblr too, or maybe reblog it, as I have a Tumblr too ?

I noticed your pics from Palo Alto, so happy to see your motivation too!! Will be interesting to see how people react/look at the papers on the street? I was thinking of putting one up in Stockholm, because I know people here are a bit more discreet and keep more to themselves when walking in public space, so I wonder if they would stop and look, and take a smiley if they saw one... I should try it in a public area like you, this week. If I do I'll report back again on the blog!

Lots of smiles from the other side of the world :)

Ana Cecilia Santos

September 09, 2011, 12:55PM
Hi all. I just wanted to drop a note saying I implemented this concept at my school today, I posted it on 'A Small Act of Goodness's' Tumblr page. Link with story & photos here: http://asmallact.tumblr.com/post/9992783379/hi-everyone-i-finally-implemented-this-little

Congrats again on this great and fun concept :)

Ashley Jablow

September 09, 2011, 20:56PM
Great job Ana! Keep us all posted on what kind of reaction you get.

Ana Cecilia Santos

September 09, 2011, 22:20PM
Hi Ashley, thanks ! The smiles were gona by the end of the day, I left school around 6 and they were all gone ! I put them up at 2pm! I took a photo of the paper with them all gone too. I hope to do it next week with a little different phrase on the paper... It's quite fun :) thanks !

Meena Kadri

September 09, 2011, 00:00AM
Let's make some big noise for small acts! **Congrats Anne**

Anne Kjaer Riechert

September 08, 2011, 23:28PM
I am immensely grateful to: Arjan, Johan, Kirk, Ankita, Meena, Haiyan, Mike, Sabina, Ana, Adriana and Paul for you awesome and constructive support, ideas and inspirations! I am SO incredibly excited and humbled that our "Small Act of Goodness" made it into the Top 10. It sure was a team effort, and I can wait to develop this baby further, and see it grow.

Haiyan Zhang

September 08, 2011, 19:59PM
Hi Anne and Team, congratulations on this fab concept and the beautiful prototype! I'm looking forward to seeing and participating in more small acts of goodness!

Anne Kjaer Riechert

September 08, 2011, 23:21PM
Thank you Haiyan! I cant wait to move this project forward and see how far we may be able to develop it, once I am back in Tokyo with a little bit more time on my hands (-I hope).

Johan Löfström

September 04, 2011, 14:15PM
I have been thinking about having two types of categories for this project. I mean some acts you could read about in the morning and then plan to perform it during the course of the day. But there are also other small acts that you cannot really plan for, example : I always check my pockets and under my chair when I leave a restaurant or bus seat so I do not leave any belongings there. It is very easy to make a habit out of actively looking out for other peoples belongings when you see someone leaving their place with some item forgotten left behind under their seat. (just shout at them: stop you dropped...)

I don't know how to name these types and don't know if it is possible to keep two or more "sets of categories" within the agenda, but i think it would open up a lot to creating a ton more content and infusing long-term good habits in everyone

Paul Reader

September 04, 2011, 11:27AM
Well done Anne! Good to see old-fashioned maxims and principles being revisited in the 21st century.

Adriana Olmos

September 04, 2011, 03:51AM
I really like this…! Inspired by this concept, I was thinking that a spin of this proposal, is to promote exercises to be more empathic towards the people we are designing for… Like learning how to navigate the screen as a blind person, learn to operate a mobile device with gloves (simulating someone who has fine motor problems), learn to use the computer through tunnel vision glasses, etc...

Meena Kadri

September 04, 2011, 22:01PM
Brilliant build, Adriana. And great to see you on the platform after a bit of a break – busy socially impacting yourself, no doubt!

Adriana Olmos

September 05, 2011, 21:16PM
Hey Meena! Thank you! always really nice to read your kind and inspiring comments :-)

Haiyan Zhang

September 01, 2011, 22:21PM
Anne, amazing idea and prototyping. Have you seen the Jonathan's Card experiment? http://jonathanstark.com/card/

Good people using a global Starbucks card and paying it back...

Anne Kjaer Riechert

September 01, 2011, 22:41PM
Love it!

Meena Kadri

September 01, 2011, 22:09PM
Just noticed this from the fab folk over at GOOD magazine: http://bit.ly/good_good Perhaps there's some learnings from their approach that could be built upon?

Anne Kjaer Riechert

September 01, 2011, 22:22PM
Thank you Meena for sharing!

Anne Kjaer Riechert

September 01, 2011, 22:38PM
Great minds think alike

Ana Cecilia Santos

September 01, 2011, 20:44PM
Hi Anne!

I really do love this concept, and I think it could even be a method or 'best practice' that can be implemented in schools and companies all over the world, in order to create a better working environment, with the OpenIDEO 'stamp' on it. I see in public areas as well but I really see it implemented with an education approach to it, as you say, imagine the impact over the whole length of a child's life in primary school after doing one good thing a day ? :)

With regards to a work place, the website could be turned into a giant white board where co-workers could place their daily challenges on there, or tell everyone their small act of goodness from that day.

This is a very implementable concept I think, it's great to see it has gone into prototype phase.
Congratulations!

Anne Kjaer Riechert

September 01, 2011, 22:44PM
Thank you Ana for your wonderful comments (they certainly put a smile on my face) and for your very constructive ideas of how this could be implemented in companies. I love your corporate whiteboard idea. Yesterday I was at The HUB in San Francisco, and they used the mirror and a marker, so you could leave comments on the mirror on how to improve the toilet! It looked really great and was fun to read. I left them a flower

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 31, 2011, 18:07PM
Thank you for the suggestions of adding the Tumblr and Facebook to the concepts. I just did!

I have had friends from Tokyo, Washington, Oslo and Copenhagen letting me know that they would like to participate as well. So we are officially going global!

Kirk Soderstrom

August 31, 2011, 18:36PM
Philosophically, I'm a believer in the cumulative effect of small acts of goodness. Also consider StumbleUpon. It does remind me of the idea that if a person puts a dollar a day into the piggy bank, over the course of a year (s)he would have $365. Or, a marathon begins with one step. In perception, the concept makes grand ideas seem more achievable.

Arjan Tupan

August 31, 2011, 16:25PM
Anne, do you think you can incorporate the Tumblr blog and the Facebook page into the concept?

Arjan Tupan

August 27, 2011, 10:37AM
Right, so I really couldn't wait to take a bit of action on this. I created a Facebook page for this. If you have challenges, please share them here. For now, it is a weekly challenge, currently Do something good for a stranger.
The FB-page is here: http://3bl.me/ntbhmk

Sabina D'Silva

August 26, 2011, 16:34PM
Hi Anne,reading this concept has already brought a smile to my face :). Here's to unleashing the power of connected goodness! One such reallife example that comes to mind is a cafe called http://www.sevacafe.org in Gujarat, India and I think also exists in the US. It's a popular hub for changemakers and Customers here don't pay for their own coffee but contribute as much as they would like for the next person....a circle of giving which spreads love and warmth, just like your idea. :)

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 26, 2011, 17:09PM
Thank you very much Sabina. And thank you for sharing the link as well. I love those "pay as you can" places. It builds trust and equality in society. There are a number of illegal wine bars in Berlin that does something slightly similar. You pay 1 Euro for a glass, and drink as much as you wish (on fridays you can eat as well). By the end of the night, you pay what you think the experience was worth.

I am curious. If you had to propose a Small Act of Goodness challenge ... what would it be? I would love to have a community of people coming up with small acts of goodness challenges for each other daily or weekly

Arjan Tupan

August 27, 2011, 10:39AM
Oh, that is a great idea! I think I saw it somewhere in an inspiration in one of the challenges as well. Maybe even this one, I can't remember. But I love the idea. Could be a challenge for the Small Acts of Goodness as well: give a stranger a present, for example a cup of coffee.

Meena Kadri

August 31, 2011, 06:22AM
*love* Seva Cafe, Sabina! I used to drop by when I lived just around the corner while I served as faculty for a couple of years at NID (National Institute of Design) in Ahmedabad. It is indeed the great sum of many small acts & circles of giving.

Sabina D'Silva

August 31, 2011, 06:39AM
Hi Meena, oh wow tháts like six degress of seperation right there! :)Next time you and all of us at the OpenIDEO team are here in India, we could catch up at the seva cafe or somewhere similar in Mumbai, that would be pretty cool.

Sabina D'Silva

August 31, 2011, 06:50AM
Hi Anne, to answer your question, I would propose calling up 3 people whom u havent spoken to in the last 6 months or year, especially people who may not necessarily be ur friends but could be ur friends parents, long lost cousins / relatives or anyone u feel could be cheered up with one call of rememberance. Sometimes just one phone call to say I'm thinking of you makes people smile :)

Kirk Soderstrom

August 31, 2011, 18:43PM
I would strongly urge the use of the word, "contagious" in the proposal. Smiling and laughing is contagious...harnessing this force, and replicating it online, is powerful.

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 31, 2011, 23:09PM
Kirk, that is really really spot on! Thanks for the suggestion. I have juts updated the tumblr site with your suggested text. Feel free to edit as well. The login info is on the actual tumblr site

Arjan Tupan

August 25, 2011, 14:27PM
As you may have seen, I really like the idea of this concept. And it has been on my mind almost constantly. There are some things I thought of:
- Should we start a Facebook page, so it is easy for people to follow and to share their experiences/small acts?
- same goes for a Twitter account.
- I found it difficult to come up with something new everyday, should we maybe consider weekly challenges? So that people are asked to 'Do one good deed for a stranger each day this week'? Will make it easier to keep coming up with 'challenges'.

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 23, 2011, 20:54PM
That is such a good example Arjan. Thank you for sharing.

A Small Act of Goodness turns a stranger into a friend! That is social impact at its best!

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 23, 2011, 18:52PM
Here is the Small Act of Goodness Challenge of the day:

MAKE A STRANGER SMILE!

Arjan Tupan

August 23, 2011, 19:15PM
I actually did that, today. But it was on a networking event, and now the stranger is not a stranger anymore. Does that count?

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 23, 2011, 18:30PM
Thanks for all your encouraging comments! I am very inspired by S. Karakasis tweet today. He has already started testing the idea in real life, which is just amazing! (Thanks Arjan for paying the concept forward). I would love to do more prototyping. So here is the ...
 
"Small Act of Goodness" task of the day:

DO ONE GOOD DEED TO A STRANGER TODAY!
-it can be everything from complimenting them on a cool item they wear, or opening the door for someone unexpectedly, to helping an elderly lady across the street. I leave that up to you, but I would LOVE to hear your stories! Please share in the comment box.

Arjan Tupan

August 23, 2011, 19:18PM
We need a hashtag as well. How about #smallactofgood ? Then we can post on Twitter and Facebook the task of the day.

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 23, 2011, 21:01PM
I am embarrassingly behind when it comes to Twitter. I have an account but I am a "Silent Bird" (- potentially a dead bird). So, Arjan, do you have an idea about how we could twist the concept so it would work on a Twitter platform?

Your ideas and inputs are most appreciated!

Meena Kadri

August 23, 2011, 23:02PM
Arjan – I'd tend towards just going with #smallacts to keep it short. Could be great if the whole initiative was communicated strongly enough that 'small acts' became synonymous with doing good?

PS. Anne more than makes up for her Twitter-jitters with being an uber-ideator in-house. I've loved every minute of working with her during her current internship with us at OpenIDEO!

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 24, 2011, 00:25AM
Thanks Meena. "Where good people are, good people go" as we say in Denmark

Arjan Tupan

August 24, 2011, 07:39AM
Haha, no, you're right Meena, Anne is wonderful. And with so many networks out there, you don't have to be active on all to be great. It's just that this is so suitable for Twitter, so I'd be glad to take it there. Also, you're right about the shorter hashtag. Will roll with that. What's today's challenge?

Ankita Dewan

August 23, 2011, 10:16AM
I Agree to the concept. wonderful idea. and the best part is all age groups will participate in it. and specially you can get to know so much from small kids specially.

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 23, 2011, 18:32PM
Thank you Ankita. I would like the concept to be 365 days of Small Acts of Goodness, which can be done no matter how old you are, where you are and who you may be.

What could be some examples of acts, that you think would be appropriate?

Mike Hatrick

August 23, 2011, 08:04AM
I really like this idea!

When I think of my typical inbox(es) each morning there are a bunch of emails that I often delete before reading, such as daily feeds from LinkedIn groups.

I'm not saying these aren't useful, more that I usually don't make the time for them.

But an email with a suggestion of how I could perform a small act of kindness? - now that would make me take the time to read it for sure.

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 23, 2011, 18:35PM
Thank you Mike. I agree. Inboxes are very full, and it would be the "death" of this concept, if the push email (subscription) was being perceived as unnecessary spam.

I think it is crucial that the acts are small and limited in time invested by the doer. But that each act of goodness, makes people get such good experiences from doing it, that they want to do more, and get excited every morning when they get challenged to do something else which is fun and will make people smile.

Can you think of some good examples of challenges you would like to receive?

Meena Kadri

August 23, 2011, 23:06PM
Maybe we could have a button on the email for Suggest a Good Act?

Mike Hatrick

August 24, 2011, 07:13AM
Also a good idea....that would help to keep it sustainable

Arjan Tupan

August 23, 2011, 07:04AM
Great idea. I'm all ready for some tasks :)

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 23, 2011, 18:37PM
Arjan. I was very inspired by your eagerness to go out and take action on this right away. It inspired me to start prototyping already today. So today I will make the day better for a stranger! And I encourage you to do the same. Just something small and fun that will make people smile (-and make you smile).

Id love to hear what you did and how it was! Let's build this idea together and share our learnings

Arjan Tupan

August 23, 2011, 19:17PM
As I said in the other comment, I met a stranger whom I got to know on an event, and we had loads of fun together. He's in the country only for a few weeks, and we'll probably meet up another time before he leaves. So, actually, he also made a stranger smile: me.

Meena Kadri

August 23, 2011, 01:47AM
Fab idea, Anne. I think we could have this sit within the OpenIDEO site – it sits well alongside our pursuit of social good. Perhaps each daily task email could have a short description & link to a more comprehensive impact story at the bottom. So the fun task would engage folks – with more impact focused info being passed on at the same time.

Anne Kjaer Riechert

August 23, 2011, 18:49PM
Thank you Meena for encouraging me to put up this concept, which could otherwise have gotten lost in the comment section.

I am super excited about this, and will do my own Small Act of Goodness prototype today. It should be fun making a stranger smile!

I will report back in the comment section how I go, taking the idea into real life.

Can I challenge you to MAKE A STRANGER SMILE too?

I think it would be wonderful to have this feature on the openIDEO platform, but I also see that it could be done for free through a blog, and pushing the Small Acts of Goodness through Facebook links to ones personal profile (-in order to inspire friends to also do these small acts. Almost a similar set-up to my "PIcture of the Day" Facebook concept)

By the way... check out: http://tillykkemor.blogspot.com/ My mum has her birthday on the 27th of August so I have created a surprise birthday blog for her, where I am getting friends and family and other good people to upload an image of themselves, holding up a poster saying "Happy birthday" in their native language. She has no clue I am doing this, which makes it really exciting/ The pictures are just starting rolling in... My mother will get such a shock when she sees it, but I am sure she will be really excited!

Meena Kadri

August 23, 2011, 23:04PM
Your lucky Mum! These are the kinds of stories that could be shared below the fold of the good-thing-to-do-today email – right?!
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