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One of the UN's targets in eradicating extreme poverty
and hunger is to achieve full and productive employment, and
decent work for all.
In the present global economy, this challenge, primarily,
comes down to connecting people who have the resources
and the will to work with those who need the services.
The infrastructure for this kind of connection
is already in place.
Mobile connectivity in emerging countries has
exploded in the past several years, creating new
opportunities to employ people previously excluded from the
Since intelligent, motivated, underemployed people all over
the world are already connected to the global
network, what lacks now is a venue in which they can apply
their abilities to the countless challenges that
confront the world every day.
We believe that a phone-centric platform, which
we call "ThoughtSoko," can make this happen.
The name is a combination of thought and the Swahili word
And we believe this marketplace can empower
intelligent people to support themselves and their families
in a challenging and rewarding way.
Here's how it will work.
An individual or corporation posts a challenge.
For example, a European advertising executive who
needs a slogan for an international campaign--
instead of creating an internal team for
brainstorming the problem, she posts her challenge to
ThoughtSoko with a specified reward and deadline.
People from all over the world can then view her challenge
and begin considering solutions.
These thinkers then post their ideas to the public domain to
be voted on by others on the ThoughtSoko platform.
The executive then selects the solution which
best meets her need.
And the reward is distributed to the thinker who's answer
was chosen, and to those who voted for the chosen answer,
with a small percentage collected by ThoughtSoko.
Building this concept into a far-reaching, sustainable,
empowering platform requires some novel approaches.
First, only a fraction of people in emerging countries
So the platform will need to allow access from feature
phones, which generally run a limited number of simple apps.
So an ultra-load data version of the
ThoughtSoko app will be available.
For users with the most basic phones, the platform also be a
successful via an SMS interface using rapid SMS
technology developed by UNICEF.
Second, while online bank accounts and Paypal work well
for users in developed regions, the large population
of unbanked users will rely on
alternative methods of payment.
For example, thinkers will be able to redeem reward money
has airtime for their device, which has become a popular
substitute for currency in developing countries.
And lastly, because ThoughtSoko will be a free
marketplace, its scalability is practically limitless.
That means that countless people, from the hard working
mother with a part-time domestic job in Nairobi, to
the senior citizen in Boston with a fixed income, will have
access to challenging, decent work.
And the world will be one step closer to full and productive
employment for all.