I really liked Adam Westbrook’s post last week in which he published 30 free ideas for multimedia producers and digital storytellers.

Unlike Adam, I’m not very good at writing down my thoughts or ideas in any meaningful way (they always end up on scraps of paper that I lose, which is frustrating). But I do believe that many ideas can work if you get the right people working on it (Wannabe Hacks could’ve easily flopped had we not found the mix of people we did at the start or discovered the fantastic contributors who have carried the site forward since).

For that reason, I’ve jotted a few ideas down here that might be of use for a motivated person/group of people (perhaps including myself). Some of them involve technology, others are more conceptual. And, as Adam pointed out, they aren’t all world beaters, some may even already exist, but I thought I’d throw them out there anyway. I’ll add any more ideas as and when I think of them.

1. News tags – a lightweight CMS with the ability to add your own tags to content like Wikipedia or Amazon. Allows you to search content easier and it becomes a community/loyalty feature (prizes for most tags, ability to follow users etc)

2. Peeing for charityurinal games aren’t new but making that act result in something positive is. Charge a corporate to sponsor x number of urinals, two thirds is set aside for charities and urinal users choose one of three charities to donate to by peeing on that charity’s target.

3. Conversation carriages on trains – we have quiet carriages, why not have places where talking in encouraged? It could be a great places to meet people/talk/make contacts/solve problems.

4. Campaign matchmaker – meaningful change is difficult but can be easier when organisations/companies partner up to exert pressure, as we found during the The┬áTimes #cyclesafe campaign. But it’s hard when a) you don’t know what they’re working on and b) who to contact. Basically ElectNext but for companies.

5. An event for 18-25 year olds interested in the media – part hack day/part workshop and video streamed, the idea would be to connect students and get them to think of new projects/start ups they can go away and work on. Wannabe Hacks threw around a similar idea with Joseph Stashko but sadly it didn’t come to anything.

6. Text donate for the homeless - people who can afford to don’t give to the homeless because they don’t have change or because they’re worried what the money will be spent on. A SMS number or code linked to voucher card that can be used in major supermarkets/ housing associations might help. The technology is already there in the form of JustTextDonate.

7. Changing language on signs to say ‘travel’ - it annoys me that road signs on the way into small towns and villages say ‘please drive carefully’. Why not use ‘travel’ and not make it┬ámode specific? It might have a subtle affect on car user behaviour towards cyclists.

8. Making road repairers cycle to work once a week - when roads/paths are repaired, they are often badly done whether as a result of bad worksmanship or unrealistic targets. Getting these workers to cycle over existing repairs might help with the former nd make them realise the discomfort and danger of bad repairs

9. Send maps/directions to SMS – when I’m out, need directions to somewhere and can’t get 3G or wifi, it’s frustrating and I’m often late as a result. Sending to SMS/saving for offline would be a nice option.


  1. [...] Journalist Ben Whitelaw has added some of his spare ideas on his blog. Let me know if you do the same and I’ll link to them too. 0.000000 0.000000 Share [...]

Ideas going spare: a rolling list