The Collaboration Project


This weekend, NASA, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo!, HP and the World Bank, through their Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) initiative, will bring together thousands of people in over 31 locations around the globe to “hack for humanity”. Random Hacks of Kindness is a community of innovation that brings together subject matter experts with volunteer technologists to develop open technology solutions to global challenges. 

The technology challenge initiated by Fragile Oasis for RHoK is to engage and unify humanitarian organizations in collaborating to tackle problems facing our planet – starting with the current Fragile Oasis projects but ready to reach far beyond.  I will be attending the RHoK Austin event with an amazing team to help kick off The Collaboration Project. A video describing the challenge to the RHoK community is at the end of this post.
What Drives The Collaboration Project? 
For almost all of human history, the vast majority of people in the world believed that it was impossible to fly to the Moon – simply because it had never been done before. Human ingenuity and the determination of the human spirit proved that it was possible Today, many people believe that it is impossible to solve many of the problems of the world. It is widely believed that is impossible to lift the poor out of poverty. ‘There have always been poor in the world and there always will be,’ they say.  If we can land on the Moon and return to Earth safely, if nations can join together and build an enormous research facility on orbit, then by working together we can solve many of the challenges facing our planet –including the alleviation of poverty.  Nothing is impossible.
The Orbital Perspective
When we look at the Earth from space, we are faced with a sobering contradiction.  On one hand, we can clearly see the indescribable beauty of the planet we have been given; on the other hand is the unfortunate reality of life for a significant number of our beautiful planet’s inhabitants. As we look down at any part of the Earth, we can feel empathy for the struggles that all people face. We look down and realize that we are all riding through the Universe together on this spaceship we call Earth, that we are all interconnected, that we are all in this together, that we are all family. This is what we call the “Orbital Perspective.”
Beneath  smoke and clouds covering the Horn of Africa, drought and famine. The promise of rain from the clouds is not delivered. Instead, they drift further inland. And, its the high iron content in the desert region that gives the sand its red color. Taken from the International Space Station 10:42 GMT July 24, 2011
We live in a world where the possibilities are limited only by our imagination — and our will to act. It is within our power to eliminate suffering and poverty. We have the resources and technology to overcome almost all of the challenges facing our planet, yet nearly a billion people do not have access to clean water, countless go to bed hungry every night, and many die from preventable and curable disease.
The good news is there are countless people and organizations all over the world working to improve life on our planet.  
The bad news is, for the most part, these organizations are not engaged in a unified, collaborative and coordinated effort.  There are multiple organizations looking for effective ways to pair challenges with solutions, to collaborate and synergize. 
The goal for this weekend is to take crucial first steps developing the platform that will accomplish this. 
The ultimate goal is to reduce the sobering contradiction that we see when we look at the Earth, by helpong those that are striving to improve life on Earth so that it is not only visibly beautiful, but where life is beautiful for all.