Non-profit ConvergeUS to bring 'real social change'

A screenshot of the ConvergeUS site
Image caption ConvergeUS will hold a yearly summit to bring innovators together

A new non-profit organisation is aiming to use the power of the open web to create real social change.

ConvergeUS, founded by TechNet's Ray Ramsey and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, believes it can accelerate social innovation by helping talented individuals to work together in the real world as well as online.

"If you think of Silicon Valley, it's known for its openness, and APIs and things like that," Mr Ramsey told Digital Planet.

"We haven't done as much of that collaborative thinking and networking in the social space.

"We have a lot of individual initiatives, and we want to do a little bit more collaboration."

High on the agenda will be the US education system, an area which Mr Ramsey believes can use technology more effectively, particularly in aiding reading proficiency.

"There's a lot of good that technology can do but it could be misapplied."

He believes that while many companies and organisations are looking at ways to improve this situation, very few are clubbing together to share information and put it to good use.

"The consortium of foundations that we're going to be working with, we want to combine forces because they have been analysing it, and studying it."

The organisation is already working with a number of technology heavyweights such as Intel and Cisco.

Yearly summits

The organisation aims to hold yearly summits as well as provide "innovation marketplaces" online, helping talented individuals come together and work.

Particularly exciting, Mr Ramsey says, is work that can be done to help those aging in place - the term given to elderly people who wish to remain in their own home or surroundings for as long as possible.

"We've got, in the United States, in Europe, Japan, a number of countries, an aging demographic to some extent.

"There's some fascinating technologies that enable people to live in their homes a little longer."

"That has tremendous potential when you look at the debates around medicare and medicade and those sorts of issues which will cost a lot.

"We can keep a person in the home a little longer through monitoring devices, and smart pharmacy cabinets and other sorts of things that are there."

ConvergeUS will, as its name suggests, be focusing on American initiatives, but if successful, they hope to bring their philosophy to other parts of the world in due course.

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