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Solvish: A Platform For Locating And Solving Problems

Have a problem in your neighborhood? Or in the world? Solvish lets you note issues–from a lack of bike lanes to endangered gorillas and get people to work on fixing it, and not just let it pass by.

We’ve all walked down the street, come across a problem––a fallen tree, say–and thought: “Someone should do something about that”. But then, of course, we don’t do anything. It’s someone else’s issue. And it’s hard to know what to do, anyway.

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Solvish–a new service from designers in Hamburg–takes some of the hassle out of locating, broadcasting, and, hopefully, solving problems. Go to Solvish.com, create an issue-page, describe the problem, and let your friends know about it on Facebook, Twitter, or whatever. They can then follow the problem’s status, and offer support, or assistance.

Anton Exner, who created the site this year with two colleagues, says the reason a lot of problems don’t get fixed is that people don’t follow through. Solvish is meant as a platform where people can not only identify issues, but also as a kind of project-record.

“We are surrounded by problems every day,” says Exner. “We see them on TV, or read about them in newspapers, or share them on Facebook. But then they disappear from the timeline. We wanted to create something where you can submit a problem, follow it, and take responsibility. It’s a way of showing some solidarity.”

The premise is also that many problems have universal solutions: what works in one locality can be translated to another. “Hopefully when people submit a problem, it becomes an inspiration for people in other countries, and they say, ‘Yes, we have the same situation here.'”

Exner sees several user-groups using the service: concerned citizens, nonprofit organizations, and companies involved in social initiatives. NGOs have already set up pages–including CARE, and Visions 4 Children.

The service is free to everyone to join, and the plan is to be advertising-free. But Exner hopes to offer a premium version for organizations, like corporations, that want extra features.

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He thinks there’s a place for a social media-based problem-solving platform outside of giants like Facebook. “Solvish is the place to solve problems. Google+ or Facebook are places for entertainment,” he says.

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About the author

Ben Schiller is a New York staff writer for Fast Company. Previously, he edited a European management magazine and was a reporter in San Francisco, Prague, and Brussels.

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