thank you ale!
Also, if you read Portuguese, you can learn more about how Ale is going to use wiki surveys as part of his public health research project.
The image of Tux the Linux penguin is from Wikimedia Commons.
new york city parks
We are happy to announce that the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation has launched a project using allourideas.org as part of their community outreach during the redesign of the Rockaways Parks. One aspect of their outreach that is particularly interesting is that they have created wiki surveys by topic (e.g., shoreline protection, recreation, etc.) and by location (e.g., between Beach 57th Street and Beach 90th Street). We expect that this flexible approach will lead to better feedback from the public.
The Parks Department’s effort with the Rockaways builds on one of their earlier projects using allourideas.org for public outreach during the creation of the 2030 master plan for the parks in Northern Manhattan.
introducing our new design
I am happy to announce that we have improved the look and feel of allourideas.org. The biggest change is that our new responsive design should work well on any device: laptop, desktop, mobile, and tablet.
I would like to thank:
- The ICT4Gov Program at the World Bank for funding Ben Nickolls and his colleagues at mysociety.org to develop some of the initial responsive design code.
- Paul Yuen and Luke Baker from Agathon Group for creating and implementing the new design.
- Twitter for releasing Bootstrap open-source. Without all the work that went into Bootstrap, our responsive design would not have been possible.
I hope that everyone enjoys the new design.
The Success Equation
I am happy to announce the publication of The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing by Michael Mauboussin. I think the title really captures the essence of an insightful and entertaining book. I’m particularly excited about how Michael and his editor, Tim Sullivan from Harvard Business Review Press, settled on that title: they used allourideas.org.
Their wiki survey had the question “Pick the best title for a book about the influence of skill and luck in sports/business/investing” and started with 12 title ideas such as: The Origins of Success: Skill and Luck in Business, Investing, Sports, and Life; Untangling Skill and Luck; and Winning over Lady Luck. Just two days after sending a link to their wiki survey to some friends, they had about 65 new ideas and 2,000 votes. Many of the uploaded titles were quite bad, but some were interesting. For example, one of the uploaded titles that scored well was The Success Equation: Skill Plus Luck in Sports, Business, and Investing. This title, which they later found out was uploaded by Dan Callahan, one of Michael’s colleagues, sounded promising so Michael and Tim decided to blend it with one of their earlier ideas resulting in the book’s final title: The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing.
I think there is something very nice about the way that Michael and Tim used their wiki survey. Notice that they did not use it as a decision-making system. Rather they used it as an information gathering system to aid decision-making. This is, in my opinion, the right way to think about how wiki surveys should be used for complex decisions. An analogy that I like is to x-rays and doctors: an x-ray does not tell a doctor what to do, but it helps a doctor make a better decision. Likewise, a wiki survey didn’t tell Michael and Tim what to name the book, but it helped them make a better decision. Remember, Michael is an expert on this topic — he just wrote a whole book about it — and Tim has years of publishing experience. It would be crazy to disregard that wisdom and completely turn things over to the crowd. But, sometimes the crowd can offer a bit of fresh thinking that can magnify the wisdom of the experts.
If you’d like to learn more about the book, here’s a link to the introduction, which begins with the memorable first sentence: “My career was launched by a trash can.”
allourideas in Chinese
I am happy to announce that the voter-facing portions of the site have now been translated into Chinese. Thank you to volunteer translator Anne An from OpenITP.
All Our Ideas is now available in ten languages other than English thanks to the great work of volunteers. If you would like to help translate the site into another language, please send me an email.
Harvard Business Review asks …
As part of their 90th anniversary retrospective, Harvard Business Review recently used a wiki survey to ask their readers: “What’s your most pressing management issue?” Here’s a blog post that does a great job describing what they found.
bringing our code to your server
We are happy to announce a number of changes that make it easier to set up a clone of allourideas.org on your own server. Why might someone want to do this when allourideas.org is free? The main reason that we’ve heard from users is security. Some of the companies that use allourideas.org for internal deliberations are very nervous about competitors somehow figuring out what they are up to. Of course we take data security seriously, but when there is a lot of money at stake, I can understand why some companies might want more control.
For much of the feedback that led to these changes, we’d like to thank our friends at [a-large-tech-company-that-has-a-corporate-communications-office-that-wanted-the-company-name-to-stay-secret]. Our friends set up a clone of allourideas.org so that their company could use it for some secret stuff that we don’t even know about. But, even though they could not tell us exactly what they were doing, they did send us feedback on which parts of the installation process they found confusing or difficult. Based on their feedback, we’ve improved our code so that installation should be easier for the next group. And, if you’ve had experience installing the code and have ideas for how the process could be easier, please share your insights so that we are can improve this open-source code for everyone.
Below is a more detailed list of some of the changes we made.
we’ve upgraded to bootstrap
We’ve upgraded allourideas to use Bootstrap, the open-source, front-end framework developed by the good folks at Twitter. This upgrade should lead to a more consistent look-and-feel on the site, better cross-browser compatibility, and improved support for mobile phones and tablets. Thank you Twitter for making Bootstrap open-source.
allourideas in albanian
All Our Ideas is now available in nine languages other than English thanks to the great work of volunteers. If you would like to help translate the site into another language, please send me an email.
Thank you Vitor!
We’d like to thank Vitor Baptista from Porto Alegre, Brazil for his recent contributions to our code base. Vitor has made a number of behind-the-scenes changes that should make it easier for other developers to set-up the pairwise-api and allouirdeas on their own web server. These changes include:
- helping us integrate with Travis-ci (more on this in a later post)
- updating some of our gems
- helping us speed up our tests
- adding functionality to the API
The image of Tux the Linux penguin is from Wikimedia Commons.