A non-profit, United Nations accredited charity organisation, IDEAS For Us, organised a three-day ‘hackathon’, with Orlando-based digital creative agency – Purple, Rock, Scissors (PRPL) – to form their new web solutions platform, www.ideasforus.org.
The platform was presented was presented to Pope Francis at the Vatican on October 31 as part of a two-day summit held by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).
The web platform at www.ideasforus.org , which garnered a Solution Award from the Vatican itself, showcases environmental problem-solving programs happening both locally and internationally for citizens to join in, and gives everyone the chance to support action-based solutions being brought to life. “There is a great moral obligation that we have to take action in achieving the most ambitious goals ever set forth by humanity, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” IDEAS Executive Director Clayton Louis Ferrara states. “What is at stake, halting climate change, the eradication of poverty, slavery, and mass extinction, has been a dream until now. We, as Millennials, hold the fate of the world in our hands. We need global solutions generated through local action and we need it now. The Solutions Platform and IDEAS For Us, with PRPL’s expertise, is poised to lead the way for the many millions that need to follow.” Besides conveying info about the organisation itself, the website presents a list of sustainable goals, a rundown of its various sustainability programs showing scalability and impact, methods to donate, as well as a sampling of nearly 90 actionable solutions (and counting) for a variety of vital ecological factors including water, food, waste and energy.
For the hackathon, Ferrara and IDEAS’ Website Director/Engineer Ryan Harrigan collaborated with eight PRPL staffers over the course of three days. The goal was to create a launch-pad to incubate more successful sustainability projects like IDEAS’ Fleet Farming, which helps Orlando citizens, among other things, maintain better eating habits and utilize lawn spaces more effectively in their urban environment. “One of the largest benefits of this hackathon was having leaders of IDEAS for Us with us at all times to inform and ideate with us, then make an executive decision on the spot so we could move forward,” says PRPL Digital Strategist Tommy Hung. “They had a wealth of information and experience with challenges in their space that we could pull from, and they were passionate about making something that would help their audience.”
Collaborating with the IDEAS team helped PRPL clearly define the organisation’s goals and formulate strategy while informing design decisions for the web platform. Hung notes that the quick turnaround demanded an almost equally fast-paced development process for the site itself. “We had very little time to take something very complex—trying to save the world—and turn it into a working online model,” he says. “Workshopping with IDEAS for Us lead to the strategy needed to create a simple, concise and functional site. But the time it takes to design and develop beautiful visuals and animations is normally longer than a weekend, and we had to distill a very broad scope of work and messaging spanning IDEAS’ network of over 20 countries around the world into a communicable site. That said, we’re very proud of what we were able accomplish.”
The platform is part of an effort to present sustainability solutions to Pope Francis at an SDSN summit, which IDEAS attended thanks to a heartfelt essay penned by Ferrara himself. The project mirrors the sentiments of the Pope himself, who the Vatican says is very concerned with the issue and is the first-ever pontiff to acknowledge climate change and demand action. It’s a worthy cause that PRPL is also passionate about. “PRPL wants to help equip IDEAS with a more informative and inspiring hub for their digital presence that would enable anyone interested to become a member, donate, or contribute an idea,” Hung explains. “We hope that through the new solutions platform, they can achieve their membership and funding goals to fuel their growth and action around the world.”