One of the most interesting apps this quarter is “Hollaback”, a mobile app using smartphones to help change the norm in society when it comes to street harassment. It is all about networks and a new generation of transparency empowering those who want to stand up for and change habits that too many take for granted and accept.
Hollaback is particularly interesting as it addresses something that a central system will have a difficulty to address (and this is pretty much all the current institutions) and priorities as it is decentralized problem that require a decentralized solution. While some might not see street harassment as a serious problem it is part of a bigger problems with values and power structures in society. By addressing a problem before it moves to the next step the app can not only help create more friendly cities it will reduce more serious problems related to gender-based violence.
This is how the creators describe the app:
“Hollaback! is a movement dedicated to ending street harassment using mobile technology. Street harassment is one of the most pervasive forms of gender-based violence and one of the least legislated against. Comments from “You’d look good on me” to groping, flashing and assault are a daily, global reality for women and LGBTQ individuals. But it is rarely reported, and it’s culturally accepted as ‘the price you pay’ for being a woman or for being gay. At Hollaback!, we don’t buy it.”
Read more about the app here: http://www.ihollaback.org/
The best with the app/supporting initiative
+ Provides people with a tool to address a problem (street harassment) that so far to a large degree has been almost impossible to solve.
+ Use the crowd aspect in a way that few apps do by putting the power in the hand of the user.
+ Address a serious problem in a way that is not driven by short term commercial interests need for PR.
+ Available both for iPhone and Android.
+ Encourage an important discussion about privacy.
The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative
- Would be nice if it was available in more languages.
- Possibility to measure progress would be welcome.
What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?
- This is one of the apps that have transformative potential as it is, it is just users that are needed.
How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
- Long shot
It is an agenda changer and the success builds on the capacity to create a critical mass. But it also has a direct benefit for users as they become part of a community and does not have to feel as vulnerable as if they had to experience gender-based violence without any support.
How transformative is it
- A new world
- A major shift
- A bit of a shake-up
- A gentle rocking
Addressing “neanderthal values” with 21st century tools is really transformative. Beside the direct impacts, that are important enough, it can also encourage a more citizen-based development of the mobile internet/21st century infrastructure. Today almost everything on the web is approaching users as consumers and the hype around IT companies are related to the amount of money they make, not the contribution to society.
How much does it encourage collaborations
How much are new networks supported
- Strong support for global networks?
- Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
- Provides interesting opportunities in the future
- Restricted to a small (expert) group
While the current version is focused on the US and has spread mainly in the western world, it is perfect for the emerging economies and all cultures where women suffer from gender-based violence. Translating it to Arabic could be a good idea.
What synergies can be delivered
How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
- It solves everything
- Several important challenges
- Some important challenges
- Only one challenge
There are many areas that could benefit from a situation where fossil values are exposed. Similar initiatives could be used to address xenophobia, those who cling to meat eating as a must, etc.
Nine billion contribution
How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
- Instant global equality
- Almost global
- Getting (incrementally) global
- Not applicable
The challenge with this app is that it is so good in what it is doing that it could result in western navel gazing if it is taken over by the wrong people. Creating links to global equity, especially related to women, would be good to explore. As would making sure that sms based version for poor countries is made available.
Building on current trends
How well does it use current trends
- The app is setting new trends by itself
- Building on multiple trends
- Effectively building on one trend
- Not really building on any major trend
Allowing users to address micro-trends before they develop into something even more ugly is really interesting and it is great to see this kind of app braking new ground based on what is actually is needed, not what makes money.
How fast can it deliver
- It's already happening
- In the coming weeks
- In a year or so
- In a distant future (hopefully)
While the direct support and creating of a network is instant, the more substantial contribution through changes values and structure will take time. Hopefully this app could also help track progress around the world in this area.
Does it support transformative transparency
- Brave new transparency
- Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
- Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
- No increase in transparency
Creating a global map of micro phenomena is a new kind of transparency. It could help create a map tracking the way ideas/memes are spread around the world and how they develop.