Social Innovations Awards 1995

The best ideas of 1995 - the most imaginative, feasible and potentially transformative schemes. The Institute for Social Inventions has made the following awards.

Internet's New Civilization Network

The main Social Innovations Award for 1995 (and 1,000 pounds in awards money), in this, the 10th anniversary year of the Institute for Social Inventions (founded September 1st '85, with Anita Roddick, Sir Peter Parker, Lord Young of Dartington and Edward de Bono as patrons or fellows) goes to Internet's New Civilization Network and the related World Transformation and Whole Systems areas on the World Wide Web, run by Flemming Funch on a shoestring budget in California. His overall theme is 'to make the world a better place' and his site provides free space for many non-profit groups, including the Institute for Social Inventions' new Global Ideas Bank, for which Funch did all the coding. He sees the potential of Internet to be 'more than theoretical discussions and electronic networking. My idea is for people to get together and work on projects with tangible results'.

See the World Wide Web address http://newciv.org/worldtrans/newcivnet.html or e-mail Fleming Funch at <ffunch@newciv.org>. Flemming Funch, 17216 Saticoy St, #147, Van Nuys, CA 91406, USA (tel 818 774 1462; fax 818 774 9203). See page 194 of the Institute's new book Best Ideas - A Compendium of Social Innovations for details.

A pan-racial electoral system

The Political Innovations Award 1995 (and 500 pounds in awards money) goes to David Chapman, founder of Democracy Design Forum, for his design of an elegant electoral system for ethnically-divided countries - one which encourages the emergence of pan-racial parties and candidates. Chapman is in Fiji in the summer of '95 by invitation to advise on how this electoral system, Distributed-Approval Proportional Representation, could help there.

David Chapman, Democracy Design Forum, Coles Centre, Buxhall, Stowmarket, Suffolk IP14 3EB (tel 01449 736 223). See page 227 of the Institute's new book Best Idea for details.

A village for midwives and the retired

The Old Age Social Innovations Award 1995 goes to Rocinante, a 100-acre village of affordable housing for old and retired people in Tennessee. People are given the chance to help build themselves a cabin on the land which will be their home for their lifespan. Or to endow a cabin that will be used by Rocinante's midwifery centre until the owner is elderly enough to need it.

Stephen Gaskin, Rocinante, 41 The Farm, Summertown, Tennessee 38483, USA (tel 615 964 2519). See page 258 of the Institute's new book Best Idea for details.

Protest group who paint d-i-y bike lanes

The Best Pressure Group Social Innovations Award 1995 goes to the protest group who paint d-i-y bike lanes. Lambeth Green Party and Reclaim the Streets have covertly painted miles of bike paths at night in London as a protest against the lack of cycle routes in the capital. One of their 'instant' routes in Fulham, painted in 1990, remains to this day.

Reclaim the Streets and Lambeth Green Party, c/o Shane Collins and co, Lambeth Green Party, 73 Brailsford Road, London SW2 2TB (tel 0181 671 5936). See page 179 of Best Ideas.

'Come to the meeting with three ideas' The Business Social Innovations Award 1995 goes to Martin Edelston and his 'I-Power' in the States, whereby everyone coming to a company meeting is advised 'Come to the meeting with three ideas'. All ideas are rewarded with dollar bills and sweets, and are saluted by a big gong and a hunter's horn. The aim is to stimulate a creative and positive mood at the meeting and to encourage participants to come up with ideas for improving their company.

Martin Edelston, I-Power seminars, 55 Railroad Avenue, Greenwich, Connecticut 06836, USA (tel 203 625 5920). See page 63 of Best Ideas.

The Bank of New Ideas

The Creativity Social Innovations Award 1995 goes to The Bank of New Ideas, a new Internet World Wide Web area launched by ex-Muscovite Mikhail N. Epstein of Emory University, Atlanta, USA. He sees it as the electronic equivalent of Plato's Academy, and it grows out of his non-electronic Club of Essayists in Moscow in the early 80s. The Bank of New Ideas is devoted to trans-disciplinary thinking and the creation of new paradigms.

Mikhail N. Epstein (Epshtein), Associate Professor, Department of Russian Studies, 403 Candler Library, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322 (tel 727-2594; e-mail: ). See World Wide Web page http://userwww.service.emory.edu/~russmne/internet.html and see page 196 of Best Ideas.

Road Traffic Reduction Bill (UK)

The Transport Social Innovations Award 1995 goes to the campaign for the Road Traffic Reduction Bill, introduced into parliament by the Plaid Cymru/Green MP Cynog Dafis on April 25th '94 and vigorously campaigned for by Ron Bailey and co at the Green Party. It requires the Secretary of State to draw up a national road traffic reduction plan which would reduce traffic by 5% by 2005.

Ron Bailey, 62 Bargery Road, London SE6 2LW (tel 0171 490 1555). See page 182 of Best Ideas.

A nationwide network of discussion cafés

The Leisure Social Innovations Award 1995 goes to Café Society for their plans, backed by Channel 4 TV's Talking Heads Club, for a nationwide network of discussion cafés. Café and restaurant owners set aside a less busy evening once a month or so, where people can get together and engage in serious discussions. Occasionally there will be more formal dinners with special speakers attending. The first venues include Barnes, Ross-on-Wye, Cambridge and Portsmouth.

The Café Society, Ray Sheaf, 7 Elmers Drive, Teddington, TW11 9JB (tel 0181 943 4318 or 0171 833 1988). See page 211 of Best Ideas.

Golan Heights Peace Park

The International Social Innovations Award 1995 goes to the Golan Heights Peace Park plan of Robin Twite in Jerusalem, which calls for a fenced-in demilitarised park area on the Golan Heights, policed by a small Israel-Syrian force, with some territory returned to Syria who would have de jure sovereignty over the whole area. Wildlife in the park would be protected.

Robin Twite, Israel Palestine Information Centre, PO 1358, Jerusalem 91513 (tel 00972 274 382; or at Hebrew University, tel 00972 2 882 324). See page 226 of Best Ideas.

Jaisalmer in Jeopardy

The Environmental Social Innovations Award 1995 goes to Jaisalmer in Jeopardy, an international campaign created through the initiative and perseverance of Sue Carpenter, to save the beautiful fortress city of Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, whose historic buildings are crumbling.

Jaisalmer in Jeopardy, c/o Sue Carpenter, 20E Redcliffe Gardens, London SW10 9EF (tel 0171 351 5985). See page 234 of Best Ideas.


These ten awards coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Institute for Social Inventions (tel 081 208 2853; fax 081 452 6434;

e-mail: rhino@bbcnc.org.uk;

Internet: http://ww.newciv.org/worldtrans/ISI.html).

The Institute, an educational charity, would be very grateful for any media coverage which specifies: 'Best Ideas - A Compendium of Social Innovations, 15 (17 from abroad by credit card - phone or fax or e-mail) inc. p&p and Institute membership: from:

The Institute for Social Inventions

20 Heber Road
London NW2 6AA, UK
tel 0181 208 2853, fax 0181 452 6434
e-mail: rhino@bbcnc.org.uk.