How employers can pay the OLPC forward and why the OLPC project needs digital badges

How employers can pay the OLPC forward and why the OLPC project needs digital badges

Summary: As many people know, on Monday of this week, the One Laptop Per Child project began its Give One Get One program whereby individuals who pay $399 (plus 24.95 for shipping) will end up buying two OLPCs -- one for themselves and one that "will be sent to empower a child in a developing nation.

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TOPICS: Mobility
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wematch.pngAs many people know, on Monday of this week, the One Laptop Per Child project began its Give One Get One program whereby individuals who pay $399 (plus 24.95 for shipping) will end up buying two OLPCs -- one for themselves and one that "will be sent to empower a child in a developing nation." Of the $423.95 total out of pocket cost, $200 is tax-deductible from your income. The "G1G1" program only lasts until the end of this month and it remains to be seen just how successful it will be in pushing OLPCs out to kids in developing nations. One thing working in favor of the program is that it's the season for giving. One thing working against the program? It's the season of giving. This is, of course, the time of year where many people are already trying to figure out how best to stretch their budgets in order to accommodate their holiday gift buying. For most people I know, $423.95 isn't exactly pocket change.

But one way to look at it is how T-Mobile is offering a year's worth of T-Mobile Hotspot access (T-Mobile values this at $350) to anybody who participates in the program. If you find yourself in or near T-Mobile hotspots on a regular basis and need WiFi access for your notebook, PDA, or smartphone, then T-Mobile's offer practically turns participation in the G1G1 program into a wash.

At least one employer however has come up with another way to ease the sting of participating in the G1G1 program. Earlier this week, Quality Solutions founder Fran Toolan wrote [and blogged] the following to the staff of his small company:

I encourage you all to look at [the G1G1 program] very closely. In fact that I want to incent you all to look closely at this....[Quality Solutions] will pay any of you that get involved with this program $200 per laptop you buy.

According to Toolan, 6 of Quality Solutions' 20 employees have already opted-in for the program. Toolan goes on to suggest that other businesses in his industry (book publishing) take the same approach to paying the OLPC forward. This is brilliant and the only thing I'd add is that businesses of any type should consider adopting the program.

Furthermore, if the OLPC program managers want to match that brilliance, then they would be advised to take a queue from social networking world by creating a variety of digital badges that both individuals and businesses like Quality Solutions can attach to their Web sites and blogs.

For example, there could be a static badge for individuals with the OLPC logo that says "I gave." There could be another for businesses like the one I mocked up (above left) that says "We match." There could be other variations on these digital logos that, when refreshed, show the most recent tally of children who will get OLPCs as a result of the most recent contributions to the G1G1 program. These badges would link back to the OLPC Web site where other organizations could find "quick start kits" for firing up a matching program immediately. For example, the kit could include text that employers could easily cut and paste into the e-mails they distribute to their staffs as well as easy ways for staff to grab the digital badges and paste them into their blogs and e-mails.

Topic: Mobility

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4 comments
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  • David, you need to get Marc Wagner off of Christopher Dawson's blog. They

    are completely different styles, and it is not clearly marked. You need to let people like Mark express their opinions, but they should do it on their own blog, not someone elses.
    DonnieBoy
  • And, Good post, great to see employers helping out!!

    I think the OLPC will take off, and can not wait to get my hands on one.
    DonnieBoy
  • Great Post

    David,

    As you know, we're not exactly a large company but part of our mission is to bridge the digital divide. We do so by providing a free online desktop but any entity in this space with the same mission is worth supporting. I applaud you for promoting the G1G1 program and would encourage any company, regardless of the size of its balance sheet, to encourage its employees to pitch in. I, for one, have already made my purchase and so have three of my colleagues at our 8-person company... and those three live in Mexico. Projects like OLPC and the G1G1 program serve to remind Americans, many of whom forget that much of the world does not live as we do, that the world is much smaller than we realize. And, thanks to the XO laptop and online desktops like Desktoptwo, getting more connected by the minute.

    Joshua Rand
    CEO
    Sapotek Inc.
    Mrjoshua
  • RE: How employers can pay the OLPC forward and why the OLPC project needs digital badges

    Thanks, David for doing this. Now if we can only get a couple of big companies to follow suit. It won't take long to make a huge difference in the world. Have a Guiness on me!
    ftoolan