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Save your time

Time is a precious asset. Would you be willing to give your time, to work on community service of your choice where you gain credits which in the future would be transformed in health care services when you are old?

Photo of Helder Lima
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My concept is a consortium of organizations: community services, charities, heath care centers, state welfare services that accept volunteer work in exchange for later provide heath care or other social services for those who have worked and earned credits in the network of affiliated members of the consortium.

The system features the same principal of the credit transfer and accumulation system used by some universities. But in this case applied on a consortium that provides health care and community services.

Volunteers would be available an online platform where they register which organization they want to work. The awarded credits of the work done would go to a personal account to be used when needed, in one of the affiliated organizations of the platform.

This exchange scheme could also be open to people with no interest in later benefiting with the service, in other words those who wish to give its own credits (time) to others. How? By allocating its credits to a specific person or to a common trust fund.

The platform could also be sponsored. The sponsorship could be through companies own volunteer initiatives or through services or equipment given to host organizations.

Let's look to some persona examples:

Michael a 35 years old retail manager, married with Claire 36 year old and its two children Larry 5 an Susan 2 year old . Michael and his partner, full time mom, are concerned with their retirement. Their current annual income doesn't allow them to save for a retirement plan, and they don't want to be dependent from their children later when their grow old.
They hear about "Save your time" a consortium of local health care services, where they could work as volunteers a couple of hours a week in exchange for later health care benefits in one of the local affiliated members of the consortium.
This keeps them busy and motivated in preparing their future and at the same time be engaged in rewarding community activities.

Claire, single with 55 years old, she's an active women, working full-time as an administrative assistant in an accounts office. Although she has a retirement plan, she's worried it might not be sufficient when she retires. "Save your time" initiative it's something she saw as a good complement. She spends some of her weekend free time to assist at the local care services.

Tom, 20 years old university student. He's willing to do some volunteer work. His university told him about "Save your time" and the possibility to allocate his credits to a fund later to be used by people with no resources to benefit from health care services.

How might your idea scale and spread to reach as many people as possible?

Firstly, this concept explores the volunteer work concept which is broadly accepted worldwide. Secondly, this initiative may be used at several regional levels, local, district, national or international. It will all depend on the number and size of the organizations that want to be involved.

How might your idea attract and involve partners from health care, business, government, nonprofit or other sectors?

A relevant positive social and economic impact, prestige, tax exemption, reputation, are some examples of the benefits that affiliated members can achieve as partners of the consortium.

How might you design an early experiment or prototype to further develop your idea?

Firstly, similiar experiences such as 'Time banking' are already underway in some countries, one could adapt this concept to the principles of the proposed concept and look for partners. Secondly, one can already see the benefits of a credit transfer and accumulation system in the European university system, one would need to check if this principle could be mirrored on the proposed concept.


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Photo of DeletedUser


Cool idea Helder!
Within this context, you intend to replace money with credits as the medium of exchange. Credit/money can thereby be earned by spending time/working and used to pay for social services. What I ask myself is:
Why would someone rather like to work in an untrained field, hence presumably receive a smaller amount of value in the form of credits, than working in their trained background and receive a higher amount of value in the form of money, that they then can also spend on social services?
What benefit has this new currency other than immunity from common inflation?

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts,

Photo of Helder Lima

Hi Jan, I appreciate your comments and understand your views.
Think about those with lower incomes and less qualified people. The chances to have some extra money for a pension scheme are very low. This concept can offer a chance to benefit from a service when they're old. In addition, people from this less favourable background can build long-term relations with their local institutions which can go beyond future health care benefits.

On the other hand, this system can offer those with higher incomes the chance of an altruistic solution to help others, allocating their credits to others.

Could this be a utopian concept? It might be. But as our other colleagues, and this concept has also point out (Time Bank) similiar systems are already in place.

Photo of DeletedUser


The success would probably depend on what kind of volunteer work the points bank would be willing to accept.

On the one hand, obvously it is easy to accept input requiring high skills, however people able to provide such input would not necessarily be afraid of not being cared after when they get old.

On the other hand, if the points bank/the consortium would be able to convert current low skilled labor into future care, then you would be able to solve a significant problem.

Photo of DeletedUser


The core of this idea I think is beautiful: removing the friction caused by a transaction with money, which try to quantitatively value service. With credits, the community and the service-giver has control over how much they can give - based on the quality and how genuine the "volunteer" work was.

This idea is reminiscent of the "sharing economy" principle, with startups like Airbnb and Sidecar (ride-share), where trust plays an important role to facilitate service. For example, with Sidecar, after you get a ride, you're free to "donate" whatever amount you want, although there is a "suggested" amount. This encourages not a transactional give & take, rather encouraging a human interaction between the driver and riders, and more about sharing gifts with emotion and empathy, rather than dollars.

Having said that, I think this idea could extend to a broader, self-sustaining ecosystem - "elderly helping other elderly." One of the broad goals with this challenge is to help prosper social activity. So we can imagine a future where communities collectively give people rides, nurse other elderly when medically ill, and other deeds, with trust, empathy, and altruism as the driving factor and "credits" providing a nudge and creating a "sharing" system. Just a few thoughts..

Photo of Helder Lima

Hi Shashank, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

It is interesting the idea "elderly helping other elderly". This is something which already happening informaly in some rural regions of my country. Elderly people depend on their neighbours, which in the majority of the cases are seniors too, to assist them in simple tasks, for example: buying their medicines, helping carrying with their grocery shops, call their families in case of an emergency.

I think these communities could be good starting points where one could test a "credit" system. What do you think?

Photo of DeletedUser


Hi Helder, your idea really reminds me of the "Caring Relationship Ticket" system in Japan (which was posted in the Inspirations phase: I love that you provided concrete scenarios of how your idea could work in practice too!

Photo of Nathan Maton

This inspiration is also related: I love how a currency makes this awesome because people can exchange things in more different ways then.

Photo of Helder Lima

Thanks for pointing that, indeed the concept is very similar with both inspirations. Though I must say, I did not read them before until now. That said, what this can mean is that this kind of concept shows a broad acceptance in different multicultural contexts, why not built upon this?