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trademe: a market place for reverse mentoring

When we're kids, we do odd jobs, like mowing lawns, for a little cash. There's value for both parties - kids make some scratch, and adults get someone to mow their lawn. The neighborhood is the marketplace. What if we had a market place for mentoring? Today, kids are good a many things, besides mowing lawns, which may be value to seniors. Need help setting up an iPad, or downloading music? Chances are you'll turn to a young person for help. trademe is an online marketplace for exchanging skills and needs across generations. Kids are rewarded for their efforts through contributions to a charity or civic organization of their choice (eg marching band, girl scouts, etc).

Photo of Nick Dawson
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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

trademe is an online marketplace for trading skills and needs across generations.
Like taskrabbit, but for mentoring…

Ideally, "skills" would come from younger generations and “needs” from seniors. 

Younger members would publish a profile including the kinds of things they are good at ant want to share. For example: 

* Setting up an iPad

* Making a Facebook page

* Drawing and painting

Senior members also have profiles and can identify areas where they’d like some mentoring: 

* Sharing photos with my family

* Booking travel online

* Walking a 5k

a true marketplace 

Each skill or need is associated with a value. For instance, helping a senior with their Facebook page for an hour may earn a $20 donation. Donations go to a local charity or civic group of the younger member’s choosing.  Users decide how much they are willing to donate, or accept for a need or skill. 

Amazon-style ratings

Each member would get the opportunity to rate other members they interact with. A simple 5 star system and review would help seniors find the best youth mentor for their needs.

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to test any assumptions you might have about your idea?

A simple Google Form could let people identify skills and the resulting spreadsheet could be printed and given to a local senior group - if any of the skills match up with needs from that group, it'd be easy to see if matching idea works.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input, skills or know-how of our OpenIDEO community?

Everything! First, is the idea of an "economic marketplace" (even if the currency is karma points, or donations) appropriate? Or should the rewards of mentoring be sufficient to propel any solution? Also, how might we overcome the technological generation gap for those who aren't online?

Evaluation results

16 evaluations so far

1. How well does this idea inspire and engage young people to support older adults through mentorship?

Really well – this idea clearly activates young people to support older adults - 37.5%

It’s getting there but could use a bit more work to flesh out exactly how - 50%

This idea doesn’t really address how to inspire and engage young people as mentors to older adults - 12.5%

2. How clearly does this idea outline a path to scale so that it can spread from one local community to around the world?

Crystal clear – I understand all the milestones that this idea would need to hit in order to spread beyond one local geography - 31.3%

It’s pretty clear that this idea has the potential to scale but the steps needed to grow aren’t detailed enough - 50%

Not very clear – I’m not sure this idea is designed to scale given how it’s explained here - 18.8%

3. How well does this idea define who its target users are and the ways that it can meet their needs and life stages?

Very well – I understand exactly who this idea is meant to engage and how it will support them - 43.8%

Ok – I’m not sure I could tell you exactly who the target user is but I might be able to guess - 56.3%

It’s hard to tell who this idea is actually meant to engage and support - 0%

4. Overall, how do you feel about this idea?

It rocked my world - 43.8%

I liked it but preferred others - 43.8%

It didn’t get me overly excited - 12.5%

This inspired (1)

Local Barter Market


Join the conversation:

Photo of Leigh Cullen

Nick, This is a really cool idea and I can see how this could take off. I like the philanthropic core. Well done!

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