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Preliminary Concept: TaskRabbit for Learning Skills

TaskRabbit is a great tool for checking errands off your to-do list, but what if it could also be used to connect people across generations? Instead of simply setting up a new computer, a young tech savvy individual could help teach an older adult how to set up the computer and perhaps some basic computer skills as well. In return the computer whiz could receive a cooking lesson, or perhaps another skill important skill, like financial literacy, that younger generations are waiting longer to learn. Instead of payment, this category could be based on a trade or barter system to keep the learning bidirectional.

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How would you describe your idea in one sentence?

TaskRabbit-like digital platform for trading knowledge and skills across generations.
This is just a preliminary thought, but has potential to be expanded upon. 

The TaskRabbit system (link here) currently allows people to post tasks and have official TaskRabbits help check items off of their to-do lists. My idea would be to set up a similar digital space for trading knowledge and skills instead. Although the mentoring and teaching would be done in person, the initial digital access point would make it easier to connect with a wider range of people.

Instead of payment for skills, these mentoring TaskRabbits would instead either earn points or directly barter to learn skills from each other. This would keep the knowledge flow bi-directional and help foster more memorable connections.

Things to think about:
  • With the vetting process to become a TaskRabbit comes security, but also limits the number of users. How might we make the system both safe but also accessible to a greater population?
  • Currently TaskRabbit is marketed as making posters' lives easier by removing items from their to-do list. This does not encourage personal interaction or spending time to learn something new. How might we re-orient this driving motivator to encourage cross-generational linteraction and skill sharing?
  • As a digital platform TaskRabbit allows for a greater network of people to connect; however, older gerations are typically less comfortable on the internet. How might we ensure that the digital platform doesn't create a barrier for older users?

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

An initial test of the idea could be to try posting a request for a short session to learn a specific skill on TaskRabbit. This could provide insight on whether this platform could be used in this way, or whether the focus of "checking things off your to-do list" would hinder these efforts too much.

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

This idea is definitely in its early stages. I think the initial inspiration of a TaskRabbit system for trading skills is sound; however, the idea could be altered, improved or used as inspiration for other ideas. Hopefully this initial thought will help inspire a more thought out and well-rounded idea, or two.


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