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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?

This inspired (1)

Local Barter Market


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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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