Our Big Social Idea is called Good Gym
What is this document for?
You have probably received this document because Femi Longe
thinks you are potentially suited to contribute something very useful to
UsefulVisitors – his BIG [social] Idea.
The aim of the next few pages are to help you understand what he
is trying to achieve, the people already behind the idea, alongside the
challenges and opportunities they face and the partners he needs to engage
to move forward – and finally, most importantly....
...where YOU fit in!
If you’d like to get involved please contact
Femi at UsefulVisitors:
t. 07707318449 e. firstname.lastname@example.org
What’s the BIG [social] idea?
Volunteering overseas can be expensive and time
consuming. UsefulVisitors creates opportunities for
travellers to connect with organisations who would
benefit from their skills, if only for one afternoon.
Background and inspiration Concept outline
UsefulVisitors is the brainchild of Femi Longe, inspired by his UsefulVisitors is a web service to match international
own difficulty finding things to do during free time on a trip travellers, who have lots of skills but limited time, with
to Nigeria visiting family and friends. He had always been charities, schools or small businesses in their destination
keen to find ways to contribute to African development but countries that they can donate their skills to.
was limited by lack of volunteering contacts. He later realized Whether travelling on business, to see friends and family,
that if he went to one of the volunteer providing companies, it or as a tourist, UsefulVisitors makes it simple for people to
would cost an arm and a leg to be introduced. take part in effective exchanges of knowledge and skills over
Surely, he thought, with the power of the internet it must be short periods of time - yet still make a difference.
possible to bypass these middlemen and create a service Every one of us has all kinds of experience that charities,
that matches people to organisations that could do with their schools or small businesses could benefit from. With as little
skills directly at very negligible cost. as two hours to spare of your vacation time, travellers can
Femi sees this service bringing disruptive innovation to the start to create positive impacts for the community - simply
volunteer tourism industry, in exactly the same way budget by sharing their expertise. In exchange, the traveller will gain
airlines changed the airline industry or lastminute.com firsthand insights into local life and the feel-good factor that
challenged the travel agencies. comes from a sense of time well spent!
He wants his idea to be run as a commercial enterprise In an attempt to redefine the somewhat patronising
providing quality service at an affordable price, making connotations around ‘volunteering’, UsefulVisitors prefers to
healthy profit yet still having very large social impact on the promote the idea of ‘mutual exchange’.
travellers and the host communities.
The story so far... January 2009 What’s the plan?
On the back of successfully roadtesting the Useful Visitors A business plan is in development with a view to applying
concept at Social Innovation Camp 2008, Femi Longe for seed funding to develop the initial [beta] website,
[Founder and Project Leader] is presently building a team to establishing the proof of concept which could lead to more
work with him in delivering the idea. There are presently five substantial investment. In-kind support will also be sought at
people at the core of the project, as well as a large number of this stage.
supporters contributing specialised skills as required. The team are planning to incorporate UsefulVisitors as
a business shortly before the launch of a beta version of
Femi Longe: background in leadership development training,
the site at the end of April 2009. The beta site will test
group facilitation and project management with extensive
user experience and identify any process flaws – both for
experience working with AIESEC, an international charity that runs
travellers looking to compare organisations they might like
a large international exchange and volunteering programme.
to support and the organisations looking for visitors with
particular skills. A key issue is that the site will facilitate
James Day (Technical Coordinator): background in IT project
relationships between visitors and beneficiary organisations
management and studying for an MBA in carbon management.
which are uncomplicated and easy to manage.
James has experience working on IT projects with organisations
such as Microsoft, Diagoe, BBC. He previously worked at Social
This will involve recruiting visitors from travel agencies and
Change Online which provides web services to the government,
around 20 organisations in each of 3 African cities initially:
community and union sectors in Australia, NZ, UK and the USA
• Nairobi, Nigeria
Rodrigo Zuniga ((Product Development Coordinator): background
• Lagos, Kenya
in interactive product design and information technology. Rodrigo
works with Deutsche Bank as an IT analyst. • Johannesburg, South Africa
Subsequently, the project will be expanded into other cities
Neil Ramsorrun (Marketing and Communication Coordinator):
and countries across the world.
background in interactive media as a video producer/director and
digital media consultant. Neil was MD of digital media agency Without diluting UsefulVisitors’ key principle of ‘redefining
Gas Street Works www.gasstreetworks.com and is now working
volunteering’ the concept can also be taken to partner
organisations for consideration as an integrated element
within CSR programmes – especially relevant for
Zanna Rodrigues (Operations): background in corporate
organisations with frequent flyers or operations in several
communications and sustainable development. Zanna is
countries. A global corporate community could be built on
from Zimbabwe and has extensive volunteering experience in
Zimbabwe and the UK. Presently works with an oral heritage
charity in East London.
What does UsefulVisitors need
to keep the idea moving?
With the key next steps involving establishing proof
of concept and the development of the beta website,
Femi Longe is 30 years old. Until recently he
the project needs to create traction on several fronts –
worked at The Young Foundation as the Project
especially in building its social and growth capital to both
Lead of the UpRising Leadership Programme.
populate the beta phase and fund initial development.
He since left in December 2008 to run his own
Bringing the right levels of skills to the project now, either
organisation, Africa++, an African collaboration
paid or in-kind, will make a big difference to creating
consultancy. He is involved with Useful Visitors
trustful engagement around the idea, an essential facet of
as the founder and Project Leader. Femi’s big
any online community.
passions are Africa, fulfilling human potential and
miscellaneous sports (as a spectator)
The big [social] idea infogram on the next page gives a
snapshot of the landscape for UsefulVisitors right here,
right now. It is designed to help identify what relationships
need to be built around the idea and, perhaps more
importantly, show anyone interested in supporting this big
[social] idea how they might fit into the big picture.
If you are interested in UsefulVisitors and would like to find
out more, please contact Femi Longe on 07707318449 or
where do you fit in? human capital
people who help to deliver the big [social] idea
uk based volunteers business travellers
people already volunteering but people frequently travelling or planning
people already volunteering
people frequently travelling or planning
on a local level. a one oﬀ trips to do with work
in developing nations...
a one oﬀ journey in their spare time.
social capital - business
social capital - tourism
proof of concept
individuals or organisations that individuals or organisations that
can help to grow the big [social] idea can help to grow the big [social] idea
beneficiaries stage 2:
database beta site
can use volunteers
charities, small business, enterprise,
schools etc in developing nations