Skip to content ↓
Humanitarian Blog

I’m in Round 2! Can You Help Me Make the Top 10? by The Humanitarian Blog is running a competition that'll propel 10 ideas to the fore of the next administration's agenda. In Round 1, people came up with 7,783 ideas. Only 87 (about 1%) made it to Round 2, and the idea to "Establish a 'Global Challenges Wikipedia' to Empower Problem Solvers" was among them! I owe that victory to you, and now I'm counting on you to get this idea into the Top 10.

As I mentioned in my last entry, is running a competition that’ll propel 10 ideas to the fore of the next administration’s agenda. In Round 1, people came up with 7,783 ideas. Only 87 (about 1%) made it to Round 2, and the idea to “Establish a ‘Global Challenges Wikipedia’ to Empower Problem Solvers” was among them!

I owe that victory to you, and now I’m counting on you to get this idea into the Top 10. Let’s send a message, loud and clear, that we don’t need to rely on dishonest voting tactics to win, as others in the competition have – we’ve shown that we can win the old-fashioned way, and we can do so again.


The proposed wiki would describe the following for every pressing global challenge such as climate change and weapons proliferation:
[1] What successful and failed policies have been deployed to address it in the past;
[2] What measures need to be taken to move forward;
[3] Which international institutions, governments, businesses, NGOs, and individuals are addressing the challenge in question, and how;
[4] What networks exist between these players; and
[5] What coordinated steps these players can take to collaborate effectively without replicating each other’s efforts, wasting precious resources, and, worst of all, undermining each other in the quest to gain recognition for their work.

This proposal is doubtless ambitious, and it’s an idea that needs to be refined and tested. If it’s implemented correctly, though, it could serve as a powerful tool in the fight against every global challenge.


– Start: 8:00am EST on Monday, 1/5
– End: 5:00pm EST on Thursday, 1/15.


– Register at
– You’ll receive a confirmation e-mail with a link inside; click on that link to return to as a registered user.
– Click on the “Ideas” icon in the top right-hand corner of the page.
– Find the “Social Entrepreneurship” category.
– Click on “Establish a ‘Global Challenges Wikipedia’ to Empower Problem Solvers.”
– Click on the “Vote” icon in the top left-hand corner and make sure that the vote count increases by one.


– Vote as early as you can on 1/5.
– Get at least 20 of your friends and family members to vote.

If you want to play an even more active role in this campaign, please e-mail me so that I can give you further details.

We have two weeks to reach the next administration – let’s make something amazing happen!

16 responses to “I’m in Round 2! Can You Help Me Make the Top 10?”

  1. hitek168 says:

    Third! Will vote!

  2. Anonymous says:


    Voting starts on January 5th. =)

  3. Oleg says:

    I’ll be sure to vote. Best of luck!

  4. Ali says:

    Hi, Ben.

    Thanks very much for your (really good) questions. I should say first that any idea of this nature and scale is going to encounter some bumps along the road. That being said, here’s how I envision the database’s posting policy:

    Impartial administrators would be tasked with approving all new additions to the database. I’d like to have one such administrator per global issue. Of course, “impartiality” is in the eye of the beholder. Individuals who enjoy widespread credibility, however, are more likely to be impartial than those who don’t possess that clout.

    Additions to the database would be monitored as follows: proposed factual additions would be monitored for their accuracy, and other proposed contributions – for example, those that aim to offer solutions to global challenges or evaluate past and / or present responses to them – would be monitored for their relevance and for their tone. Thus, proposed contributions that don’t contribute to the discussion at hand and / or are abusive wouldn’t be accepted.

    The “delete option,” then, would be employed selectively to ensure that the database doesn’t devolve into a catalog of non sequiturs and rants. Otherwise, however, the dialogue and debate will be free flowing. The Wikipedia-ish element of my proposal, whereby individuals are continuously contributing to the database, should ensure a marketplace of ideas in which sensible commentary prevails.

    I’d like to populate the database initially with “expert” commentary to give it profile and credibility at the outset. From then on, however, I want to the dialogue to be veritably global insofar as it derives from and responds to the needs of individuals who’re suffering acutely because of global challenges. NGO representatives who’re on the ground will be critical in this regard, because they can speak with and aggregate the concerns of those who don’t have the technical access or savoir-faire to contribute to the database themselves. My good friend, Matt Zedler, told me that according to the latest statistics, only 22% of the world’s population has Internet access. Enlisting the support of field workers will be critical to ensuring that the remaining 78% play a vital role in the solutions that emerge from our database.

    Please let me know if I’ve answered your questions and / or if you have any further questions.



  5. Ashwin says:

    Hello Ali,
    I have registered, but am not able to vote. I followed your instructions, but am unable to find the ‘vote’ button. Could you please assist me?
    Kudos to you for a great idea!

  6. Ben says:

    Sorry if I may come off rude or ignorant, that surely were not my intentions.

    Here is a question:

    This specifically targets [2]:
    Seeing that you want to establish a Wikipedia-like environment, then how are you going to prevent people from deleting opposing opinions?

    Unlike Wikipedia, which is just a site with facts (or perceives to be facts) and figures, your page would target some rather heated topics. Of course, it would attract attention from both sides of the extremes [on any given issue]. Then what would be the “ideal” course of action? Of course both sides would disagree and it might just lead to a I-shall-delete-your-input war.

    Now, you can make the delete option limited use. Then again, who would pay for the maintenance of the website?

    OR you can simply disable the delete options. So IF I comment an idea, it is guarantee to stay there. Then again, how would you differentiate a “good” idea from a “bad” idea? Who would make that decision?

    Thank you for your time. Just my 2 cents. Best of luck in your competition

    (Personally, I like to understand something before I vote/follow an idea)

    -Ben Zheng

  7. Second!


  8. Ben says:


    It’s a rather impressive organizational structure. Well, you mentioned that there will be administrators. Now, who will be paying these “impartial” administrators?

    Surely you can’t have the government paying the fee, since that can be misconstrue to be pro-(current-administration). It would be strange to ask the NGO or participant to work for free. One way is to accept donation, but that might lead to a lack of financial capital to sustain.

    And one more minor suggestion. For the NGO, they should have their own status that would distinguish them from average users. Furthermore, you should give interest groups a voice. I know the term interest group had been associated with major wall street companies, but truly, interest groups are overall good. After all, they know a great deal about their specific argument.

    I think you have a great idea. There are a few wrinkles here and there, but I think it’s good overall. You have my vote. ^.^

    Best of luck!

  9. Ali says:

    Hi, Ben.

    Thanks so much – your vote means a lot to me!



  10. JL says:


    1. What software would power said Wiki?
    2. Who would be in charge of the wiki, and who would fund it? i.e. Would some sort of special foundation be created to administer it?
    3. How would you choose the moderators for the site?
    4. Would this be a solely online wiki, or do you have plans to publish some sort of phonebook or catalog with all participating institutions?
    5. Will there be some sort of mandate forcing organizations to participate in said wiki? Or how else do you plan to encourage organizations to initially join?
    6. How would you deal with organizations that refuse to work with each other (because of ideological/religious differences)?
    7. What specific role do you see president Obama playing in this? (You are hoping to get in in the top 10 so he can take a look at it, right?) Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to already have this project up and running so he can just throw his weight behind it?

  11. ngolshan says:

    It looks to me as if you’re going to have to use that certain special MIT method of voting if you want to boost your idea past the several iterations of “Legalize Pot”.

    I think your idea is brilliant, for the record. +1 vote.

  12. Ashwin says:

    Oops! Voted now, though.

    Nice updates, providing a lot more information. made the idea a lot more hard to find though.

    I had one question – like you pointed out, the efforts to address most of these problems are disjointed. But, isn’t that due to a lack of resources in most countries? Even with a global challenges Wikipedia, most countries probably wouldn’t have enough resources to make a big change. So, how is that going to be addressed?

  13. Anonymous says:


    Just my opinion:
    Yes, more resources could help with a lot of problems, but that’s not necessarily relevant to the global challenges Wiki. To me, it seemed like the goal was not to solve all of the world’s problems (which no single person can do) but to streamline the disjointed efforts. I think that’s what Ali had in mind, not making the big changes, but figuring out how it could be done.

    The point is that once somebody has resources, they know what to DO with them. Throwing money at a problem almost never works. You need resources to make changes, but you also have to use them properly.