On October 27th in Amsterdam, YVR-based Kudoz reached the finals of the 2016 global Service Design Award for excellence in public sector & non-profit design. It stood out in a competitive pool of 100+ projects nominated internationally.
As you likely know, Kudoz is an innovative learning exchange; think AirBnB for real world learning. It is on it’s way to becoming the easiest way to volunteer in British Columbia. Community members share their passions in an online catalogue, choosing when and where to host a one-hour learning experience. Adults with cognitive disabilities choose from the catalogue, and stitch together more meaningful and inclusive days.
Jay, who has used the catalogue to discover birdwatching, buddhist meditation and Haida culture, explains its impact. “I’m a happier person now. Less anxious and more ready to learn.”
Kudoz is the product of a unique 2-year user-led design process to address the challenge of social isolation in the Lower Mainland. While design & beta-testing is common to technology companies and commercial start-ups, it’s the first time these methods have been applied to the social sector in Canada.
Another first is the unusual partnership: three large community living nonprofits (Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion, posAbilities, and Simon Fraser Society for Community Living); a provincial government agency (Community Living British Columbia); and a social design firm (InWithForward) are together bringing Kudoz to fruition. Kudoz has just received two years of funding from Community Living British Columbia to measure its impact and prepare to scale-up.
Jonathon Cote, Mayor of New Westminster and Kudoz Host, notes that “It’s platforms like Kudoz that are getting the ball rolling on cognitive disabilities like we did 20-30 years ago with physical disabilities.”
The funding is timely: October is Community Living Month in British Columbia. Kudoz is pioneering ways to bring people with and without disabilities together using a tech-enabled platform and iOS app. It is an example of cutting edge social services making a measurable difference in citizen’s lives.