Can a collective intelligence platform help orchestrate information and on-the-ground logistics in real time to reduce food waste?
The experiment will test whether using digital tools can support the coordination of food rescue activities by volunteers in Hong Kong. Breadline, a crowdsourcing platform, will collect information about the availability of leftover bread at bakeries; coordinate on-the-ground movements of volunteers; and enable information sharing between volunteers and bakeries. This allows users to self-organise their actions on the ground. The experiment will show whether online networks can be used to extend crowdsourcing from gathering information to the movement of physical goods for public benefit.
Food waste reduction is an important pillar of sustainable development in a world that is rapidly urbanising and dealing with the effects of climate change. But urban food rescue operations face the logistical challenge of collecting food across disparate locations in a limited time. Crowdsourcing has proven an effective method to harness the power of the public for knowledge gathering or map creation, but has not often been used to coordinate activities on the ground.
This experiment is a novel use-case of collective intelligence, as it extends crowdsourcing techniques beyond the sourcing of information. It could generate insights into how to design collective intelligence platforms to incentivise civic participation, make use of tacit knowledge, and align individual and collective interests. The findings could be relevant for any time-critical scenarios such as disaster relief situations and response to emergency situations.
Have a look at the project's homepage to find out more.