Can Do: Small Steps. Big Impact.

Can Do is an experiment in gathering a collection of small steps everyone can make to positively change in our environment. It is based in the belief that building a community of people interested in taking some of these small steps can be a powerful motivating tool, and empower us with the knowledge of our collective impact!

Some of my initial research centered around projects involving Amazon's Mechanical Turk. I was interested in the ability of online tools to inspire action in the physical world, and in fact to create a self sustaining feedback loop that kept people moving back and forth between the site and their everyday lives. I had also made forays into the online subculture surrounding David Allen's Getting Things Done, whose premise is that the reason we fail to achieve our goals is because the goals we set are abstract and overwhelming. The GTD system is based on breaking down large, intangible goals into smaller actionable tasks, so that the momentum from achieving one small task feeds into the next until the larger goals have been accomplished.

Combining these two ideas, Can Do is a social network that aggregates the effects of small environmentally conscious steps in order to motivate members to keep tackling additional ones.

A summary of how the Can Do social network works.

Since the goal was to build a working prototype of this network, an extensive architecture planning phase was called for.

The front page of the Can Do site.

A small step page, before a user has signed up for it.

A small step page, after a user has signed up for it.

Aggregate view of all the small steps.