A good reputation is more valuable than money. - Publilius Syrus (48 BC)
What is it?
A Reputation Card (RepCard) is a low cost or free reputation building tool for people experiencing homelessness. As an individual moves between service organizations, they are able to build an online representation of their interactions with the community. This ad-hoc resume of sorts is stored online and referenced by a plastic card with a code on it that is easy to scan. This would potentially open new doors of opportunity when the individual approaches a new organization or employer and hands them the card.
What does it look like?
This is a design prototype. The card would be printed in highly wear resistant plastic and the dimensions would be standard business card size. The link contained in the 2D Barcode (QR code) can be scanned with a smart phone application such as Google Goggles for Android, or QR Reader for IPhone. A quick search of your phone vendor's app market will produce many options.
What happens when you scan it?
Try it! Note this is just an example. The real thing would be a plastic card of course.
If you don't have a smartphone nearby, you can simulate what you would see if you scanned it by clicking the card.
How does it work?
When the individual has an interaction with a participating organization they can have an item added to their profile through the card. This can be done easily through the website loaded on the smartphone after a scan (or potentially native mobile app).
- Positive Interaction (PI)
- A positive interaction is a normal day to day interaction between an individual and a service organization. By itself it doesn't mean much, but it adds up over time to paint a picture of a consistent community member.
- Agency Endorsement (AE)
- An endorsement should be a significant length of time such as 6 months that the individual has had a positive relationship with the service organization. AE's should be earned for significant achievements and, when read by others, it should infer a large amount of community respect for this individual. A program graduation or position of responsibility are good examples.
Who are you, really?
Once this reputation has been built, when the individual approaches a new employer or organization they can choose to show the card in order to demonstrate their positive impact on the community. This is a lightweight version of a resume that is built up over time and gets around the "start from scratch" or "wait and see" model of dealing with newcomers to an organization.
Other uses for the card would be for character defense in the case of legal proceedings, for considering personal transactions or housing arrangements with friends.
The partner organization's participation level would determine how the RepCard would function in a given context.
- At first most would use the card passively, when an individual approaches and asks them to scan the card as a way of representing themselves.
- If an organization became convinced of the value of the card they could become an active partner by registering on RepCard and then would be able to add items to a user's profile. An organization can then add incentives in order to respectfully recognize those who have built a positive community reputation.
- Lastly, it may be that an organization engages the card as mandatory part of their programs or something they actively encourage.
Organization Adoption Matrix
|Scans Card To Read Profile||Adds Items to a Profile||Advocate Card Use|
The Issuing Organization
RepCard would operate as a very low overhead non-profit with board members composed of members in the major service agencies in the community that it serves, and users of the cards. RepCard would need at least one part time employee to handle issuing cards. The website and source code would be open sourced to make the idea as repeatable as possible. Initially the build out would be for the Portland area however the whole kit could be started in another community in a matter of weeks.
The initial build would require a small amount of funding to provide for some print design work and the initial run of cards. The part time employee would also need to be hired. Grants and other sources of funding would be considered.
Subdomains per locality could be easily set up so that the national presence is unified while the specific instances run independently.
About Me / Feedback
My name is Joshua Frankamp. I am a foster parent of a teenager and a technologist. This idea was born out of conversation about non monetary, non material representations of value, having a voice and dignity. I submit this idea with the intent to build it and turn it loose if it is deemed by the community to be helpful. I fully recognize my lack of experience dealing with the complex issues surrounding homelessness and so I am hoping for some good feedback from agencies and organizations that have been actively serving this population. For public discussion use the thread below.
My skills beyond technology are entrepreneurial and a relevant example is that I recently built the mobile / QR powered site qrmyride.com.
P: (503) 887-8378