Check out our curated Weekly RoundUP of the breaking and must-read news – Kenyans launching campaigns on Twitter to fix their roads; crowdsourcing cellphone data to help guide urban revitalization; crowdsourcing being used to raise awareness for breast cancer and more …

How crowdfunding can supercharge your campaign in 2016

Interested in learning how to choose the the right platform to host your crowdfunding campaign? Find out here.

The real work is trying to set up a campaign that sells people on the idea of donating to your cause. If there’s one thing that I have learned from all my years on the internet, it’s that it can be really hard to get people to loosen their purses on anything. In the early days, people would use theatrical tactics such as cute kittens and drowning puppy gifs to get people to sign up, but those days are long gone. In order to make your campaign stand out, you must have a clear and decisive message, one that explains why you are asking for the donor’s money and what you are going to do with it alongside the most important thing, why should they care. Check out this article from one of our colleagues to understand what I am trying to say. If, however, you feel that you don’t have the stones to create your campaign all by yourself, consider hiring a specialist. They tend to come pretty reasonable on sites like and the Warrior Forum.

Mattel links up with creative crowdsourcing studio Tongal for multi-year partnership

Mattel, owner of brands including Barbie, American Girl and Hot Wheels, has announced the multi-year partnership with LA-based creative crowdsourcing studio Tongal.

According to Mattel, Tongal will be tasked with developing and producing an “amplified slate of content” for the company’s many brands. The studio will also serve as an advisor to the toy juggernaut to help it better define its digital content strategy across all of its brands and channels globally. “Our partnership with Tongal and its robust network of creators will enable us to build out an innovative, scalable offering of content for all channels and markets around the world,” said Catherine Balsam-Schwaber, Mattel’s chief content officer, in a statement. “Tongal is re-defining the content model and we look forward to working closely with their team to further our brand strategies and build our storytelling platform.”

Kenyans have launched a campaign on Twitter to fix their roads

An online campaign called “What is a Road” is crowdsourcing the location and condition of potholes around the city in an effort to push local officials to fix them.

Traffic is a problem in Nairobi. A short commute can last for hours during morning or evening rush hour. Buses and motorbikes cut in and out of traffic, worsening congestion. It’s estimated that road congestion costs Kenya’s capital as much as $570,000 a day in lost productivity. Nairobians tweet a photo and location of a pothole under the hashtag #whatisaroad. Those reports are uploaded to a map, used to analyze where the city’s potholes are located and track which ones have been fixed. “We decided to take a more data driven approach to track progress, promises made and projects delivered,” says Muthuri Kinyamu, one of the organizers. “I’m concerned about what I see is the fetishization around entrepreneurship in Africa… Like, don’t worry that there’s no power because hey, you’re going to do solar and innovate around that. Your schools suck, but hey there’s this new model of schooling. Your roads are terrible, but hey, Uber works in Nairobi and that’s innovation.”

Crowdfunding: the new buzzword for academics needing research money

Researchers are asking the public to fund their studies – from bees to LSD.

Squeezed research budgets led both researchers to crowdfunding, which uses the internet to find individuals and organisations to pledge money for specific projects. “It’s increasingly hard to get money from traditional funding bodies, particularly the smaller pots of money,” says Petts. And research councils are increasingly risk averse, he adds. “They’re not comfortable with funding where it’s not clear whether you’ll get a result. Obviously with archaeology that’s a problem – particularly with an area that hasn’t been dug before. You don’t know what you’re going to get until you start.” David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, is certain his crowdfunded research project, which looked at the impact of LSD on the brain, would not have attracted conventional research funding. The former government drugs adviser, who was sacked for calling for LSD, ecstasy and cannabis to be legalised, says: “It’s near impossible to get conventional research council funding to fund work on illegal drugs. It’s a kind of stigma and fear they have that if they fund the research they will somehow be accused of condoning it.”

Crowdsourcing, cellphone data could help guide urban revitalization

Combining cellphone data with perceptions of public spaces could help guide urban planning.

For years, researchers at the MIT Media Lab have been developing a database of images captured at regular distances around several major cities. The images are scored according to different visual characteristics — how safe the depicted areas look, how affluent, how lively, and the like. “Are the places that look safer places that people flock into?” asks César Hidalgo, the Asahi Broadcast Corporation Career Development Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences and one of the senior authors on the new paper. “That should connect with actual crime because of two theories that we mention in the introduction of the paper, which are the defensible-space theory of Oscar Newman and Jane Jacobs’ eyes-on-the-street theory.” Hidalgo is also the director of the Macro Connections group at MIT.

Crowdsourcing effort takes aim at breast cancer

How crowdsourcing is being used to raise awareness for breast cancer.

For many of the 150,000-plus patients nationwide whose tumors have spread to bones, brains, lungs or other distant organs, the hue heralding breast cancer awareness and survival each October is a little too rosy. They know cancer will likely kill them. And they’ve often felt neglected by mainstream advocacy and medical research. But now they have a way to get involved, with a big new project that aims to gather enormous troves of information about their diseases in hopes of finding new and better ways of treating patients like them: women whose cancer has spread, or metastasized, and left them nearly out of options. “Patients want to live and we know that research is the way that we’re going to be able to live,” said Beth Caldwell, a former civil rights attorney in Seattle diagnosed with metastatic disease in 2014. The project’s idea is to gather molecular and genetic clues from as broad a group of metastatic breast cancer patients as possible. With data from thousands of people, researchers think they will be better able to target treatments or come up with new ones by answering important questions about the disease.

Image: forbes

There are many fantastic stories out there. What else caught your eye this week? Did you come across some breaking news or a good thought piece? Please do share them with us…