Solution overview

Our Solution

Supercívicos app

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Tagline

An army of citizen journalists using video to transform our cities

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Pitch us on your solution

Supercívicos is a citizen journalism video app that crowdsources data about public infrastructure and public services issues in Latin American cities. We are creating a massive database of the biggest problems affecting our communities to pressure authorities to solve them, by providing them the data to create better public policies and create safer roads for pedestrians. Users generate geolocalized video-reports and classify them; then they can give votes to the most relevant ones so they get viral on Los Supercivicos Facebook page, which has over 1.5 million fans.

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What is the problem you are solving?

We believe our Project addresses the following issues:

  • Lack of open and robust databases and API’s about public services and infrastructure issues in Mexican cities.
  • No use of Open Data standards such as Open 311.
  • Lack of effective, urban issues related communications channels between citizens and authorities.
  • Lack of platforms for citizens to reach each other and connect themselves to strengthen their communities and work together to have authorities pay attention to their demands.
  • Lack of technological tools that allow citizens to participate in the creation of potentially journalistic information using the technologies present in mobile devices, such as video, GPSs, movement sensors and permanent internet Access.
  • Lack of media outlets dedicated to produce hyper-local journalism focused on hearing what communities believe is important

Mexican cities face huge infrastructure and public services challenges: from lack of pathways for pedestrians to poor street lighting and constant water leakages, citizens feel they governments do not use their tax money as they should, creating mistrust and skepticism. Government led platforms to connect citizens with public institutions and officials to report public services and infrastructure issues are ugly, hard to use and lack credibility.


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Who are you serving?

Our main users are Los Supercívicos fans that want to go from a passive content consumer to an active content generator that can truly deliver change in their community. This user likes to be publicly recognized for doing good things and is not afraid of demanding authorities to do their job.

Based on our data, the government has fixed nearly 400 issues reported
by users of Los Supercívicos. When a user sends a report through the
app, we identify the issue and share it on social networks, tagging the
appropriate authority. If the issue is resolved, we highlight both the
'before' and 'after', creating a cycle where citizens report and
authorities act. This creates a communication bridge and raises
confidence in both public servants and the government. We work closely
with the Mexico City authorities, who send case numbers directly to our
users.


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What is your solution?

Los Supercívicos is a group of comedians use humor and creativity to point out the bad behaviors of citizens and the poor infrastructure and public services of the Mexican cities. They are incredibly popular:  they have created an active community of over 2 million followers on social networks. Just to give you an example of how problematic Mexican cities are: a recent academic study discovered that 9 out of 10 pedestrian crossings in Mexico are dangerous. We have to change that. We launched the official Supercivicos app: our goal is to create the biggest army of citizen journalists in the world. This is how it works: users record 30 seconds geolocalized videos of urban infrastructure and services problems in their community. Video is very important for us: we want to hear the voice of the citizens, hear them tell stories, as if they were TV journalists. Then, they categorize the videos, and by doing that, they are helping create a massive, open database of our cities problems and challenges. Citizens can view, share and comment other users’ video. They can also see those near their location, to create local Supercivicos squadrons. We want to connect citizens to each other. But it's not only about the bad stuff. We have discovered a winning formula: we criticize authorities, but also recognize the good work they are doing. That’s why we upload to our social networks before and after videos and give the responsible authority the credit for solving the issues reported by citizens. We give them access to millions of followers for free. We want to build trust and citizen engagement from the bottom up. That’s why we have been signing collaboration agreements with local authorities, to guarantee that they will reply to all the reports made in our app. What is next? We want to become more like a news outlet, and transform the citizens reports into real journalistic pieces. And more importantly: We want to expend all over Mexico and then other Latin American countries.

The app is available for iOS and Android devices, and can be downloaded here:

Android https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.facticoapp.supercivicos iPhone https://itunes.apple.com/mx/app/supercivicos/id1154772570?mt=8

 

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Select only the most relevant.

  • Support communities in designing and determining solutions around critical services
  • Make government and other institutions more accountable, transparent, and responsive to citizen feedback
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Where is your solution team headquartered?

Mexico City, CDMX, México
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Our solution's stage of development:

Pilot

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More about your solution

Select one of the below:

New business model or process

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Describe what makes your solution innovative.

There´s currently no digital & centralized platform for citizens in Mexico to report issues in public infrastructure and services (US and UK citizens use platforms such as See Click Fix and Fix my Street). This forces citizens to use non-official platforms, such as social networks, to complain about things not working in their city, but lacking any real outcome or action by the authorities. By using Los Supercívicos popularity we want to create and maintain a massive platform to collect data and share it with governments to help citizens change their communities and improve their living. We started in Mexico City, where Los Supercívicos are huge, and we want quickly expand to other big cities in México such as Guadalajara & Monterrey. We would then export the projects to other countries in the region where Los Supercívicos videos have also become viral.

We want reinvigorate community journalism in Mexico and Latin America.  The journalistic potential of the project is huge: citizens have already used our app to report police corruption, environmental crimes, illegal infrastructure projects, and animal cruelty. 

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Describe the core technology that your solution utilizes.

1) Video: users create 30 second videos, and use the microphone of their mobile phone to describe the issues in their community

2) Geolocalization: we capture the latitude and the longitude of the mobile devices them moment the users press the record button.

3) Gamification and social networking features: our app is slowly growing into a social network that seeks to connect citizens of specific urban areas. We give them rewards such as achievements the more they use our app, and they can engage into meaningful conversation using the comments section of each report

4) AI: We are using basic AI tools to convert users speech into text; this was, we can transcribe the audio of the videos recorded by our users, to turn it into useful data for analysis.

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Big Data
  • Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality
  • Social Networks
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Why do you expect your solution to address the problem?

Governments have fixed nearly 400 issues reported by our followers. When a citizen sends a report through our Facebook Page or official app, we identify the issue and share it, tagging the appropriate authority. If the issue is fixed we highlight both the 'before' and 'after', creating a cycle where citizens report and authorities act. Once, a major building company poured fresh cement over several trees during the construction of a residential skyscraper on one of the main avenues in Mexico City. This is a common practice by some building companies, as they will later receive government permission to remove the dead trees for car access. Government officials spotted the report and sent workers to remove the cement and save the trees.

You can find a partial list of all the issues we have fixed, including the before and after videos, here:

https://docs.google.com/spread...

Our biggest ambition is to create a bigger community of empowered citizens all over México, especially outside Mexico City, that become local gamechangers in their communities, and successfully link with authorities and NGO’s to achieve a bigger impact. We now see Los Supercívicos not only as provocateurs and influencers, but as “enhancers”; we want to use our expertise to vitalize and multiply the impact of the work of local neighborhood leaders across Mexico, and eventually, all over Latin America.

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Select the key characteristics of the population your solution serves.

  • Urban Residents
  • Low-Income
  • Middle-Income
  • Persons with Disabilities
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In which countries do you currently operate?

  • Mexico
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In which countries will you be operating within the next year?

  • Mexico
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How many people are you currently serving with your solution? How many will you be serving in one year? How about in five years?

Currently:

  • Over 65,000 registered users
  • +1000 reports
  • +2000 video hours
  • 7 local governments and 3 local agencies already using our app to reply to users and solve issues

1 year:

  • 200,000 registered users
  • More than 30,000 citizen reports on our platform
  • At least othree cities of more than 1 million people in Mexico agrees to use our APIs and use our data to solve reports made by citizens
  • At least 1,000 citizen reports issues solved 

5 year:

  • Operating in at least 10 Latin American cities (India also an option)
  • Built an in-house data visualization and CRM platform for governments
  • Over a million registered users

 

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What are your goals within the next year and within the next five years?

  • Build the SaaS data dashboard
  • Design and execute an offline impact strategy that includes organicing local Supercivicos squads of citizens in every mayor Mexican city
  • Strengthen the journalism potential of the project by forming a small team or journalists that can follow up on the citizens reports.
  • Establish a full-time sales team
  • Create an internal data-science team
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What are the barriers that currently exist for you to accomplish your goals for the next year and for the next five years?

  • 1) Lack of technological know-how by local governments (many governments in Mexico might not “see” how data analysis can be.
  • 2) Lack of support from private sector (some brands of them are "afraid" of the type of humor and topics we use in our content)
  • 3) Lack of financial support to enlarge our team to create more content and have a closer relationship with users and authorities
  • 4) Lack of financial and human resources to build a small news room to start giving a boost to the stories made by our users
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How are you planning to overcome these barriers?

  • By showcasing the various success stories we have achieved with Mexico City Authorities, and conducting a study to prove that citizens have a more positive perception of authorities that use technology and platforms for citizen engagement.
  • By adding new features in our app that promote a more “creative” and “positive” interaction between users and brand. We are planning a new Augmented Reality feature that will allow our users imagine and create “the city of their dreams”, using 3D assets sponsored by brands.
  • By making partnerships with news outlets so they can help us create content we can both share in our websites.
  • By using university students as volunteers, and creating a simple template for stories that can show how our app has led to real changes in cities.With strong connections with experiences journalists and independent news outlets, we believe we could quickly assemble a team of young journalists ready to cover hyper-local news stories. As local newspapers struggle to survive and become less able to cover the issues affecting  small communities and neighborhoods, we hope Supercívicos can fill that void and promote stronger and more participative communities.
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https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.facticoapp.supercivicos&hl=es_MX

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About your team

Select an option below:

For-Profit

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If you selected Other for the organization question, please explain here.

For Profit.

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How many people work on your solution team?

5 full time staff.

4 part-time staff.

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For how many years have you been working on your solution?

2

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Why are you and your team best-placed to deliver this solution?

Founder: Arturo Hernandez: head of the “Supercíivicos,” uses humor to shame violators in Mexico’s sprawling capital, where street vendors and delivery vans block streets and cars drive in bicycle lanes with little fear of punishment. Leader of a community of over 1.5 million followers on Facebook. Used to be an MTV DJ, so has a solid experience creating popular video content.

CEO: Diego Mendiburu, journalist, former press officer at the British Embassy in México City and former reporter at investigative journalism magazine emeequis.Strong connections with journalists and news outlets give this project a bigger impact and influence.

CTO: Carlos Castellanos, iOS, Php, RoR developer. Civic hacker passionate about technology.

Android Developer: Edgar Zavala, Android & RoR expert. Open Data lover.

Lead UX/UI designer: Gabriela Ramírez: Graphic designer passionate about signaling projects and multimedia narratives.


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With what organizations are you currently partnering, if any? How are you working with them?

We have signed “collaboration agreements” with 7 governments:

  • Alcaldía Cuauhtémoc
  • Alcaldía Miguel Hidalgo
  • Alcaldía Azcapotzaclo
  • Alcaldía Benito Juárez
  • Alcaldía Magdalena Contreras
  • Alcaldía Cuajimalpa
  • Alcaldía Álvaro Obregón

Additionally, Locatel, the Mexico City office responsible for attending, informing and orienting who are located in Ciudad de México and other parts of the country, already has an official account in our platform, and generates tracking numbers for the reports inside our app.

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Your business model & funding

What is your business model?

1) Sponsored content and tailor-made data gathering campaigns – Brands and organizations want to distribute messages about their products, services and projects go viral by having Los Supercívicos create branded content about them. Additionally, through the “missions” feature of our app, brands & NGOs can invite our users to send reports about specific topics over a limited period (1-month average). Missions also feature the organizations logo prominently on Supercívicos app main screen. Average Ticket: 15,500 USD.

2) Monthly payment fee for Access to our API/Dashboard – Unreleased.

3) Sponsored vritual assets for augmented reality experiences - unreleased

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What is your path to financial sustainability?

We have seen how governments take a long time to start using technology, and when they do, they spend millions of dollars only to see the next government contract a different provider and start everything from zero. We want to create an online dashboard for governments and organizations to visualize Supercívicos data, see it on maps, and have quick access to the conversations with citizens; this would be software as a service platform that would also connect other open API’s to cross-reference data, to help decision makers better create public policies regarding public infrastructure and services, housing, and public transport.

In terms of our clients, our best shot is to bring in big infrastructure corporations with a heavy interest in urban planning and urban development. Also, governments willing to pay for having access to our data and a dashboard with visualizations, charts, and statistics. Our “missions” feature allows brands & NGOs to invite our users to send reports about specific topics over a limited period (1-month minimum). Missions also feature the organizations logo prominently on Supercívicos app main screen. The “Missions” feature is relevant for two reasons: a) It has been validated as a monetization channel b) It’s a great vehicle to formalize partnerships with the most relevant civic society actors and organizations in Mexico (already launched missions in partnership with NGOs such as Camina, WRI, IMCO and others).


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Partnership potential

Why are you applying to Solve?

We urgently need connections with established smart city projects that can help us identify our best monetization channel and establish collaboration schemes to reach our full potential and expand to other Latin American cities.

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What types of connections and partnerships would be most catalytic for your solution?

  • Business model
  • Funding and revenue model
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If you selected Other, please explain here.

Connections with local governments in latin american cities.

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With what organizations would you like to partner, and how would you like to partner with them?

Omidyar/Luminate

Avina

COMEX

Open Society    

Rockefeller Foundation

Kellog Foundation

Greenpeace

Ford Foundation

My Society

Code for America

USAID

Open Knowledge Foundation

Sunlight Foundation

NED      

Fix My Street

Knight Foundation          

Telmex 

CEMEX 

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If you would like to apply for the AI Innovations Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If you are not already using AI in your solution, explain why it is necessary for your solution to be successful and how you plan to incorporate it.

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If you would like to apply for the GM Prize on Community-Driven Innovation, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution.

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If you would like to apply for the Innovation for Women Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution.

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If you would like to apply for the Prize for Innovation in Refugee Inclusion, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution.

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If you would like to apply for the Innospark Ventures Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If your solution utilizes data, describe how you will ensure that the data is sourced, maintained, and used ethically and responsibly.

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If you would like to apply for the Morgridge Family Foundation Community-Driven Innovation Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution.

We have seen how governments take a long time to start using technology, and when they do, they spend millions of dollars only to see the next government contract a different provider and start everything from zero. We want to create an online dashboard for governments and organizations to visualize Supercívicos data, see it on maps, and have quick access to the conversations with citizens; this would be software as a service platform that would also connect other open API’s to cross-reference data, to help decision makers better create public policies regarding public infrastructure and services, housing, and public transport.

Aditionaly, we want to:

-             Produce at least four daily news stories based on reports made by citizens in Supercívicos app in México City and neighbour states. Each of this stories, made by a professional journalist, would have to have at least one interview with the citizen that made the report or a neighbour, plus a reply from the authorities

-             Produce at least a weekly investigative report based on reports and data generated in our platform in México City and neighbour states. This piece would have to have at least one data visualisation, using both official and data gathered in our platform.

-              Produce at least a daily multimedia product (video or GIF) to be shared on Supercívicos social media

 

 

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If you would like to apply for the Everytown for Gun Safety Prize, describe how you and your team will utilize the prize to advance your solution. If your solution utilizes data, describe how you will ensure that the data is sourced, maintained, and used ethically and responsibly.

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