The duo's idea, titled Ask MOM money manager, is an innovative model that uses mobile microwork to help households track their expenses effortlessly.
Millington and Rosenthal also won the first spot prize for their idea Microwork, medical mobile diagnostics. As with that idea, the team has once again found an innovative, feasible application of microwork with clear development impact.
In their model, a subscriber would snap pictures of her print and online receipts with her mobile phone. Then, microworkers from all over the world would process each anonymized receipt and enter the relevant fields, such as amount, currency unit, place, and expense category, into an up-to-the-minute database that the user could access from anywhere.
The idea builds on the increasing popularity of portable, web-based personal finance management services such as mint.com, which has 7 million registered users.
The first runner-up, m2work for local business data in the developing world, applies crowdsourcing to the problem of local business data gathering, which is of interest mainly to enterprises and governments. Its creator, under the alias of The Vigorous Poets, takes the model of Mocality—a crowdsourced business directory in Kenya—and suggests expansions to it, such as letting people send updates via feature phones. The jury praised the idea’s feasibility and market readiness, but felt that it lacked sheer innovation in the face of similar existing services.
Jeongtae Kim of South Korea penned the second runner-up, Microwork-based Social Publishing for Empowerment, an idea on how to distribute specialized translation work for children’s books. The donor-funded model would boost parallel development in the areas of job creation, cultural reach, and child literacy. However, it would task workers to translate an entire book at a time, which is beyond the scope of microwork.
The fact that the second spot-prize jury—different from the first—chose Millington and Rosenthal’s submission underscores the pair’s uniquely clear vision of mobile microwork and points to the need for wider understanding of the platform’s vast potential, which is a key goal of the m2Work challenge.