Find a problem, and fix it

There are a lot of problems out there that need fixing. Some are big, and complicated. Others are quite small, and simple.

Why not try picking one of the small and simple ones, and fix it?

Back in 2007, I started a new job in local government. I was a risk manager! I hadn’t been one of those before.

I needed to write a risk management strategy. So, in the best traditions of local government, I hit Google to find someone else’s that I could, er, take inspiration from.

Only, I couldn’t find anything useful. All my results were cluttered with non public sector stuff. What a pain.

So, I decided to fix this small, simple problem. I set up a customised search engine in Google, effectively feeding it a whitelist of sites to restrict the search to. My list was of all the URLs of UK local authorities.

Now, when I searched, I only got results back from organisations like mine. Lovely!

I put the search box on a website, where it resides to this day as LGSearch. You can give it a go yourself, if you like.

I do not claim that, even in 2007, this was a technological breakthrough of any particular sort. It was however a quick and dirty solution to an annoying problem, and it worked.

No need to build a new search index. No need to seek funding. No requirements for a programme board or any such thing.

What problem could you fix today?