Lily Cole to visit Cambridge for launch of new social network

A good news story for the week, which involved contacting former King’s student and model Lily Cole about her new gifting idea. Impossible is a new project to be launched in Cambridge this Wednesday, based on encouraging a peer-to-peer gift economy. Users will post wishes to a community of users that may help.

Model and former Cambridge student Lily Cole will visit Cambridge students this week to present a new social network, Impossible, which will seek to engender a peer-to-peer gift economy.

The smartphone app will enable users to post wishes, which will be shown to other users who are likely to be able to help, using such criteria as proximity, existing social graphs and matching skills. At the heart of the project is an emphasis on reciprocity – giving to a community who may in turn give something back. Its philosophy is: “Make a wish. Take a wish. Say thanks.”

On Wednesday, Lily Cole and the team behind the social network will meet with students at the Giving Tree on King’s Parade all day, answering questions about the project. The following day, on Thursday, a debate at the union will take place under the motion “This House believes an economy based on giving is impossible” with guests including the co-founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, peace activist Genevieve Vaughan, David Halpern, Director of the Behavioural Insight Team, and James Suzman, Director Corporate Affairs at De Beers.

Talking about the new social network, Lily Cole said: “The name Impossible plays on the idea that it is a very utopian proposition. But I do believe in people, and I believe that it might work.”

The service will run initially for use by Cambridge students only as a beta service before being rolled out nationally later this year. The app is available to download for iPhone now by searching for *impossible* in the App Store (or using the following link, as well as online.

“Imagine if kindness was our currency,” Impossible asks, “an alternative gift economy that aims to enable the building of communities in local areas through goodwill.”

It will operate as a Yunus social business, a company created for social benefit rather than private profit, in which 100% of profits are reinvested for growth and innovation, or to seed new social business ventures.

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