Pay-It-Forward: There's An App for That
We're used to hearing "there's an app for that." There are apps to track, facilitate, gamify, and communicate almost anything you can think of— shopping for groceries or tracking your sleep habits, for instance… but how about kindness? What does it look like to track kindness in the world? Well, there's an app for that: KindWorks.
KindWorks is "the world's most powerful pay-it-forward platform," where people everywhere can share their good deeds and inspire others to perform their own acts of kindness. When a global community adopts pay-it-forward as their philosophy, connecting with and helping others becomes a higher priority— and we see a happier and stronger global community.
That's an idea we can get behind. We sat down with founder George Blobe to learn more about KindWorks and its unique, ambitious mission. See below!
What inspired you to start KindWorks?
KindWorks is the culmination of many moments over the course of my life where I questioned my purpose and the true meaning of existence. In so many ways, I’ve found myself in the same place, wanting to create something of meaning that was bigger than myself. I think we all find ourselves in that place at one time or another, and each time I left reflecting on my tiny existence and my connection to the world around me.
The romantic idea that my small gesture could ignite much bigger change was appealing. As I looked around and saw our current population starved for true connection and a sense of community centered around goodness and happiness, I knew without a doubt there was a need for KindWorks. In today’s world, with more ways to communicate than ever before, we somehow find ourselves feeling more alone. And while the digital aspect of our disconnectedness is new, the idea of paying it forward spans history. You look at other pay-it-forward movies and books, reaching as far back as the origin of the Les Mis story, and you realize that the life we live today is a direct result of earlier generations sacrificing what they had for the betterment of those to come. As a parent, this is of course, my wish for my children as well.
So one day, my family “paid-it-forward” on a whim. We were having dinner in one of our favorite restaurants and decided to pick up the tab for the next group to come in. And while I anticipated that this would feel rewarding, what I didn’t expect was the overwhelming feeling of unity that came from it. The entire restaurant was energized by this one small act. In a world that often feels cloaked in negativity, it was great to be reminded of the power of good.
Why should a pay-it-forward system like this take place online instead of in-person?
The online version is a means to an end. The in-person stuff is what truly that matters. In this day and age, it is natural for people to look online for their sense of community. There is a comfort level to this for our population. However, it’s what people will see when they login that’s moving them to act. The online environment is there to inspire. It helps people see that kindness is alive and well in the world, and they can be a part of it in a real way. That is the purpose of the online system… to inspire real life action. And online can inspire it on a scale that can’t be achieved without technology. The very technology that often robs our communities of oneness can ignite positive change when harnessed and used for good. So while pay-it-forward systems have often gone unnoticed or stayed on a local level, they can catch fire and expand in all directions through the online system.
Why is it important for people to pay-it-forward? What has happened in society to make this a necessary exchange?
Paying-it-forward is at the core of being human. As humans, we need to know that we are part of a community and intrinsically want to give back to that community because we know it will strengthen us as a whole. This precious balance has been the basis of human connection for most of our existence. But at certain points in history, the pendulum has swung dramatically causing an imbalance in our core belief system as a society. Take the industrial revolution. At some point, we lost our way and started believing money could replace relationships. We treated everything as a commodity. Since the crash of the economy, we’re starting to see a shift in this mindset that will hopefully lead to a rebalancing of our societal beliefs. This pay-it-forward system is one way to help us start seeing that connections with others can involve more than money and lead to higher rewards.
What is your vision for the future of the product?
The immediate focuses for this product are improving our app and spreading awareness. We have a lot of work ahead of us to get the app to be as robust as we want it. We also want to get it into the hands of organizations who work to drive change. Our goal is to inspire others to show kindness in their own creative ways and to show how their acts connect them to one another.
Our hope is that future version will make the online piece more capable of connection and story sharing, and there are plans to create a completely offline experience as well.
What kind of impact do you hope to see this app have on society?
I hope we can help people see each other as the answer to each other. To help them realize that relying on one another can strengthen our community and remind them that they are not alone. And mostly, that while we are grateful for the positive results of our economic system, the payback for kindness cannot be equaled. That a selfless exchange of love and kindness is the only way to truly fix the world.