eBay Inc. Employee-Created App Makes It to Finals of MIT Competition

By: eBay Inc. Staff

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Back in 2008, a public transport strike at eBay’s Berlin office triggered the idea for a company-internal carpool. The local Green Team realized that a carpool would not only help in situations where public transport fails but could also reduce our carbon footprint significantly. Creating corporate carpool program has the advantage that passengers will always be colleagues who usually share the same target destination:  the office. This increases trust and the likelihood of finding a matching ride.

Members of the eBay Green Team spent some weekends developing a simple but effective mobile application: Call2Ride. “It was great to see how enthusiastic and efficient colleagues from different departments and countries joined forces just inspired by a social innovation,” says Green Team member Clemens Rath. “Product managers worked with Six Sigma and marketing experts, while outsourcing managers helped to find the right third party support.” A funny movie about Call2Ride can be found on YouTube. During a pilot, many colleagues gave valuable feedback that led to the addition of a web application and the ability to offer and request recurring rides via the company calendar.

This year, members of the eBay Green Team in Germany have revitalized the idea and decided to share the system as Open Source. The eBay-internal Call2Ride application becomes the eBay community’s Open CarPool. This will allow other companies and organizations to easily set up their own carpools and contribute to carbon reduction as a global, social and crowd-enabled effort. By end of August, initial documentation will be available to the Open Source community on SourceForge.net.

The team is especially proud that the idea has been selected as a finalist in the Climate CoLab Transport Efficiency competition of the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The MIT’s Climate CoLab goal is to harness the collective intelligence of thousands of people from all around the world to address global climate change.  Its recognition will help to spread the idea and increase the impact. Cast your vote for our innovative Green Team-ers at the Climate CoLab site through August 31, and be sure to check out the new Facebook page that was created for the project!

(Photo: iStockPhoto)