Recognizing the Role of Technology in Social Change

The Prix Ars Electronica “Digital Communities” award was presented to “Wikipedia,” a free-content encyclopedia currently offered in more than 50 languages, and “The World Starts With Me,” a digital health education and AIDS prevention program for young Ugandans. These awards are part of the 2004 Prix Ars Electronica, the premier awards event of the cyberarts world, and are being presented today at an official ceremony in New York the day prior to the opening of the Global Compact Leaders Summit.
“One of the greatest lasting benefits of the global expansion of the Internet is the ability to apply digital innovation to promote large-scale social innovation,” said Les Hayman, chief officer of global human resources, SAP and member of SAP’s extended board. “We are proud to recognize initiatives and organizations that are creatively using new technologies to advance and improve relations among citizens, governments and the private sector.”
The cooperation between SAP and Ars Electronica has a stated goal of developing easier ways to visualize information and creating new methods of connecting information with digital data. The two partners have engaged in a variety of projects since 2002, including an artistic online presentation of SAP’s stock performance and an interactive, digital version of SAP’s recent Innovation Report.
“Since its founding in 1979, Ars Electronica has helped raise awareness of the social and cultural consequences of art and new technologies through partnerships with companies and the annual Ars Electronica Festival,” said Gerfried Stocker, director, Ars Electronica. “With the support of SAP, the new Digital Communities award category will further raise awareness by discovering and supporting innovative programs in all corners of the world.”

The prizes for the projects

A total of 441 projects competed for the new award category of “Digital Communities.” The two winners, “Wikipedia”, and “The World Starts With Me” take home the prestigious Golden Nica awards and over $12,000 in cash prizes each. Winners of the awards are asked to propose concepts for using the prize money to improve or expand their projects or to set up a new “Digital Community.”
In addition to the two top prizes in the “Digital Communities” category, SAP and Ars Electronic gave Awards of Distinction to four additional projects, each endowed with $6,000:

  • dol2day/democracy online today (Germany) – With more than 30,000 registered users, “dol2day” is the largest German-language community dedicated to politics and political discourse on the Internet.
  • Krebs-Kompass (Germany) –”Krebs-Kompass,” which translates as cancer compass, offers information about all topics related to cancer, providing an innovative combination of expert counseling and mutual emotional support by those battling this disease.
  • Open-Clothes (Japan) – This Web site is a meeting place for tailors who want to showcase their private creations, offering a marked contrast to the strictly hierarchical and centrally organized Japanese clothing industry.
  • smart X tension (Austria, Zimbabwe) – This project expands the original “Tonga.Online” site that established the first computer center in one of the most remote regions of Zimbabwe.

SAP’s role in the Global Compact

The Global Compact was initiated by United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and launched in July 2000. It is designed to bring private-sector companies together with UN agencies, labour and civil society to support principles in the areas of human rights, labour and the environment. SAP worked with the Global Compact team to develop the online component of the program – a portal that facilitates dialogue between all participants. The portal allows users to post case studies, share best practices and exchange other ideas. SAP remains an active member of the Global Compact and participates in the Global Compact Leaders Summit today at the United Nations headquarters building in New York.

Source: SAP AG