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Last Updated: Wednesday, 5 November 2003, 11:49 GMT
Vote on your ideas to change the world
We asked for your ideas to improve society - here we put 10 of the best schemes to a vote to pick your favourite.

Heath Robinson's works are on show at Dulwich Picture Gallery
An innovation need not be a Heath Robinson contraption
On Tuesday, to mark International Social Innovations Day, we asked for your ideas on how to improve living conditions both now and for future generations (Ideas that just might make the world a better place, 4 November). Your thinking caps were well and truly on - we were inundated with bright ideas.

Here are the details of the top 10 schemes, as chosen by Nick Temple, the director of the Institute for Social Inventions, the charity which organised the innovations day. Cast your vote on the ballot box at the bottom of this page.

  • I find it intriguing how private skips mysteriously transform into swap shops. Instead of hiring skips and filling up landfill sites, have a section at town tips where one can donate unwanted wood, masonry, metal and appliances and where people can help themselves to anything they want. Every so often the unwanted rubbish can be cleared out to the neighbouring tip.
    Bob Bombalot, UK

  • Buy "car commuter" tokens from your local shop. Use them to travel into work in your neighbour's car. When he's collected enough, he can cash them in. Any driver earns as much or as little as he wants.
    George Marsden, London

  • A "by choice" part of income tax, to be paid to the service that you personally think needs it most - hospital, library or whatever.
    Shaun Smyth, France

  • To reduce street litter, remove VAT on food eaten inside and slap it on food taken away. If the government won't do this, perhaps local authorities could subsidise it, using the money saved on collecting and disposing of litter.
    CJ Evans, UK

  • To promote cultural awareness, pair willing families from different countries. Start with letters and e-mails, with the hope of one-day making visits, and perhaps even exchanging children for short periods.
    Lizzy, USA

  • Time-specific marriages - a couple agrees when the contract comes up for renewal. You are both optioned to each other, so can't negotiate with new potential partners until you're free of the contract.
    Chris Coombes, UK

  • Office cleaners in high-rise buildings should be paid extra to turn off lights after hours. Despite my own efforts to turn off the lights, the cleaners turn the lights on again to do their work and leave them on. We could save unimaginable amounts of energy if cleaning staff could turn off the lights in every room.
    Jeff Strabone, US

    VOTE RESULTS
    Pick your favourite innovation
    Skips into swap shops
     22.96% 
    Car commuter tokens
     11.72% 
    'By choice' income tax
     13.49% 
    No VAT on eating inside
     11.68% 
    Pair families in countries
     2.25% 
    Time-specific marriages
     6.77% 
    Cleaners switch off lights
     5.40% 
    Wireless LANs in hospital
     5.01% 
    Local shops bus loop
     5.30% 
    More police on bicycles
     15.42% 
    8624 Votes Cast
    Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

  • Wireless LANs in hospitals so that patients can have something to do rather than being bored to death - they could be extended to provide free access in the surrounding areas too.
    Dennis, UK

  • Get local shops to set up a local bus service, half paid for by the council. This would loop around the local shops, reducing the traffic in local areas and reinventing community life. Give the driver a mobile - if you want a ride, ring him.
    Hugh, UK

  • More police to patrol on bicycles - bikes are environmentally friendly and allow officers to go on footpaths/tracks inaccessible to cars. This also makes police presence stronger as officers can stop to talk to people and get in touch with the neighbourhood.
    Brenda Lyall, UK




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