We think that it is more important than ever that communities of people take a stand for the things they believe, and protect things that they previously had taken for granted. We loved the pledge that the Silicon Valley community made towards the end of last year, in light of all that had happened with Trump, Brexit etc -http://neveragain.tech/. So we got in touch with people working across the Tech For Good community to ask them what they hoped the UK Tech For Good community would do or take a stand about in 2017.
What actions would you like to see people or organisations in the Tech For Good community taking in 2017? Some people talked about what they were personally going to commit to in their work, whilst others shared what they hoped the community would do in 2017.
“ Rather than focussing on innovation or the future, it's time for us to come to terms with the ways technology is changing the here and now. A good starting point is taking the effort to look after our safety and security online, and helping the people we care about to do the same. (See https://ssd.eff.org/en for a useful introduction.)”
Rachel Coldicutt, CEO, Doteveryone
"Ladies - Wikipedia needs you! … Get more women contributing to Wikipedia. It's our biggest source of free, factual information and one of the most important civic spaces on the web. Only 13-23% of Wikipedians identify as women. A post-truth world needs more diversity.”
Beatrice Karol Burkes, Director of Delivery, Good Things Foundation
“ Brexit will affect every corner of our society and remake our constitution. We don't have the tools in place to make a good job of that new settlement (and little time to make them). I'd like to see an organisation building things to make Brexit make sense and involve more people. The longer-term societal issues that Brexit and Trump have exposed need solving, but they need separating from the very real issue of making the Brexit process open, fair, trusted etc. It’s too important to get wrong.”
Richard Pope, Head of Design, IF
What the community itself should do more of
“By the end of this year, I'd like every tech for good initiative to be able to describe the impact they're trying to have in one sentence, in a way which can engage everyone from funders to the person on the street. And I'd like them all to sign up to digitalsocial.eu, the community of people, projects and organisations using digital technologies to tackle social challenges!”
Matt Stokes, Researcher Digital Social Innovation, Nesta
“ I’d like to see more interesting collaborations between unusual partners, such as partnerships between representatives of organisations who are specialists in the field, designers, technologists, target audiences. Too often charities or new start up’s work in silos on their own projects and commission digital agencies. I’d like to see a group coming together around a key issue they want to address collectively.”
Nissa Ramsay, Comic Relief
“Reduce the cost of early-stage innovation by reusing/building on what already exists, until you’re confident that something new is required. As the tech for good community grows and diversifies, it becomes more important (and beneficial) to share work - research, data, code etc. - in reusable formats and to develop the habits of reuse/early testing.”
Ellie Hale, Associate, CAST
“ I would love it if 2017 was the year that the Tech For Good community really cracked / addressed the scale problem. For Tech For Good to live up to it's potential, I would like to see some products, initiatives and companies really getting to Uber / Airbnb / Tripadvisor levels of awareness and adoption. A big ask I know, but I feel that should be the goal, and it may require different approaches to get there.”
Tom Blathwayt, Executive Director for Enterprise Development at Nesta
“ I think it would be good if the tech community introduced some kind of social impact barometer across the whole sector globally that establishes the requirement for tech companies to report on their social impact alongside their profits or growth plans when expanding/growing. The sector needs to actively address the unintended negative impacts of its fantastic technological process - look at this video - it's worth finishing!
Stephen Bediako, Executive Chairman, The Social Innovation Partnership,
“ Through collaboration, we can most swiftly unlock the true potential of digital technology to support those most disadvantaged by society’s challenges. One of Nominet Trust’s latest NT100 ventures, Disrupt Disability, exemplifies how collaboration across a global community enables social tech ventures to embrace the collective power of open source design and digital fabrication to alter perceptions of wheelchairs and their users.”
Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust
"Instead of building decentralised blockchain wossits, focus on building some institutions we can trust."
Tom Taylor, Chief Product Engineer at CoopDigital
“ I’d like to see a Digital Human Rights Charter, powered by the Citizens Advice. That would be amazing.”
Indy Johar, Co-founder Zero Zero
“ I’d like the Tech for Good community to really think about what it would mean to have a progressive digital economy. One where digital dividends are more equally divided. Then we can move from being data drones to data citizens.”
Emer Coleman, Techno Ethics and Co-op Digital
Commitments in how you design
“To build appropriate auditing capability (and where possible user notification) into our infrastructure, by default, so that our data usage can be transparent to users. To clarify how the data we request from users helps deliver specific application features (at present there are loads of native mobile apps that request data that isn't critical to the core service and for which there is no explanation nor is there an option to decline these data requests at a granular level.)”
Ade Adewunmi, Tech For Good Advisory Board, Head of Data Infrastructure, Government Digital Services (GDS)
“To ask for less: Reconsider what data is necessary to support a service: remove any data that is not necessary, ask users for far less data. To do more: Be upfront about the data you collect and wherever possible, put users in control. “
Sarah Gold, Founder & Director at IF.
“Think about aligning with others, rather than focussing on your specific technology or idea. For instance, if you are into open data, you might encourage organisations to open information. Instead, think about how opening up might support their own goals, explain that, in their own language, showing how it helps them.”
Laura James, Technical Director, Doteveryone
“If your product in some way requires the attention of your users then make sure you take care of it. So few app makers consider how the screens and interactions they design influence the wellbeing of the people be that through fragmenting attention or creating addictive loop. Let’s all do better.”
Rohan Gunatillake, Founder & Director, Mindfulness Everywhere
“ Rather than focussing on innovation or the future, it's time for us to come to terms with the ways technology is changing the here and now."