I have been working with a number of charities and social enterprises on their digital strategy recently, exploring where technology can make a difference in people’s lives, beyond sharing information through a website.
It feels as though digital transformation is finally moving from a buzzword to reality, as organisations recognise increasing needs and diminishing budgets.
For me, technology has always been about improving how we experience life in some way – making something easier; providing accurate and relevant information to enable choices; connecting people; enabling us to reach our full potential.
There are a rich variety of inspiring examples – tools that enable the blind to navigate the underground, that map disaster areas for more effective humanitarian relief, that connect those with needs to willing volunteers, and many more. (For more inspiration, i’d recommend following the Tech4Good Award winners.)
In health, education and social care, digital can connect people and provide information to many, when face to face services are only available for a few.
There is a temptation to notice emerging trends and innovation, and look for any opportunity to re-use this learning as we compete for people’s attention. Tinder style matching apps and peer to peer sharing sites have seen fantastic results, but that isn’t the limit, we can do much more!
Awareness of what is possible is obviously important, but people’s needs vary hugely depending on their situation and conditions. This understanding should be our primary source of inspiration.
Organisations and the people they serve are best placed to convey distinct practical and emotional needs, with experts in various fields providing creative and innovative solutions. The most effective ideas won’t follow a template, but emerge when these parties co-create together, always starting with people, and the challenges they face in living their lives.
I look forward to seeing more inspiring examples of technology improving lives, and am really excited about working with passionate organisations and individuals to create our own.
If you are trying to make a difference, and have a hunch that technology might be able to help, i’d love to chat to you, so feel free to get in touch.