Time For Tech For Good


Last week’s post on Tech For Good got a good reception, both from those already working in the area and those who hadn’t heard of it, but maybe only needed a small nudge to start to join the pieces together and see them as the start of a movement.

There’s been a few more happenings over the last week and some initiatives people sent me after reading my post, so thought I’d follow up last week’s post with an update on all things Tech For Good.

Product teams: The next wave of digital for NGOs?

This post from Greenpeace’s excellent Mobilisation Lab team picked up perfectly on some of the thoughts I’d had around how digital products differ from online services and how nonprofits generally aren’t geared up for this way of working.

"We’ve reached a fascinating point in the evolution of technology within nonprofit and social change organisations: everyone we work with at Greenpeace and beyond seems to agree that digital has a critical role to play, but many struggle to find the staffing models and structures that enable their technology to truly thrive."

The article looks at how organisations s can apply "product" principles to start and continue deliver the best technology for their cause. It’s a big topic, but the article does a great job of covering some of the background, strategies, ways to implement product teams and some of the pitfalls to look out for.


I recommend reading the full post for an idea of just what it’s going to take to put a digital product team in place in charities that are traditionally used to working with content teams that use digital channels to promote their campaigns.

If you’re thinking of building digital products for your cause, the post is well worth a read and saving for later. I have a feeling you’ll be referring back to the post and points made as you make the journey into putting together your digital product team.

NPC’s Digital Transformation Programme

No sooner had I hit publish on my Tech For Good post than NPC announced their Digital Transformation programme.

NPC’s programme is designed to transform the way the social sector functions by supporting the adoption of digital technologies.

"Digital technology can make changes to the fundamental architecture of the sector—making it easier for charities to integrate with others, collaborate and coordinate their activities and to put beneficiaries at the heart of service design and delivery—and to save money while doing it too."

We’ve heard this kind of thing before, but the way they articulate the challenges involved echoes my thoughts, just in a more formally structured way:

Capacity: organisations are learning how to apply digital technology to their own models, and so are not able yet to consider what digital could enable through infrastructure, collaboration, and data sharing.

Funding: investment is limited, and most funders lack the expertise to assess proposals from charities that contain a digital aspect.

Expertise: those designing and developing digital technologies are mainly in the private sector, where potential social applications are far from front of mind.

They’re also running two events to meet the great and the good of the Tech For Good world (plus the rest of us), so sign up to their events in London and Manchester in July:

  • Manchester
  • 06 July 2015
  • London
  • 14 July 2015

Looks like NPC have put together a fantastic steering group too, so the programme is in safe hands.

Personal Data

There’s a new Tech For Good video out that asks "Are you in charge of your digital self?"

I’ve embedded the video below, but it’s also well worth reading the accompanying blog post from Abby Schlageter that features more from the video’s main subject, Sarah Gold – a designer who proposed The Alternet – and points to a whole host of related Tech For Good resources.

Tech For Good Goes Global

Those of you who clicked through to the Tech For Good website may notice that the domain name for the sire has changed from techforgood.tv to techforgood.global.

This change reflects the growing success for the project, which has moved beyond videos and into a podcast, as well as the usual blog, Twitter and Facebook profiles.

They even held an event yesterday as part of the Web We Want Festival at London’s Southbank Centre. Read Tech For Good Co-founder Cassie Robinson’s take on how tech is doing good here.

My role with the team is changing slightly, but I’m still involved and a big supporter of the project, so looking forward to seeing what Cassie and the team get up to with Tech For Good.


I’ve heard from quite a few people already following my last Tech For Good post, but if you want to reach out or get me involved in your Tech For Good project, you should contact me here.

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