– Reflections from the Tech4Dev Social Impact Sprint
My co-founder Simon and me just came back from the Social Impact Sprint organized by Chintu Gudiya and ColoredCow (special thanks to Donald Lobo and Tushar to make this happen). It was an amazing week: great views, delicious food, an exceptionally open and supportive atmosphere (a lot has been written about all that already in the official blog posts). And not least of all, we met amazing people working in the tech for good / ICT4D space with whom we immediately felt a personal connection. We have fit in perfectly here with Aam Digital as an easy-to-use case management software that empowers the field-level workers of NGOs to make their work easier, more effective and more transparent.
Through tech talks and “deep dives” we had the chance to get glimpses into interesting approaches from the organisations at the sprint. To just highlight a few: Simon shared our own experience at Aam Digital with offline-first and progressive web apps (PWAs). Gliffic is using Google Data Studio and Big Query to offer dashboards to users without reinventing the wheel for this. And Aman discussed how machine learning can be applied to all kinds of social problems from measuring malnutrition through video recordings to classifying pests in rural agriculture (but the input also featured a thoughtful note that you should think carefully whether you really need AI to solve your problem or if it is just a tech buzzword that lures you).
Food for thought – what is our impact?
Among the most interesting were the ad-hoc discussions that sometimes just came up around lunch or on a trek. For our vision at Aam Digital two aspects in particular gave me food for though:
- How can we measure impact, as we are providing a tool to NGOs rather than a direct solution to social issues?
- How do we position our solution as a custom, individualized service or a generic product?
To keep this post short and maybe enable some discussion around those two aspects, I am writing separate posts about these and linking them here.
Overall, we are coming back from this week charged up and full of energy. Our work at the intersection of tech and the social sector sometimes takes a lot of patience and has uncertain results (e.g. until discussions with partners come to a conclusion). It’s hugely encouraging and motivating to find this community of like-minded people to discuss ideas and build personal connections with others working in the same field using the power of technology to make our world a better place.