“How to use technology to make social projects more impactful?” was an overarching theme of the session called “Technology for social good (and bad)” on the second day of the European Foundation Centre AGA & Conference in Warsaw. Participants had a chance to learn about solutions, tools and trends in humanitarian aid, social inclusion, transparency and governance and citizen engagement; as well as practical work with data.

 

TechSoup was one of the organisers of an interactive session “Technology for social good (and bad)” on the second day of the EFC AGA & Conference in Warsaw. The session was led by TechSoup Europe vice president Anna Sienicka and The Unit for Social Innovation and Research “Shipyard” CEO Kuba Wygnański. It aim was to involve participants to practically test, learn from, and evaluate new ways of tackling old problems through technology and innovation.

“How to use technology to make social projects more impactful?” was an overarching theme of the session. Participants had a chance to learn about solutions, tools and trends in humanitarian aid, social inclusion, transparency and governance and citizen engagement; as well as practical work with data.

The session was organised in a tailored and adjusted format of slow “Speed-Geeking”. There were four thematic stands and each participant could participate in three 20-minute presentations on a specific project/solutions:

Civic engagement and transparency

Luna Kalas of FTS and Sandor Lederer of K-Monitor talked about the community project from CEE region “Technology for Transparency and Accountability”. Experts showed how technology can help to reveal corruption (e.g., “Red Flags” rating the “liklehood of corruption” in public procurement) and even assess an individual’s tendency for corruption (“C-Test”). They also presented a means to track down connections between different entities and people involved in their governance (“The Net of Connections” project). It was a fascinating example of how technology can be tailored to the needs of particular issues and organizations.

Humanitarian aid, refugee response and technology

Dimitris Kokkinakis of Impact Hub Athens talked about how their organisation managed to involve technology-savvy refugees, not only to improve life in refugee camps, but also to help them on their way to a better life. Thanks to Impact Hub Hack the Camp Athens, participants came up with solutions to improve their living standards and facilitate access to the labour market. They empowered people in transit by making them ambassadors of change! Dimitris strongly believes in enhancing an individual’s ability through skills and independence through the ability to make money.

Digital Inclusion

In the room there was also Vesna Bajsanski-Agic of Mozaik Foundation. She introduced the concept of “invisible line of impact” that is used for their Social Entrepreneurs and Community project. The goal of the project is to create a community of program alumni who- as succesful social entrepreneurs – could become role models for young people in Bosnia and Herzgovina in the next 10 years. Mozaik Foundation dares to make a non-measurable project outcome a promise! According to Vesna, this greatly increases the chances to realize project objectives.

Data

The last of the stops on the Tech for Social Good (and Bad) round the room journey explored the role of data in philanthropy. It was led by Jon Toomer and Paul van Haver from TechSoup Validation Services. The data corner used the ‘spectrum game’ to get participants debating questions about data and grantmaking, which led to some interesting insights and arguments about which kind of data and how much data foundations need, whether or not the European Foundation sector might synchronize data at some point, and the nature of qualitative vs quantitative data in grantmaking and security.

“The session format was a nice break from the traditional conference ‘sit and listen.’ The audience had the chance to visit four different stations and hear different perspectives on technology for good (and bad) which got them up and moving at the end of a long day.” – Chris Worman, TechSoup.