With 4.4 billion active internet users worldwide and smartphones accounting for a third of global mobile connections, it’s impossible to ignore that we live in a world that relies on technology.
While there are plenty of examples of the negative impacts of technology, tech for good, or in other words technology that makes a social impact, is becoming a growing trend. Today, there are 490 tech for social good companies and £1.09 billion is raised each year by venture capitalists looking to invest in technology companies with a social focus.
Tech for good is certainly here to stay.
Join us as we explore everything you need to know about tech for good including, how technology innovation impacts social change and how tech and SaaS companies use tech for good.
What is Tech For Good?
Tech for Good, most simply defined, is the design, development and use of digital technologies to address social challenges. Companies who use technology must also comply with CSR principles by being ethically sound.
Paul Miller, CEO at Bethnal Green Ventures, popularised the term “tech for good” in 2006 when he started running hack weekends for people interested in using tech for social good. The hackathons gave Miller the idea to start his business Bethnal Green Ventures in 2013, which helps people take that first step into building a social venture using technology.
Today tech for good is used across a number of industries and sectors including healthcare, FinTech, and EdTech.
How Technology Impacts Social Change
As technology advances so does our society, and technology innovation can have some serious impacts on social change.
Technology can be used to overcome social barriers as well as significant challenges in healthcare, education, sustainability and democracy.
Leveraging technology allows companies to overcome these barriers by:
- Creating scalable solutions to social challenges, which can increase impact quicker and at lower costs.
- Connecting with customers with strong values and desires to create a better world.
- Raising money for good causes & increasing shareholder value.
Tech used for good has the power to help solve some of the most pressing issues the world faces, and spread the word much faster.
Challenges Facing the Tech for Good Industry
It’s not all smooth sailing when it comes to implementing tech for good as overcoming social challenges is no easy task.
New innovations tend to have a high level of required investment, which may discourage some stakeholders. Especially in 2020 when money might be scarce. A study revealed that 45% of tech for social good companies are currently stuck in the seed phase.
According to Tech Nation, talent is one of the biggest challenges for tech for good companies in the UK. Tech for social good companies typically attract more non-tech professionals and companies need to invest in ongoing training for their employees to help them adapt to new technology.
Tech for good organisations are more likely to have access to vulnerable people’s data, which requires even strict data protection measures. If the data was to fall into the wrong hands, it could have devastating impacts.
4 Tech and SaaS Companies Can Use Tech for Good
Despite these challenges companies are still creating innovative technological solutions to improve our society. Here are a four great examples of companies that are changing the world with tech for good:
1. Accessible Food Ordering from Good Food Talks
Back in 2014, the GearedApp team had the pleasure of working with Matt from Good Food Talks. Matt had downloaded one of GearedApp’s apps, The Bay Fish, and noted that it worked well with iOS VoiceOver.
We worked with Matt to develop the app to be accessible to the visibly impaired. The Good Food Talks app provides users with a menu in their pocket that harnesses smartphone features. Users can then search for a nearby restaurant and use VoiceOver to navigate and read menu items aloud.
Many restaurants are now getting on board with Good Food Talks to ensure an equal experience for all of their customers, including Nando’s, Pret a Manger and Babylon.
2. Streamlined Health Services with HealthyHealth
When it comes to healthcare options people are generally keen to try new and innovative methods to avoid visiting a doctor. Companies can use new technologies to allow people to access their records, renew prescriptions, and get free consultations from their homes.
One great example is HeathyHealth, a HealthTech app, which uses digital data to calculate the risk of diagnosis for over 800 conditions. This app makes it easier for applicants to complete long questionnaires when visiting their doctor.
3. Connecting Employees with Ethical E-Learning
Global fintech company Ethical Angel connects employees with e-learning and volunteering opportunities in a scaleable, personal way. Ethical Angel technology maps the skills, profiles and interests of employees to ethical e-learning projects so they can get involved with projects they truly care about and contribute to society in a way that matters.
4. Making Learning Materials Accessible Forever
Education is one main sector where companies are using tech for good with 10.3% of Tech for Good companies focusing on this sector. For example, EdTech Study Rocket makes it possible for students to study for their A-levels and GSCEs for free and without limitations. They also help students overcome procrastination by offering a virtual learning environment that breaks down, organises, manages, rewards and feedbacks your work.
Use Tech for Good With GearedApp
Here at GearedApp, we put people and ethics at the heart of our work. We’re passionate about working with tech for good companies and helping them bring their vision to life.