Posted on 8th May 2020
We’re especially excited about Good Tech Fest, a celebration of the ways data, technology, and design can come together to solve social problems. On the 19th and 20th May, we’re virtually joining nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, social enterprises, and technology companies who are interested in learning and sharing how technology and data can be used to drive social impact. Going digital opens the door to a broader audience, helping to bring a wider perspective of ideas to the conversation and amplifying the voices of those who otherwise could have been excluded.
Vera Solutions is offering discounts for our nonprofit clients and partners as a sponsor of the event.
The Makings of a More Inclusive Digital Event
While the conference has been successful in convening people from a wide array of nonprofits, foundations, government, social enterprises, and technology companies, Means has been wrestling with how to innovate the event to reach more people and build a larger, more inclusive audience.
With the global health crisis and travel restrictions surrounding COVID-19, for the first time, this community-building event that has previously taken place in Chicago and Detroit is now accessible to a global audience. The Good Tech Fest team has relocated the planned agenda content as an online series featuring over 50 hours of virtual sessions, a Slack community for workshops and engagement, and nearly 100 webinars from the Data Analysts for Social Good library.
The first Good Tech Fest session will kick off at 3:00pm EDT on Tuesday 19 May with 12 mini keynote sessions. From then, sessions will continue nearly 24/7 for the next two days, covering time zones across the globe. We’d love for you to check out our sessions, Designing Technology for End Users on 20 May at 11:00am BST, with our partners RefugePoint and World Bicycle Relief, and our Keynote Session on 19 May 4:15pm EDT advocating for the elimination of data silos for M&E and Program Delivery!
A Timely Conversation on Reliable Data and Technology
We’re also witnessing a time in which data is more important than ever before. Reliable, timely, accurate data in an arena of headlines and noise is scarce, and the need for data that people can trust has become all the more important. Good Tech Fest will focus on how data are collected, managed, analyzed, and used to continue to drive social impact, even in times of uncertainty.
These conversations reopen key questions for the sector: how are we protecting the privacy of individuals? How can cloud and mobile tools help evaluate if and how social programs contribute to positive outcomes? Which tools are most effective for primary users in rural communities? How are feedback loops factored into the design and implementation of technology solutions? These are just some of the questions we wrestle with as we navigate new digital terrains with our partners. We’re excited to listen, learn, and offer insights with the Good Tech Fest community.
The Need for More End-User Perspectives
Since Vera’s first monitoring & evaluation system implementations in 2010, we’ve centered design of our mobile and cloud solutions around end users. Technology is most powerful when it empowers everyone within an organization – from field staff, to HQ, to the Board – to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively. This necessitates including end users in the tech-for-good conversation, and designing tools that are easy to use, create seamless organizational processes, and enable data-driven programming.
Session attendees will get an inside look at RefugePoint’s mobile case management system helping staff support at-risk refugees in Kenya and World Bicycle Relief’s mobile barcoding and tracking system that supports their work in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Kenya. Belinda will be joining us from Nairobi, Kenya and Lawrence from Lusaka, Zambia. They’ll be joined by a Senior Consultant from Vera’s Cape Town, South Africa team to reflect on pivotal components of designing technology for end users — from needs analysis to iterative testing in the field to effective change management.
To encourage more end user participation in the virtual conference, we’re offering free passes to field practionners interested in joining.
Building Momentum Together
Despite the global setbacks caused by COVID-19, momentum around technology for social impact is building. As we see organizations shifting daily work habits, upgrading technology, and continuing to push programming forward amidst a global pandemic, we’re hopeful that some of our newfound norms can help strengthen the social sector. Continuing to put impact at the center of our business requires the perseverance to wrestle with complex technical questions, willingness to test our assumptions, and eagerness to lean on partners when we don’t have the answers. Let’s wrestle and innovate together – See you on #GoodTechFestSlackChannel.
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