Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Tech for Good

People often ask me how I keep up with all the ways people are using technology for good. The answer is, I don't. There's no way (that I've been able to think of) to stay totally on the cutting edge of what folks are doing with mobile, social networks, SMS, NFC, AI, and AR (Yes, those are gratuitous, albeit real, acronyms for tech stuff).

Luckily (for me) our behaviors and expectations for information and organizing and gathering and monitoring and sensemaking change more slowly than do the actual technologies. That's not to say I can keep up with the human applications of new tools, but at least it requires a slightly slower pace than keeping up with the tools themselves.

I shared some thoughts about all this with Allison Fine @Afine on the Social Media for Social Good podcast.

Here are some of the things I'm watching now....

Tech for Transparency - network of efforts where technologies are being used used for transparency, from Global Voices.

Monitoring supply chains - see Bunnabet Network.

Use of QR codes to motivate action - see TakePart's work with Waiting for Superman as an example. (This is not an endorsement of the movie's message or actions against public unions)

PatentLens and the Initiative for Open Innovation. - a workaround to the "no donations" limitation on Apple iPhones - from Paypal and others

WaterForPeople's FLOW - water well monitoring by the people for the people

Blue Planet Networks' PWX Peer Water Exchange - Got a water project that needs funding? post it on this platform in return for reviewing 5 other projects. Transparency, Funding, Water.

Mom's using cell phones to communicate with health promoters from Living Goods.
Text4Baby for pregnant moms in USA. Other mobile for maternal health projects.

Ushahidi's Standby Task Force.

Tostan's use of mobile phones in its comprehensive community development efforts - especially the Mango Tree pedagogy for explaining cell phone menu systems

What's impressing you when it comes to technology for good?

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