TECH FOR GOOD

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Guest post by: Isabel Van De Keere

What motivates people in their jobs? What makes them passionate about a project? Is it prestige? Is it power? Is it money? As a regular attendee at Tech for Good events, I’m pleased to report the good news:

Many folks are driven when they are able to change lives and make an impact in society.

A plethora of technology companies are focusing on increasing social impact both in the western and in the developing world. Whether it is making more accessible medical tools or educational resources readily available online – there are countless examples of flourishing purpose-driven organisations. One initiative leading the way is the accelerator, Bethnal Green Ventures (BGV) — living proof that these type of businesses can not only sustain, but can scale too.


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Three BGV ventures are worth mentioning:

Andiamo uses 3D scanning and printing to drastically improve orthotic services for children. The startup aims to significantly improve the lives of disabled children and their families by altering the way orthotic services are produced.

Health VR creates virtual reality experiences for use in cognitive behaviour therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder. They developed a VR platform that allows users to choose a realistic environment that induces anxiety in order to help in therapy.

OurPath is a startup focussed on Diabetes. The team has developed an app that acts as a personal coach for diabetes patients with the goal to help them live more healthy.

There are many other initiatives and programmes to help those interested in doing good.   On Purpose runs a yearly associate placement programme focusing on training , mentoring and coaching  social entrepreneurs.    Year Here  runs a postgraduate course in London focused on social innovation. The course is aimed at graduates and young professionals who want to tackle important social challenges.

Large corporations too continue to make a social impact. One such mechanism for doing so is by providing “freedom to operate” licences to developing countries for humanitarian work. While I was at UNESCO, as a science policy researcher — we collaborated with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the World Health Organisation to advance social innovation in developing countries.  I learned of WIPO GREEN, an interactive marketplace that promotes innovation and diffusion of green technologies and WIPO Re:Search which catalyses the development of medical products for neglected tropical diseases, malaria, and tuberculosis through innovative research partnerships.

It’s evident that young professionals are clearly driven to make an impact on society. This, thankfully is not just a trend.  The rapid pace of technological innovation is only increasing the ability for new businesses to startup and existing businesses to thrive. I only ask you then:

When will you step up and increase your impact on society?

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