Welcome to Tech4Humans!
Hello there! I’m very excited to introduce you to the project Tech4Humans, a new blog dedicated to bringing you inspiring stories of people using digital technologies for social good.
In just a few weeks, I’ll pack a few belongings to travel the world for three months! My mission is to amplify the voices of digital entrepreneurs tackling social challenges with the latest technological innovations. My vision is to inspire other humans like you to join the movement of digitally skilled people with a social purpose.
Although I’ll be exploring the enablers for social innovation— I’m talking about open data, the decentralised internet, collaborative economies, healthy funding streams or the need to address the digital skills gap — I’m particularly interested in showing you the human side of innovation.
This is why, the majority of stories you’ll find in Tech4Humans will have as protagonists the visionaries, pioneers and members of our communities driving digital social innovation forward.
How did the idea for this blog began?
The idea for this blog began like a lot of great ideas: with a crisis.
After four years working as a writer for technology startups in London, I felt something was missing. Unable to find what it was, I packed my things and came home to Spain this last August.
After two weeks of country-side healing — lots of sun, dog walks, outdoor swimming and homemade food — THE IDEA came to my mind:
“I want to create a blog where I combine my expertise in tech with my passion for journalism and my commitment to social justice. Oh! And I also want to travel the world for three months.”
That’s basically how Tech4Humans started. After doing some research, I realised I had found an emerging niche called Digital Social Innovation full of fascinating people finding new ways to collaborate for social good.
This where my journey started.
What do you mean by Digital Social Innovation?
I agree with you. Digital Social Innovation (DSI) sounds like another empty buzzword, unless we establish some definitions. Let’s go for it!
According to the European Commission, DSI describes a growing movement of people, projects and organisations using digital technologies to create bottom-up solutions for addressing some of society’s biggest challenges.
The field of DSI is extremely diverse, but all projects fall under one of the following four key technology trends:
1. Open hardware: Projects inspired by the global do-it-yourself maker movement and the spread of maker spaces. For example: MakeSpace Madrid.
2. Open knowledge: This refers to large groups of citizens coming together through online platforms to collectively create and analyse new types of knowledge or crowdfund social projects. For example: Open Ministry.
3. Open data: This refers to innovative ways of opening up, capturing, using, analyzing and interpreting data. For example: Open Corporates.
4. Open networks: Citizen networks and infrastructures to collectively share resources and infrastructure. Example: Guifi.net.
To make it easier for small, radical innovations to evolve, the European Commission is funding a variety of initiatives to research DSI and map relevant projects in the continent.
If you want to understand more about this field of study, I highly recommend reading this report by Nesta, as well as checking out the online directory of the 1,964 organisations working on DSI in Europe.
I hope this has helped you understand a little bit more about DSI. This phenomenon is not unique to Europe. It’s happening all over the world, facilitated by the unprecedented levels of hyper connectivity, desire to move away from the current centralisation of power and sense of responsibility for the injustices of society that a growing number of people share.
Some organisations doing cool stuff in this area are:
I’ll be sharing with you the names and activities of organisations dedicated to Digital Social Innovation as I find them during my trip. Please do the same with me, so together we create a network of researchers, entrepreneurs, makers, third spaces, foundations NGOs and other organisms working on making the world a better place with social innovations.
What is your level of expertise?
I must confess that this is a story of searching. I’m searching for the meaning Social Innovation. For how it looks, how it feels and how it sounds like in the hands of the people driving it forward.
I’m by no means an expert in technology, social enterprises or entrepreneurship. I’ve not visited the countries where I’m planning on going, or met many people there.
This means I’ll probably miss a lot of important points and make obvious mistakes, but please bear with me while I come to grips with travelling, finding stories and telling them in an engaging way for all!
When and where will it start?
Tech4Humans has already started. I currently am building the Wordpress site, connecting with people on social media, finding inspiring stories online and in real life, and deciding which route to take!
Once it all takes shape, I’ll make the blog public. Until then, please follow me on social media, where I’m sharing stories every week.
As regards the countries I’ll visit, Spain is the first stop since I’m already here! Soon, I’ll bring you the first stories from the socially-minded innovators I’ve encountered in my country of origin.
My next stop will be the USA, where there are acute social problems that technology can help alleviate. From the USA, I’ll travel to Mexico and then… who knows?
I’m free for three months!
Open to collaborations!
For the time being, I’m the only person behind this project although I hope many storytellers join me in this adventure to amplify the voices of digital entrepreneurs tackling social challenges with the latest technological innovations.
If you want to collaborate with me, simply send me a message on my social channels. I would absolutely love to hear from you!