Glimmers final report: A vision for community-powered tech

Rachel Coldicutt
Sep 10 · 2 min read
A white lighthouse against an orange background.
A white lighthouse against an orange background.

Glimmers has been a real-time investigation into the relationship between technology and civil society.

Civil society is committed to “building back better” but for that to happen, it needs to be active and thriving — not exhausted and over-stretched.

In response to our findings, we have created the Glimmers Toolkit to aid recovery for civil society organisations, and are calling for a Community Tech Stack, so the future of digital social infrastructure is not dependent on either big technology platforms or start-up “unicorns”.

The full final report is available on the Glimmers website. Our findings and recommendations are summarised below.

Insight

  1. Crisis management is not the same as time travel
  2. Infrastructure investment is needed as well as improvisation
  3. Platform dependency is not sustainable

This has been a real-time research project, understanding events as they have occurred. Our findings also point to an urgent need for longitudinal ethnographic research into the impact of digital civil society on specific communities, the importance of community and building social capital, and a widening of the concept of “digital inclusion” to include accessible service design.

Read the Insight in more detail >

Recommendations

The front page of the Glimmers toolkit
The front page of the Glimmers toolkit
  1. Community groups and civil society organisations should invest in their own recovery. To make this easier, we have launched the Glimmers Toolkit.
  2. To kickstart renewal, there is an opportunity for cross-sector, collaborative action so that civil society intelligence influences and informs how technology is made.
  3. In the longer term, a Community Tech Stack is needed, so that digital social infrastructure can be decoupled from “big tech”.

Read the Recommendations in more detail >

Download the Glimmers Toolkit >

The UK’s digital social infrastructure cannot depend entirely on commercial technologies. Strong communities need solid foundations. People have extraordinary potential, and deserve the tools to realise that on their own terms — out of the shadow of Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos’s ambition.

If you would like to join the movement to build a Community Tech Stack, drop an email to hello@careful.industries with “Community Tech Stack” in the subject line.

We would like to thank everyone who took part in interviews and workshops for sharing their experiences and insights so generously, to Cassie Robinson for her input, and to The National Lottery Community Fund. for their support.

Glimmers

Digital futures for civil society

Rachel Coldicutt

Written by

Feminist. Responsible technologist. Reading and writing on equality, automation and climate crisis. On sabbatical-ish. Formerly @doteveryone .

Glimmers

Glimmers

Blog posts and research notes from the Glimmers research project

Rachel Coldicutt

Written by

Feminist. Responsible technologist. Reading and writing on equality, automation and climate crisis. On sabbatical-ish. Formerly @doteveryone .

Glimmers

Glimmers

Blog posts and research notes from the Glimmers research project

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store