Why Think Social Tech?

Nissa Ramsay
Feb 4, 2018 · 5 min read

At the beginning of January, I left Comic Relief. Like any consultant, I wanted to see if I could use my skills, interests and experience to design my own work. I actually had two jobs at Comic Relief; one in Research and Evaluation (I did this for over 5 years), the other in funding Tech for Good (a job share with Billy Dann for nearly 3 years).

So now I’m branching out on my own. You can read my CV on LinkedIn and see what services I offer on my website. Here, I want to explain more about why I’m setting up as Think Social Tech, what projects I can work on and my experience, to help you decide when to work with me.

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The need for critically informed social tech development

Think Social Tech is currently an umbrella name for the work I’m doing as an independent consultant. I’m providing research, design and evaluation consultancy supporting ‘tech for good’ initiatives, often in partnership with other freelancers and agencies.

I believe social tech development needs to be better informed at all stages of conception, design, development and delivery. Without this, we risk funding and developing good ideas for digital tools and services, without thinking critically about whether people will need and want to use them, as well as the implications of doing so (what data do they create, where does this go, what happens if the project folds or is sold on). In other words, we need to better unpack the potential user, social and financial value. For these reasons, there is a need for more advice and support to develop projects which is both independent of and directly connected to funders, support agencies and developers involved in the ‘tech for good’ community.

In the UK, there are currently very few suppliers of research and evaluation who understand and fully engage with the implications of technology as a mechanism to create social change. They tend to rely on traditional approaches to defining outcomes and measuring progress. Yet agile digital development processes necessitate that research, design and evaluation are part and parcel of the ‘learn-build-measure’ cycle. The focus of creating digital tools and services is meeting user needs, creating social value and becoming financially sustainable in future to continue doing this. So I set up Think Social Tech because of the need to better embed research, evaluation and learning throughout the process of funding and developing projects. This is about working alongside technologists, developers and designers to gather insights and make decisions based on incomplete and complex (digital) data.

More broadly, Think Social Tech is about providing critical thinking about how projects are developed or funded to make people’s lives better. It will undertake some cross-sector and cross-organisational work with funders, charities and start-ups, to identify and find creative solutions to common problems encountered.

What I hope Think Social Tech will do

In a nutshell, Think Social Tech provides consultancy advice and projects to help those working in or with the charitable sector to do their work brilliantly. These projects may not always relate directly (if at all) to social tech development, but will use the same principles of user-led research, open knowledge and collaboration. For example, projects could include:

How Think Social Tech can help your project

I have extensive experience in the following areas to help you develop better informed social tech projects:

Email me to talk through ideas for projects or for specific advice that you need and find out more about my rates and availability. I’ll be updating the Think Social Tech website with new projects as I take them on and share these in future posts.

ThinkSocialTech

Research, design and evaluation consultancy supporting tech…

Nissa Ramsay

Written by

Think Social Tech: Research, design and learning consultancy supporting tech for good initiatives (previously @comicrelief tech for good)

ThinkSocialTech

Research, design and evaluation consultancy supporting tech for good initiatives

Nissa Ramsay

Written by

Think Social Tech: Research, design and learning consultancy supporting tech for good initiatives (previously @comicrelief tech for good)

ThinkSocialTech

Research, design and evaluation consultancy supporting tech for good initiatives

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