Tech for good 2016

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Text copied from the Hackpad.

Tech for good

Attendance: Matt K, Brian, Chris, John, Patrick, Tanc

Facilitator: Brian

Minutes: Tanc


Go round the circle to hear to why people are here at the session:

John: Used to work at Nestor innovation champion for the UK, also at Mozilla who received small donor funds for individuals and larger funds. Also interested in this through the co-ops lens and not leak money through the charity sector and keep the money within the co-ops. Interested in solving the problems (co-ops) rather than

Tanc: It would be nice to have money to give away and so interested in hearing the challenges.

Matt K: Interested in how best to use surpless and how best to get it to the right people. Using co-op money to enhance it's own vision of how the world should be rather than charities etc who might have a different world view.

John: What is the back of the napkin theory of change for Outlandish?

Brian: Our theory of change was for the whole org was to be a transfomative co-op, creates positive change balanced with creating positive working environmnet for ourselves. A lot about the mastery over our own lives but also a lot about how we get our surpless to good sources.

Brian: The magic of co-budgeting... Pitching for work commercialy we have the sales circle, but we have nothing on the social value side. We need good pitching for the internal jobs, but expecting developers who have never done this before created bad quality pitches.

  • Problem 1: How do you ensure you get high quality pitches?
  • Problem 2: Systemic bias in who would pitch
  • Problem 3: Lead time and readiness or capacity of receiving organisations

Patrick: A friend of mine has been the co-ordinator in a law firm to help them spend their social money. She would be a useful person to talk to.

Tanc: Can you explain how Outlandish has so far tried to do this?

Brian: This is iteration 3 we've had where previously internal work was done. Now we have a fellowship system where we pay other like minded people to complete the projects. This seems to be working better and has introduced us to new people, myself included, throught the fellowship system.

John: If you are looking for projects for Outlandish to work on, its encouraging that you're looking at longer timeframes. Probono work is not so well understood in the tech world compared to say law firms which have a long history. The long term relationships are important in this area.

Patrick: Agreed, my friend is very good at cultivating long term relationships. If scoping is one of the issues, maybe a chunk of work can be to scope it out. So pay someone to scope the project before embarking on any work.

John: Why did your severly over-budget project go wrong?

Brian: We didn't apply the same rigorous process to the project. We implemented a time tracking system using Toggl and setting budgets.

Matt K: One of the outcomes we wanted was to learn React better. That led to a rabbit hole which led to overspend. We had promised something but spent far too much time trying to solve an Outlandish problem.

John: If you're not strict on processes you're letting the client down as well. Giving say agile processes a bad name etc.

Brian: You're doing what Outlandish is trying to do. We found a professional financial review process changed things for us and we realised we were making a lot of money and needed to give it away.

Chris: We've bankrolled lots of activist tech stuff for years. We used to host Indymedia, lots of antiwar stuff in Sheffield. Its stuff that people in the co-op were involved with.

Brian: Has the money been well spent?

Chris: I don't know!

Patrick: I had a journey away from being a corporate surf. Often people didn't have the money to pay for my services. Now I'm much more confident in where I invest my time. I got to this point where I was felt I was being patronising with my help.

John: I applied for a job (dot everyone) where the role is to introduce them to civic tech and match them to client and understand their value in a wider network. It might be interesting for you to read the job description.

Brian: The professional route: Outlandish don't want to pay a full time person but maybe a day or week and part time makes sense. How much should we pay a person to do the work of giving away the money?

Matt K: There is a ratio that feels about right, maybe up to 30%. But there is a clarity needed, so that money spent would need to feel like its well used, through sharing our knowledge and experience.

John: Some things are measurable, like hiring people off the back of the work etc.

Brian: Outlandish is wholly separate from the tech for good movement but if we could be part of it it would be very beneficial for the co-op.

Patrick: A healthy selfishness is a good thing.

Matt K: That marries well with what Tanc said about attaching it to a project.

Three approaches:

  1. Manage a pipeline/create a network (external orgs)
  2. Attach to existing commercial projects
  3. Funding external projects but via connects that we already have within the team.