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Purpose and Using Technology to Achieve a Greater Good


Thursday, 19th October 2017 at 8:00 am
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Ever wondered how technology can be used to achieve a greater good? Join thought-leaders, change-makers and technology experts for the Tech and Digital Disruption for Purpose free event in Melbourne on 24 October to explore new intersections between tech and the not-for-profit sector.


Thursday, 19th October 2017
at 8:00 am
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Purpose and Using Technology to Achieve a Greater Good
Thursday, 19th October 2017 at 8:00 am

Ever wondered how technology can be used to achieve a greater good? Join thought-leaders, change-makers and technology experts for the Tech and Digital Disruption for Purpose free event in Melbourne on 24 October to explore new intersections between tech and the not-for-profit sector.

Staying ahead of the innovation curve and being able to predict the future of tech and how this can serve the not-for-profit or for purpose sector has never been more important, according to Ingrid Josephine, partnerships and events manager at educational institution, General Assembly.

JBWere’s The Cause Report (2016) discusses how the not-for-profit (NFP) sector is intimately connected to other key sectors in our society of government, business and households in that they are the funders of it, purchasers of its products, beneficiaries of its services and provide very significant employees and volunteers in its organisations. The NFP sector is the glue which holds much of Australian society together and allows it to function and prosper.

In parallel to the NFP sector, the omnipresence of technology has rapidly transformed lives over the last decade (remember, the iPhone was only released in 2007). Now, it’s rare to go about a regular day without interacting with technology — whether it’s an alarm app that wakes you up, the software you use at work or how you decide to donate to charity, volunteer your time, track your health or seek information.  

General Assembly has gathered thought-leaders, change-makers and tech experts from Movember, Vollie, Portable and Hitori.  At our TECH AND DIGITAL DISRUPTION FOR PURPOSE  event on Tuesday 24 October our panel will discuss digital disruption and explore new intersections between tech and the NFP and for purpose sectors.

Ahead of the event we asked our panelists to reflect on the questions around how can technology be used to achieve a greater good and how does tech intersect with charity and not for profits;  what can we expect this to mean in the future?

Sam Gledhill – Global Action Plan (GAP) Program Manager, Movember

As the only global charity focused solely on men’s health, the Movember Foundation has committed to addressing issues facing men since 2003. A movement driven by passionate Mo Bros and Mo Sistas, Movember quickly became aware of the power of social connection – working towards goals beneficial to society.

Combining an online platform for peer-to-peer fundraising with content that speaks directly to supporters, we’ve been able to build a social movement – encouraging five million moustaches to be grown in 21 countries. This technology-meets-social intersection has facilitated investment in over 1,200 programs in prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. As the use of data (particularly web traffic and social media) becomes the mainstay of businesses, not-for-profits have a huge opportunity to provide customers (including participants, fundraisers and donors) with improved journeys – tailored to unique preferences. This gives organisations the opportunity to engage people with solutions to problems that resonate with them most.

Tanya Dontas, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Office, Vollie.

Not for profits struggle to effectively utilise the skills of modern day professionals, which negatively affects the impact they have on the causes they support. The current volunteer rate for the youngest working generation (millennials) is only 30 per cent, the lowest of all employed generations. Are millennials lazy? No. Are they entitled? No. Do they want a better way to volunteer that respects the fact that they are simultaneously the most time-poor and education-rich generation to-date? Yes.

At the same time, Volunteering Australia’s State of Volunteering Report (2016) highlighted key pain-points within corporate volunteering as being that firstly employees have limited time to volunteer, and secondly, employers struggle to find skilled and meaningful volunteering opportunities.

Vollie’s online marketplace is successfully making these connections through project-based remote opportunities, that can be completed on the volunteer’s terms and around their busy schedule. For the modern day professional, making the commitment to volunteer every other Thursday for the next 12 weeks (for example) is no longer possible. If we design the volunteering experience to fit in with the gig economy and allow people to support the causes they care about at a time that suits them, then the volunteering sector will thrive moving forward.

Eloise Burge, Design Lead, Portable.

Technology is providing new ways to connect; whether it be connecting individuals with services or connecting services across different sectors. This means we can share information more easily and collaborate in new ways.

Our work in the justice space is about using technology to provide information and support to people navigating the court system. Technology – in the form of websites, apps and other online platforms – allows us to do this in user-centric, accessible ways.

For example, we recently designed and built a new website for the Office of Public Prosecutions to help victims and witnesses navigate the criminal justice system. We worked directly with court users throughout the development of the site to ensure that both the information it contains, and the way it is presented, meets their needs.

We also worked with the Neighbourhood Justice Centre to digitise family violence intervention orders. This makes it both easier and safer to apply for an order. This work informed a recommendation in the Royal Commission into Family Violence.

Nicholas Cole – Creative Technical Director and Founder, HITORI

There are many examples where technology has provided major benefits across the wider population and we believe tech solutions can deliver the outcomes required for a range of different organisations.

Based on our experience with health-related projects we have seen technology being used to remove geographical barriers, lower patient risk profiles, expedite doctor to patient communication and help overcome barriers to equitable access to healthcare.

The advent of cardiac rehabilitation (CR) telehealth alternatives such as the Cardiacmate app, developed in association with Austin Health.  It allows patients to measure and communicate their CVD risk profiles and receive invaluable lifestyle advice from their healthcare team within their own homes. A Smartphone application that uploads patient data to a Doctor’s Dashboard, Cardiacmate allows the treating Cardiologist immediate access to patient progress including medical appointments, test results, medications, diet and physical activity.

Another project we developed for Dementia Australia with funding from BUPA BrainyApp, to provide lifestyle strategies that help prevent the onset of dementia. Information collected from the use of Brainy App has been used by Australian Universities to assist with research programs into the management of dementia. Delaying or preventing the impact of dementia will alleviate health care expenditure including allied industries such as health insurance.

We expect greater adoption of tech to improve the delivery of healthcare as results from clinical studies continue to show improved patient outcomes when measured against traditional patient care programs.

In partnership with Pro Bono Australia, we are thrilled to host this discussion at General Assembly Melbourne on Tuesday 24 October, 6-8pm.  RSVP for your FREE ticket here to expand your understanding of today’s tech-based world, and fuel your own ideas for the future of tech and working for purpose.  



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