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Nominet Trust Tech for Good list – why awareness of good causes is important

Nominations for the Nominet Trust Tech for Good closes at the end of September 2015 – and here's how highlighting good technology deeds helps the industry

Social technology funding organisation Nominet Trust has opened nominations for its third annual NT100 list of 100 companies using technology for good causes. 

The NT100 Tech for Good list is designed to showcase entrepreneurs who have developed technology to improve people’s lives and highlight personal and corporate social responsibility.

A number of companies will comprise a judging panel, including Facebook, Salesforce, Telefonica (O2), Oxfam, Comic Relief, the Big Lottery Fund and Creative England to choose who will appear in the final 100.

“There’s certainly space for commercial ventures who have at their heart, and their reason for being, a desire to make things better,” Vicki Hearn, director at the Nominet Trust, said.

“It doesn’t mean they can’t be sustainable as well but, at their core, they’re doing things for the right reasons.”

These partners will promote the final list to spread awareness about how technology can improve lives.

Criteria such as level of inspiration, use of technology and social impact will be used to measure each nominated project.

Nominations will be collected through open applications and by Nominet Trust researchers around the world who are aware of projects in different regions.

This year the Nominet Trust will focus on global technology to show how individuals worldwide are using technology to solve humanitarian problems.

“We really want to make sure it has an international flavour this year, we’re hoping to achieve that even more fully than we have done in the past, by using these local hubs who know the territory and the people who are active,” said Hearn.

“Inspiration is a key criterion.”

Generational technology angle

Hearn said that often the younger generation come at things from a different perspective and develop ideas that focus more on helping people than making profit.

Melissa Di Donato, vice-president of Emea from partner firm Salesforce, confirmed that one of the reasons she wanted to be involved with the project was to promote a selfless mindset try to inspire others to innovate in the same way.

Di Donato explained that, in her previous work with organisations such as Apps for Good and Stemettes, she had noticed that younger people – and especially young women – were more inclined to use technology to help people.

“Their default is not always to create a business for profit – for young girls getting into Stem and for young girls looking for inspiration around what they can do, their default tends to be doing something for good,” Di Donato said.

“It’s really time that we as a tech industry begin to put more focus on the people and the entrepreneurs who are making positive social impact utilising technology and using their stories and their efforts and success to hopefully inspire others through technology success.”

Charity Oxfam will take part in the judging process. Oxfam’s ICT in programme lead, Amy O’Donnell, highlighted the importance of acknowledging technology-driven good causes.

“There are some really key areas where we can really see the benefits of introducing technology,” said O’Donnell.

“Nothing gets done without dialogue and without conversation – these sorts of opportunities let us think about not just the technology contribution, but also the influence we can have by coming together.”

As well as promoting good causes, O’Donnell said the mixture of firms on the judging panel highlighted the importance of private sector organisations working with charities to expand their reach and engage more people.

“It’s really critical that we look to the private sector for inspiration around how we can be harnessing technology – and also thinking about what the sustainable solutions look like,” O’Donnell said.

Nominations for the NT100 Tech for Good list are open until 30 September 2015, and the final 100 will be revealed in December 2015.

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