5 digital tools helping transform the world for the better

1st August 2016

Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, looks at 5 digital tools which are helping address social problems. 

 

A lot of our work involves designing, testing and spreading new technological tools. Here are five which I’m particularly excited about which are spreading in 2016. Staff at Nesta played an important role in conceiving each of them and bringing them to life, and all are now proving their potential to transform the world for the better.

GoodSAM

The GoodSAM app is designed to alert anyone with medical training (e.g off duty doctors, nurses etc.) to nearby emergencies to carry out life saving interventions in what can often be a critical time before emergency services arrive. All responders are highly trained. It shows the responder where the emergency is and where the nearest defibrillator. Organisations such as hospitals, fire services and the Red Cross able to register to approve their staff as responders. GoodSAM currently has over 8,000 responders in the UK and is live around the world in many countries including Australia, India and the US. This is an app that is literally saving lives.

D-CENT

D-CENT developed a suite of tools to help revolutionise democracy in Europe. The tools enable people to be informed and get real-time notifications about issues that matter to them; propose and draft solutions and policy collaboratively; decide and vote on solutions and collective municipal budgeting; and finally implement and reward people with blockchain reward schemes. The tools have been piloted in Finland, Iceland and Spain and are now part of the everyday governance of cities including Barcelona and Madrid. Our hope is that countries like the UK and US can catch up before long.

Challenges.org

Challenges.org came out of the work of our prizes team and offers a comprehensive platform providing an online home for prizes - communicating the prize, organising innovators’ ideas, scoring them and then committing the prize money. The idea is that any organisation can use the platform with their own branding, part of our broader goal of encouraging more use of inducement and challenge prizes to solve problems.  All prizes hosted on challenges.org can have a URL of prizename.challenges.org.

Superbugs

Superbugs is a game designed to promote awareness of anti-microbial resistance. It challenges the player to destroy deadly bacteria and keep humanity's precious antibiotics working for as long as they can. The game, which has been launched as part of the Longitude Prize, is aimed at 11 to 16 year olds though adults seem to enjoy it just as much.  

Applied

Applied was jointly developed with the Behavioural Insights Team to screen out discrimination from recruitment processes by identifying and removing unconscious bias from hiring practices. It works by structuring and blinding an organisation’s application process, using teams to analyse applications to take the burden off a single manager, and automating the system to ensure that everyone gets prompt replies and feedback.  It draws on - and addresses - knowledge about how biases can easily creep into recruitment.

Please have a look at each of these – and hopefully at least one can be useful to you.

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