The Practical Democracy Podcast. A podcast about practical change, with guests from public bodies and civil society.

Episode 6: What is Tech for Good?

Featuring: Bex Rae-Evans from Tech For Good Live

Bex (or Rebecca, she doesn't mind) is a service designer, serial podcaster and kitten fosterer who has dedicated her career to making tech for good. In practice, that means making things like apps and websites for charities, as well as organising events that connect third sector and tech people.

In this episode of the Practical Democracy Podcast, Bex and host Ben Fowkes talk about what tech for good means and its context in the world today.

Episode 6 transcript

Here’s a rough breakdown of timings:

00:00 Introduction: foster kittens and 'sadvertising'

Bex talks about how she came to do design work for the third sector after realising that the world of service design often isn’t as cool as people make it out to be - her work designing websites that sell soap just wasn’t reflective of her personal values.

6:04 Tech for good or tech for bad?

Is all tech that isn’t made for good automatically tech for bad? Is it binary, or is it a bit more ambiguous than that? Bex and Ben get into the semantics of what it means to do good.

9:58 Tech For Good Live

What TFGL is all about - namely, free events in Manchester as well as a weekly podcast featuring different guests, with the aim of getting tech companies and the charitable sector in one room or having a conversation. 

19:49 On Reply, her consultancy

Bex talks about her company - a current project is working with a charity that supports rape survivors - and the difficult conversations that can arise with clients who aren’t tech-savvy or are set on an idea that isn’t right for their needs.

32:36 Online vs. offline

How has Bex’s work changed as a result of COVID? In this section she discusses the benefits of online vs. face to face working and tips for being really good at remote workshops.

38:14 On ambulance chasing

This section wanders into the philosophical. Some have been shamelessly capitalising on the pandemic - companies, yes, but also ‘plastic thought leaders’ who you may have seen clogging up your Twitter feed. Is it our responsibility to call people out if we think they’re having a negative impact, even if they think they’re doing things for the right reasons? Bex remembers calling out an organisation & getting some signatures on a letter - following which the organisation threatened each individual who signed it.

Check out Bex's consultancy or follow her on Twitter.

Check out Tech For Good Live for their podcast and event listings.