DigitalAgenda’s Impact Awards celebrate tech innovations that improve lives and the world around us. Three broad themes – people, places and business – frame the awards. In our final preview of shortlisted entries we look at work being done in the four categories under ‘business’ – business transformation, investment, sharing & partnership and investment.
Following our open call for awards entries in December, DigitalAgenda received more than 200 entries across the 12 award categories. We were delighted by the quality as well as the quantity.
Our panel of expert judges met in January and assessed award entries using five criteria – idea, product, team, scalability and impact. The shortlist – and the final winners – are the result of the jury’s deliberations.
Digital helps business change for the better, improving the way they trade, operate and meet their customers’ needs. This award saw entries from businesses, government agencies and non-profits, working on transformation projects to bring innovation thinking to new products and services, to re-align business processes and build a culture of disruption rather than business-as-usual to their operations.
Citizen’s Advice, founded in 1939, provides free, confidential and independent advice, information and support to anyone who needs it. Every year it helps millions online, over the phone and face-to-face. It is working to transform access to consumer rights by creating user-led digital products for its clients and advisors, moving away from text-heavy information towards practical and tactical digital advice – including on energy and money management. Its products and content are designed with and not for its users.
Health Foundry is a collaborative workspace for people using digital technologies to improve health and wellbeing. Located opposite London’s St Thomas’ Hospital, it is powered by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity as part of its work to transform the way healthcare is delivered in the trust and in the local community. In under six months, it has become an established health tech hub, with 70+ members working in digital health, with access to expert advice and NHS connections.
Saberr creates happy, high performing teams through software that helps people work well together, using data collection and algorithms to predict and improve performance. Its Base online profiling tool helps explain cultural and relationship dynamics between people, while Coach helps teams find sticking points and provides toolkits and exercises. Sales teams with high Saberr scores generate more revenue, have lower attrition rates and report greater satisfaction. Clients include Deloitte, Virgin, Unilever, Bank of Ireland and Georgetown University.
Investment is the lifeblood of new business, and impact investment grows business on a mission. The investment award recognises the best in impact funding from both public and private sources, and across traditional venture and alternative investment routes like crowdfunding. Entries reflected the diversity of approaches to investing in technology for good, as well as work to measure impact.
360Giving exists to make UK grant making more effective. It helps organisations publish their grants data in an open, standardised way and helps people understand and use data to support decision-making and learning across the charity sector. The 360Giving Open Data Standard allows some of the largest UK grant makers to share billions of pounds worth of grants information. Its free GrantNav search tool brings this data together, letting anyone view, explore and download information about thousands of grants.
ClearlySo ATLAS is a digital platform created to assess the social and environmental impact of businesses and investment portfolios. It was developed jointly by ClearlySo and Reason Digital. Social venture company ClearlySo believes investing in businesses with a positive impact leads to good returns on investments, and gives something back to society. ATLAS encourages more ethical and sustainable investment by making it easy to analyse and change investment strategies – not just for financial gain but also for the greater good.
SyndicateRoom is the UK’s first investor-led investment platform. It exists to give everyone equal access to investment opportunities, allowing big and small to share risk and reward fairly. It’s a good source of alternative investment for tech ventures on a mission, with nearly half of SR investments in life sciences and environment. In 2016 it became the first equity crowdfunding platform to join the London Stock Exchange. 80% of companies listing on SyndicateRoom meet their investment targets, double that of competitors.
Sharing & partnership
This impact category recognises digital initiatives that help people and communities to share their resources better – whether that be time, labour, property or money. It celebrates the collaborations that improve people’s lives. All of the sharing economy projects shortlisted for this award have a strong social mission.
Neighbourly is an internet platform for social good. It connects local community and charity projects with companies and people that can help by giving donations of time, money or surplus food. Its vision is to bring communities together to solve social issues and help business become the world’s greatest force for good. Businesses use the platform and give time, pledge money, or provide surplus food to local charities they wish to support – collaborating in a more effective way than through stand-alone micro-sites.
Playmob brings gaming communities together with brands and causes and empowers each to deliver business goals and drive social impact for good. Its light-touch and high-impact technology platform matchmakes charities and causes with appropriate brands looking to engage with relevant gaming audiences. Linking user actions within digital games to social causes benefits all parties, giving everyone the chance to make a meaningful difference to the world. Brands can create campaigns quickly and quantify impact.
Spacehive empowers people to create and fund projects that make local places better. Its platform allows anyone to share an idea, and work with institutional funders who want to fund projects as part of the crowd. Its dedicated tools allow anyone to post an idea, get it into fundraising, and receive pledges. A grant-maker app allows funders from local authorities, corporates and foundations to accept pitches to their funds from projects, and manage them online.
Social & economic transformation
This impact category recognises initiatives from business, government and non-profits to try to change the world for the better. Award entries include technology that helps to share and allocate resources, as well as projects focused on helping specific groups like homeless people or prisoners.
Corruption, fraud and pure inefficiency means that $1 in every $3 in humanitarian aid fails to reach its desired destination. Aid:Tech harnesses blockchain technology to ensure that every donated resource – financial, medical supplies, food or blankets – is traceable at the point of use, ensuring that the right people receive the right help at the right time. It does this by giving all users a digital identity – and distributes financial and other resources in a fully transparent way.
Prison Voicemail is a social venture using scaleable technology to make it easier for families to stay in touch with loved ones in prison. Active in 92 prisons, the service enables families to exchange voice messages with prisoners through the existing prison phone system. The service enables asynchronous two-way communication, giving families the ability to send messages, and makes communication possible even with differing schedules. Stronger family ties can reduce reoffending rates by up to six times.
Techfugees mobilises technology and the tech community, to create solutions to the needs of refugees and the NGOs working for and with them. Its hackathons address real challenges faced by refugees and create prototypes that could help them. Hackathon winners are incubated by local partners and Techfugees supports them with media coverage, mentors and introductions to NGO partners and investors. All innovators get registered on basefugees – an online community of refugee tech projects to share solutions and aid collaboration.