In 2015, Comic Relief launched a range of initiatives under the banner of Tech for Good. Below are some of the 2015-2016 funded projects:
Supporting the projects
To support the projects, we organised a 3 day workshop in Sheffield for the teams. We brought in experts from the areas of interaction design, service design, analysis and conversion as well as project management. The aim was to allow people delivering the projects to meet one another and experts, assess team capacity and help them to articulate their service design. From this we could develop a mentoring plan to support the projects through the next six months.
Key to the success of the ‘camp’ was creating a space where people felt supported rather then judged. This allowed the teams to feel they could speak openly about their ideas and concerns without fear of being criticised.
We also organised further workshops specifically designed to support teams with content design and discovery. Matt Locke from Storythings and Bea Karol Burks, Chief Digital Officer at Citizens Advice were two of the experts we had to help the teams:
Experts and Mentoring
Each project had a budget that was ring-fenced for mentoring and support (this money equated to around 10 days effort). We had a team of mentors and experts that each team could draw on, and this team could be supplemented by others as projects required. The mentoring was allocated through one person, James Boardwell, who helped define the support required and source the most relevant help.
Keeping it Lean: Team Updates
Anyone who’s worked in the third sector will know that evaluation and feedback tends to be quite formal and time consuming (and not always particularly effective). Whilst the formal paperwork had to be done to satisfy the UK Grant process, we encouraged teams to provide weekly, informal updates on their progress in the form of:
- what we did last week
- what we’re working on this week
- any blocks or issues affecting our progress.
The principal aim of this was to encourage a culture of iterative development and lean ways of working (where you validate assumptions by the most efficient means). Some projects found this process of weekly updates helpful, others didn’t. Finding a means to share progress and stories, to foster a sense of best practice, was something we never truly accomplished other than in the face to face meetings at workshops.