Techies in Residence Bootcamp

Techies in Residence Bootcamp

22 September 2015

Our exciting Techies in Residence (TiR) programme is up and running. A key milestone was passed on Wednesday with a boot camp for the groups involved. The Trust’s Paul Braithwaite went along to check it out...

Techies in Residence is a programme developed by the Trust to explore the innovation potential of bringing together the social challenge knowledge of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector with the digital expertise of Northern Ireland’s burgeoning tech scene.

It forms part of the Trust’s social innovation work within which Tech for Good (or digital social innovation) has emerged as one of the areas of the most exciting potential.

The programme works through a 10 week full time placement of a ‘techie’ within a VCSE organisation, paid for by the Trust, to work on developing a new digital product to address an area of social need.

CultureTECH are leading a consortium of organisations that are acting as Managing Agent for the programme.

Following the launch of TiR at the Belfast Technology conference back in April, CultureTECH launched the programme website ( and issued an open call to VCSE organisations for ideas – social challenges where tech might help boost their social impact.

7 organisations were shortlisted.

Since then CultureTECH has been working with a range of tech companies to identify a pool of individuals with the passion and skillset to work on the challenges set by the VCSE organisations.

The bootcamp on Wednesday 16th September 2015, taking place as part of the CultureTECH festival in Derry-Londonderry, was a key step in the process of ‘matching’ each VCSE organisation with a techie.

The participants spent most of the day in conversation with each other and were facilitated through a process of problem identification, ideation, prototyping and implementation planning.

There was a real energy in the room and there were some great ideas flying around like using ‘augmented reality’ technology to create a virtual fairy glen experience for kids in Colin Glen Forest Park or creating an asset map of underused public spaces in Northern Ireland using datasets from Land and Property Services.

Another idea was about digitising the NOW Project’s ‘Just A Minute’ (JAM) card which is used by people with learning difficulties to smooth their experience with service providers such as shops and public transport and developing a crowd-sourced, accurate and publicly available database of the VCSE sector and its activities.

In addition the participants benefited from a few expert inputs from organisations working in the Tech for Good field: New Philanthropy Capital’s David Bull spoke about their Digital Transformation research (which the Trust is part-funding), emphasising that tech for good is as much about adopting existing technologies as inventing new solutions.

NPC will be exploring what existing tech solutions might be available to the advice and health sectors in particular.

More information is available David’s Twitter feed - @DavidBull88.

Groups also heard from Apps for Good’s Freddie Norton who is running a programme in schools across the UK helping kids to learn how to write apps and Cat Cochrane from Tech for Good TV who roams the UK looking for the best tech for good initiatives and shares them with the world through blogs, film and podcasts.

Over the next few weeks the Trust and CultureTECH will be working with the techies and challenge owners to firm up the projects with a view to placements starting in November – keep an eye on and Trust website for updates.

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