Highlights from Good Tech Fest

(Ben McNamee) #1

I had the pleasure of attending Good Tech Fest in Detroit the week of May 21st. Good Tech Fest is an annual conference bringing together technologists and data geeks from the public benefit sector for learning, networking, and celebrating.Sessions ranged from the technical - such as how to design better graphs, or the legalities of data trusts, to the systematic, such as how can we build better systems for this sector that reduces competition AND increase impact.

Here are 5 highlights from the conference:

  1. Communities are organizers, producers, and consumers of data.
    A great example of this is Caravan Studios, who worked with favela communities in Brazil to map local bus routes using community knowledge and open-source mapping tools.

  2. Graphs are storytelling tools.
    Choosing the right graph, and designing it in the right way, with the right detail, will convey a story rather than just a number

  3. Philanthropy University is a very promising Non-Profit
    Philanthropy U is a capacity building non-profit aimed at increasing the impact of non-profits in the global south through an online knowledge exchange and e-learning platform. Utilizing the power of online communities and free online, certified, courses, non-profits around the world can increase their skills in any number of areas. Such a huge opportunity here to not only build capacity in the NFP sector, but also to build connection and foster a culture of collaboration across organizations.

  4. Mapping is far more than just mapping
    The use of map-based analysis provides a level of insight that traditional analytics can’t provide. Using geography allows for the connection of distinct data-sets. Imagine the learnings we could unlock if we connect our outcome data with stats-can (or other sources) data on community need!

  5. Funder-Grantee Outcome Alignment is difficult!
    So much of the conversation across the three days centered on how to better align funder and grantee impact measurement. In session after session, the best practice that was highlighted was to centre community, and align outcomes between funder and grantee to the community needs. On top of this, providing resources and capacity to grantees to measure beyond the funder requirement is so helpful.

Ultimately, opportunities to fully realize the potential for future improvements in impact measurement will arise when outcome measurement aligns across funders as well, so grantees don’t need to report 20 different things to 20 different funders.

(Liz Forsberg) #2

Great synopsis Ben! It’s great to hear about the conversation around aligning funder and grantee impact measurement and I look forward to having those conversations here!