Digital Inspiration Projects I like Social Innovation Technology


What’s the longest you’ve had to wait for something? Was it even worth waiting for? This simple idea, rooted in human behaviour is so impactful because it makes you think about what really matters.

Since c. 2008, I’ve had an idea that you could use tech to facilitate organ donation. Not in a sinister black market kidney sale kind of way, but more a connected, open, live saving sort of vibe. Ask Anna Maybank, she’ll confirm how much I talk and have talked about this. She thinks it’s illegal (I think she’s right).

Projects I like Social Innovation Technology

What three words

How can you give an address to places that may not have a street name? Or a postcode? Insert what3words, an addressing system that assigns three random words to every 3×3 meter square of this world, giving every place a unique identifier.

Music Projects I like Social Innovation

Sounds of change

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This studio project from Hungry Boys is a lovely idea. Sounds of Change is an online music label that offers exposure and revenue a stream to street performers. For launch three buskers were chosen and given the opportunity to record in a studio. The tracks were then shared with music streaming services like Spotify and iTunes.

Brands Environment Social Innovation Technology

Fairphone 2

Fairphone are on a mission: disrupt the mobile phone sector. No big deal, right? Whilst this may seems like a massive feat,  competing with the Apples and Samsungs of the world,  they’re totally doing it. With 60,000 phones of their first model sold – many of which were pre-ordered with a long wait time – it’s obvious that there’s demand.

Charity London Social Innovation

Coffee with a conscience

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In recent years charities and other cause based organisations have used the act and cost of buying a cup of coffee as a metric for change. Donate your cup of coffee to <insert charity here>. For the amount you spend on a coffee each morning you could <insert outcome for person here>. It’s a nice hook, people can relate to it. It’s a moderately simple sacrifice for a better good. However it has also become so overused as a marketing hook that the effect can be lost.

community Hamilton Social Innovation

541 Exchange

Hamilton’s Barton Street area is often referred to as a “red zone” by city authorities, community groups and press because of the prevalence of homelessness, high number of residents living below the poverty line and reported crime rates surpassing those of any other neighbourhood in the city.

healthcare London Social Innovation Technology

Show Andiamo Some Love

Andiamo needs your help. The tiny London based social venture is running a campaign on Indiegogo to raise the money needed to prototype their idea.

Andiamo’s mission is to make 3D printed orthotics for children in a matter of days. In the current healthcare system it takes weeks, if not months for this. And during this time circumstances may change – diseases may have progressed, disabilities may have changed.

Art community Government Projects I like Social Innovation

Kite Flying for Good

What do you do when your government won’t address the pressing issue of urban air quality? You fly kites. Kites that are kitted out to measure air pollution. This is precisely what Float Beijing does.

Kite flying is a very traditional activity amongst the Chinese and serves as the perfect medium to get residents involved in something quite worthwhile. Float aims to empower residents and equip them with the knowledge and skills to fly kites and collect data on air quality levels.

Events Projects I like Social Innovation

The Big Pamper

This weekend Spots of Time are taking volunteers on a journey to some of East London’s care homes for a day of pampering – anything from playing cards, to having a cup to tea to painting nails.

It might just be the biggest mass volunteering event in the UK care homes .. ever! Exciting stuff.  If you’d like to get involved, sign up here.

See you there!

Environment Projects I like Social Innovation

Food Waste: It’s Kind of a Big Deal

Every year over 1.6 million tonnes of food goes to landfill in the UK. That’s huge. And the majority of the waste is completely unnecessary.

Where does all the leftover food go in supermarkets? Food that may be perfectly fit for consumption but has packaging that is slightly damaged. Or produce that’s about to go off but still good, like bananas that can be made into banana bread. Where do all the freshly made sandwiches go from cafes when they close?

Slowly public opinion and pressure is moving towards wasting less and better policies and practices are slowly tackling some of the issues. This much welcomed shift could be because the cost is immense and we’re in tough times economically. But also it’s because people are becoming more and more aware of global inequalities and how bad it is that us in developed countries to take what we have for granted.

Things like legislation being introduced that scraps sell-by dates on food, and retailers like Sainsbury’s getting rid ‘freeze on day of purchase’ labels are helping to pave the way to reduce food waste.

And There are some brilliant organisations out there now tackling food waste issues, like Fareshare and Foodcycle.

Fareshare redistributes product from the food and drink industry to organisations working with vulnerable people in the community.

Foodcycle collects excess food from local farmers markets, supermarkets and other retailers and turn this surplus into delicious meals that get served to people in the community in need. Kind of brilliant, right?

There’s also my new favourite thing at the moment: Zero Gachis. It’s an app for finding reduced food near you. It matches businesses to consumers by sharing the details of food that’s about to expire. Conceived at a Start-up weekend in Brittany (and they won first place!) the app is still in it’s early days.

I’d love to know that I can buy carrots for 0.20p a bag because they’re close to their best before date, rather than a buy a bag for £1 when I’d be eating them as soon as I’m home. It’s both saving money and alleviating the guilt of wasting food.

Of course like most rampant social problems, technology at this scale likely won’t solve world hunger but it will definitely help reduce the amount of food that goes to waste on a retail level and of course increase awareness and ultimately that’s what it’s all about. Make people aware of the issue and then provide the necessary tools, knowledge and organisations to manage – and reduce- food waste.