On 5 May 2022, the Invest in Open Infrastructure (IOI) Community Oversight Council hosted its first public discussion with Afua Bruce and Amy Sample Ward, the authors of The Tech That Comes Next: How Changemakers, Philanthropists, and Technologists Can Build an Equitable World.

We share the recording and a brief summary of this session.

In this rich discussion, Amy and Afua drew from their extensive experience working with social impact organizations, technologists, funders, policymakers, and communities and shared their thoughts on some of the issues with how technology is currently designed, built, and adopted. They stated that while everything around us is built on values, there are few explicit conversations about them. To build towards a future of systemic inclusion – where people have access to the resources they need and different kinds of people are functioning in the community– we need to be explicit and clear about what we value and centre these values.

Amy and Afua outlined six values that need to be applied to all our work and the ways we’re working together, to create an equitable world:

  1. Valuing the knowledge and wisdom of lived experience
  2. Valuing the participation of all kinds of people with different experiences in all parts of this process
  3. Valuing accessibility from the start
  4. Valuing multiple ways that change is made, including those to meet immediate challenges and those with a longer view
  5. Valuing the strength of collectively creating a vision
  6. Valuing the dedication of individuals and communities pursuing knowledge, experience, and skills.

The book includes critical questions for social impact organizations, technologists, funders and investors, policymakers, and communities to reflect on and discuss when thinking about changing the technology culture and investments. It also highlights several case studies where organizations and communities have built technology and projects that centre communities and values and broken down silos.

During the discussion, participants asked and discussed questions about bridging the disconnect between technology and mission in social impact organizations, incentives for organizations and people to develop value-driven technology, and realigning metrics to the organization’s value.

As technology plays an increasingly crucial role in research, scholarship, and education, we hope that funders, decision makers, technologists, and communities in this field will find the perspectives and knowledge shared in this discussion will helpful and inspiring.

The IOI Community Oversight Council will host community discussions every quarter – you can find out the date and topic for the next discussions by subscribing to our mailing list.

Useful links from the discussion

Posted by Emmy Tsang