Putting technology at the service of the common good? Yes, it is possible and it is the aim of this young sector of Tech & Science for Good. As France is one of the most prolific countries in Europe in terms of digital startup creation, it seems natural that Tech for Good sector has been on an upward trend in recent years. Its rapid development can also be explained by its very wide coverage of fields of activity, offering many entrepreneurial opportunities such as professional integration, education, health and many others.

It should be noted that the Tech for Good sector is not for the private preserve of the Social and Solidarity Economy stakeholders and aims to expand its ecosystem towards large Tech companies. Indeed, the objective is to impact practices, as highlighted by the Tech for Good summit organized by the French president last May, which brought together all Tech’s global leaders. It is under these conditions that the 11th edition of Forum Convergences proposed to some of these actors to express themselves on their solutions and their future perspectives for Tech for Good in France and abroad.

An ecosystem in transition for Science & Tech for Good in France

Tech for Good was until recently a very fragmented sector with many players. This observation led to the creation of the France Eco-Social Tech movement (FEST), which today aims to unite all actors in scientific and technological innovation around the Sustainable Development Goals. From now on, FEST proposes a new approach by bringing together all the fields of activity belonging to the Tech & Science for Good, in order to make the sector a single and unique community inclined to develop synergies and encourage the sharing of experiences. It is an opportunity for all ecosystem stakeholders (entrepreneurs, incubators, investment funds, etc.) to be represented and to have the opportunity to make concrete proposals to public and private institutions. Such an initiative is likely to enable the construction of a solid ecosystem for the years to come and thus make Tech for Good a major economic player in France.

It is now necessary to favour an approach based on collective and capability, and to reflect on how to develop the possibility of doing individually and collectively but also towards individuals

Genneviève Fontaine

Research center - TETRIS

Discover the mapping of Tech & Science For Good actors carried out by FEST (In French) : http://festech.org/cartographie/

Digital technology is both an opportunity and a hindrance because it is unequally distributed. It must be “adoptable”. It is a tool to link individual initiatives and give them a much larger scope. Digital technology makes it possible, for example, to develop multiactivity for people who do not want to give up skills in the salary work. We must bring out an inclusive digital that protects all.

A sector that tends to develop towards multi-stakeholder initiatives

This transversal working methodology gives rise to many initiatives in the direction of sectoral cooperation. MakeSense, through its “Future of Waste energy for climate” programme, aims to build an online community to identify innovations or good practices around the world and argues that “No one has the solution alone”. In the field of science, Soscience offers meetings entitled “The Future of [theme]”, events bringing together NGOs, companies and researchers with the aim of creating transversal collaborations monitored over time by Soscience.

Finally, Entourage association, represented by Jean-Marc Potdevin, reminds us that it is essential to operate in an ecosystem. According to him, if one thing is certain, it is that it is the citizen who will reinvent commitment, whether through volunteer work or associations, the only questions are where, when and how. By launching a mobile application with more than 4,300 outreach actions with street people Entourage considers it necessary to have a platform to centralize NGO actions and volunteer availability. This first action by Entourage made it possible to observe an important innovation in terms of mobilizing the actors.

To succeed you must create an ecosystem

Jean Marc Potdevin

Entourage

As Jean-Marc Potdevin rightly points out: “We don’t operate on an economic model like Wikipedia”. In other words, most Tech for Good organizations do not rely on private donations. The question of financing this ecosystem arises and it now seems essential to have a multi-stakeholder approach in a consortium. Indeed, it is the diversity of funding that will make the strength of both funders and beneficiaries. Following the example of the Fondation de France, which supports social innovation in all fields and supports initiatives and risk-taking in this field (50 initiatives supported so far). It aims to support projects that apply new inclusive, “empowering” economic models rooted in their territory.

Digital technology, a tool for the convergence of actors in developing countries.

The challenges of Tech for Good are multiple and take very different forms depending on the socio-economic contexts of the regions where we want to develop innovative technological services. As actors are located in developing countries, they regularly face operational problems. The most recurrent issue concerns data and the principle of respect for the rights of the individual. The data covers key strategic issues in the sense that it is now considered as “the black gold of the 21st century”. This is especially true in developing countries if we consider that the implementation of public policies is still complex. There are even some countries where public statistics are almost non-existent. In order to overcome this lack of public policy and to initiate new ones, Tech for Good proposes innovative projects around data collection and management. For example, very often in African countries where less than 15% of GDP comes from mining, the first item is telecoms. Where a private company is struggling to find profitability in the energy sector in rural Africa, Sunna Design is launching Moon an innovative project to sell energy access kits and semi-closed smartphones with content on education, health etc.

In another area, Isahit, a socially responsible internet platform for outsourcing digital projects, is opening up digital jobs to women, with 500 new jobs created in 11 countries on the whole. An initiative that responds to cross-cutting issues such as the integration of women into the workforce and the provision of banking services through the acquisition of smartphones. Indeed, this allows a significant step forward in terms of inclusion through the empowerment of their income management.

The main challenge for all these structures is now the change of scale and digital technology offers tools to meet this challenge. Always with the aim of creating multi-stakeholder partnerships, Afrobytes has developed a BtoB Marketplace, thus creating bridges between the ecosystem of African Tech companies and the rest of the world. These exchanges regularly give rise to meetings in Paris, always with the objective of creating collaborations with the French and international Tech for Good sector.

The Micro-Projects Agency, for its part, is working on the restructuring of digital ecosystems in developing countries through its platform for submitting applications and providing online support for local projects. This initiative promotes co-financing between donors as well as meetings with donors and project leaders.

The implementation of these measures regularly encounters obstacles preventing the development of digital technology in some regions. First, competition between different actors such as donors and NGOs makes data sharing very complex. In addition, the lack of understanding of policies on the potential of technologies and the mistrust of users towards the public sector pushes companies to turn to the private sector and thus neglects the creation of public policies.

It is also necessary to compensate for the lack of training in tools: Sunna Design must, for example, provide training in their shops in the field, education is now an integral part of their services. Isahit has set up a partnership with Open Classroom to help young women who are not “digital natives” to move from digital as a communication tool to a work tool. Great progress has been made thanks to digitization, but there is still a strong urban-rural divide in many countries today, making it difficult to deploy technologies.

Tech & Science4Good solutions for a 3Zero world
Digital and employment

By providing a quality digital service, Access Inclusive Tech has been able to set up a unique lever for professional integration and return to work in stressful professions. This initiative is based on the observation that digital technology can be excluding if it is not controlled. Their challenge is to make technologies a springboard to employment. It is under these conditions that they based their digital platform on a recruitment process based on potential. This tool for integrating people into employment in jobs of the future is a real factor for inclusion into the world of work.

With the objective of favouring a local approach and getting out of a digital perspective for everything. Lulu dans ma rue is a very hybrid structure with a physical and local anchoring considered as fundamental. Lulu dans ma rue has made it possible to go further by reinventing the small jobs that have been partially destroyed by digital technology.

Today there are 500 lulus and 80 employees. The average salary is 800 euros per month for 15 to 20 hours per month. 40% of the lulus had not worked for more than 2 years. The others are students, pensioners or people wishing to supplement their income. This diversity of profiles is important. The Lulus are not only looking for a job but also for a community, far from an uberization dynamic.

 

The dangers of job automation, by Bernard Stiegler 

A study by Roland Berger suggests that 3 million jobs will be destroyed in France within ten years. But other research indicates a horizon in which 47% of jobs will be automatable in the United States, 50% in Belgium and France over the next twenty years. We have entered the third wave of automation in history. This leads to a “proletarianization” of employment. While developments, particularly towards automation, are inevitable, “we must not protect jobs but work”. Work is knowledge, production but not an alienating task. Technology as such is both a good and a bad thing. It is necessary to fight against entropy[1] by developing the knowledge on which the commons are based. This requires a large investment and therefore a conditional income. In today’s employment, the worker is deprived of his or her know-how. He must follow a method and rely on software – until the day when, having become automatable, the worker is dismissed. On the contrary, work is an activity in which the worker enriches the task, exercises his knowledge by differentiating it, and constantly brings something new to society. This work produces negentropy[2], that is, also value, and it cannot be automated because it consists on the contrary in de-automatizing routines. The ongoing automation must redistribute part of the productivity gains in order to finance a time of empowerment of everyone within a contributory economy that makes it possible to value everyone’s knowledge. That is why we advocate the adoption of a contributory income, which is not the same as universal income. It is a question of creating a laboratory on a given territory and thus seeing the “locality as a whole”. Tomorrow’s economy will be a fight against anthropology. The future lies in the development of knowledge and support for the fight against anthropology. If we do not get out of the entropocene[3] in 20 years, the situation may be irreversible. We cannot remain in the entropocene, this era dominated by man for 250 years, and digital technology makes this possible.

 

Digital and health

The main issue for the Tech for Good sector from a medical point of view is access to medical expertise in case of a serious illness requiring a very high level of expertise. Deuxième Avis aims to reduce the inequality of access to this expertise, to do so they have set up digital medical surveys where patient information is downloaded and to which a specialized doctor answers remotely in 7 days. This allows the doctor to open a complete and structured file, to respond more quickly to more patients and to not charge any fees to the patient.

access to health in remote areas, EchOpen works daily on the production of medical imaging equipment, inexpensive and open source connected to a smartphone. An initiative aimed at making this service accessible to all pregnant women, even in medically disadvantaged areas. Digital technology makes this project possible by including artificial intelligence and diagnostic empowerment.

 

Digital and sustainable cities

For I wheel Share “The sustainable city would be a city that would not be exclusive”. The development of their Chatbot – Wilson – polyglot for disabled people makes it possible to map places and experiences adapted or not to people with disabilities. It is a work on the last task which is to inform the end user. This mobile application has become a real data hunter where everyone can express themselves and collect data in order to improve the daily lives of people with urban disabilities.

 

Digital and Education

LearnEnjoy’s ambition with its application is to personalize education, an issue that they realistically present to teachers through digital technology. This platform offers exercises and personalized follow-up for each of its users. To increase efficiency, a partnership agreement with the French Ministry of Education has been signed as well as a co-production of textbooks. With more than 10,000 users and the creation of a secure database of individual educational data, teachers can now adapt their teaching methods. In order to go beyond the framework of education, LearnEnjoy works closely with the health and medico-social sectors, with whom it shares the collected data necessary for certain medical records.

[2] A term borrowed from physical science. Refers to diversification, innovation, production of sustainable value.

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