Techies in Residence brings together social challenges from charities and social enterprises with digital technology professionals to produce innovative digital products and services that have potential for deep social impact.
Designed and commissioned in 2015 by Building Change Trust, Techies in Residence has supported 12 projects already. Social Innovation NI is delighted to be able to bring Techies in Residence back for a third cycle with applications opening on 12th September 2017 and a further 9 places up for grabs. The programme will be delivered by Innovate NI.
Digital innovation has enormous potential for the VCSE sector and Innovate NI are excited about building upon the success of the previous two cycles to support a third cohort of ‘Tech for Good’ projects in 2018. See here for a video of the projects we supported last year.
By matching relevant VCSE organisations with tech talent, TiR is about using cross-sectoral collaboration and the latest technology to introduce and embed new ways of thinking and working to solve problems. The combined social know-how of the VCSE sector and the digital acumen of the tech sector hold huge potential to develop impactful and scalable digital responses to a variety of social problems in Northern Ireland and further afield. Check out the case studies section for examples of previous projects supported.
Any VCSE organisation can apply through simply submitting a challenge they want to work on where they feel digital technology and innovation support could help enhance their social impact. Those thinking of applying should first come along to one of Social Innovation NI’s introductory workshops, being delivered throughout Northern Ireland by NICVA during autumn 2017 (see here for more info). The application deadline is Friday 1st December 2017.
Shortlisted groups will be notified before Christmas and invited to attend a workshop in early January 2018 where they will receive mentoring and support to further refine their proposal. The final stage of selection will be a pitch day which will see up to 9 groups awarded with a ‘Techie in Residence’ who will be embedded with them for a 10-12 week period, starting February 2018, to help them bring their ideas to life.
As well as this, a dedicated Innovation Agent works with the participant organisation to consider the wider opportunities and support available to the participant outside of the programme and to strategically develop and plan further development of their new digital solution post-Techies intervention.
This can prove invaluable in securing additional funding or helping to sustain and scale the innovation being worked on.
Mentoring Support will provide highly targeted support for the participant from a wide range of specialist mentors to support the potential for commercialisation, sustainability and additional sources of finance for development.
Additionally, bespoke support will be provided to help with business strategy, market growth, technical development and other areas as required by the participant VCSE organisation to help embed the project and ensure its sustainability.
Following on from this, Techies in Residence projects may be able to avail of the Social Innovation NI Seed Fund which is for the further prototyping and testing of products developed during the programme.
Please note the Techies in Residence programme adopts an ‘open innovation’ approach, which centres on the belief that any new solution could have multiple applications beyond the immediate problem for which it was developed.
This is particularly important in the resource constrained environment of the VCSE sector. There is little sense in investing multiple times in the development of broadly similar solutions. Consequently Social Innovation NI asks that all Techies in Residence participants adopt an open approach to Intellectual Property and are prepared to make their solution freely available to others working on social challenges where it could be useful.