Showing posts from August, 2014

Exploring Data for Impact

The world is undergoing a data revolution, and the social sector is no exception. Mobile devices are breaking down the barriers to direct connections to staff, volunteers, clients, partners, communities, and the general public. Social enterprises are collecting more and more data: data about social problems; data about intervention outcomes; data for collective impact; data for learning; data for dashboards to better operate their enterprises; data for funders; and the list goes on. Yet, social enterprises aren’t typically made up of data geeks. They desperately need to use data better and multiply its impact, but they rarely have the skills or infrastructure to do so effectively. A significant, but neglected, issue is the ethics of data collection and storage. As data collection becomes easier and more widespread, we must remember that so much of the important humanitarian information collected by social enterprises is sensitive. Information about corruption, human rights violation

How Open Source Sparks Innovation and Advances Social Good

Adopting an open source philosophy has proven to be quite effective for us at Benetech in our work furthering technology-for-good. I recently had the opportunity to give an interview for Red Hat’s online magazine, , and discuss Benetech’s culture of “open.” I describe the open source tools Benetech builds; clarify why it is important that cybersecurity tools in particular are open; explain how Benetech’s culture of “open” shapes its product development as well as broadly serves its social mission; and reflect on the reasons why the open source ethos is well suited for creating social impact. Ultimately, we believe that open source is more about transparency and innovation than about releasing software. Being transparent leads to the best possible outcomes from our work and helps us further our mission goals. The open source methodology also helps stimulate innovation. It allows us to build and improve upon the knowledge of predecessors, as well as to make knowledg