Powerful Minds Podcast Series – 01 Technology and its power for good

Powerful Minds Podcast Series – 01 Technology and its power for good


Welcome to the Accenture Powerful minds podcast this is a new podcast series where we will be talking about every day things, social media, work, money and the not so every day power of technology to change it. I am Ankur, a solution architect here at Accenture and today I’ll be chatting with Lauren and Moyin, both are analyst who recently joined us from university. We will be kicking off this first episode of the podcast series by talking about how we can use some of the worlds most innovative technology to help solve business problems, improve the way the world works and just chat for a few minutes about what gets us excited about technology. That’s where a lot of the movement within the tech industry to use something called design thinking which is a more humanistic approach to approaching things, like if you had to explain some fairly complex technology to grandma you don’t go in how the technology works you explain it to them: “Ok you click here and you do this and then some magic happens” that’s precisely the way we need to approach technology. It needs to make an impact for good. Lauren what is the most surprising area that you think technology has helped revolutionise in the past decade? That’s a great question I think really it’s a paradigm shift in terms of how we think about developing programs or solutions especially when it comes to international development bringing together users at the very start just to understand their pain points, the challenges they face, really starting with the idea of empathy is changing the landscape of how we are creating solutions from the grassroots level, from the bottom up. I think that’s one great thing about technology always engaging your uses. Make sure we are creating something is actually going to be serving the community is that we are hoping to serve. You mention it’s about connecting communities. I found that there is crowdfunding for the homeless, this is called Beam.org. I think Laura knows about them, this is people who have a pool of money or resource and they are putting into a fund that supports someone else. I just thought that it was an interesting thing to see in terms of Tech for good and connected communities. You have these people with the resources and these people for some reason have come through this negative part of their life or unfortunate period and you’re connecting both of them through this tech platform that allows people to share resources I think you’ve touched in a really good point there that technology being used for good it isn’t just about very fancy terms or very fancy technology sometimes it’s as simple as you are able to fund together with other people online which reminds me, there is a non-profit organisation in the US called Crisis Textline and what they do is a bit like the Samaritans. The Samaritans are an organisation where you can call-in if you need support for mental health, but some people find it hard to make phone calls so Crisis Textline set up one of the worlds first charity mental health support lines that work over text message. It’s just as simple as that, ideas like Crisis Textline and Beam show it doesn’t have to be complex technology. This is what I love about tech for good. I have a question for you, Accenture is worked on an application for the National Theatre are you able to tell us more about that. Yes that’s a really exciting project if you think about going to cinema you are able to see subtitles if you are audio impaired and therefore you can know what’s going on on the screen. But imagine going to a play and you don’t have the option to do that. We worked on a collaboration with the National Theatre where you get glasses much like normal prescription glasses but these have a bit of smart technology in them that can make letters appear in real life like floating in midair and it’s called augmented reality. We essentially created subtitles for a play which could be used by audio impaired users and that’s to me is a game changer giving people the ability to enjoy something. Which actually brings me to something interesting that i worked on that I wanted to share as well one of my colleagues on the team figured out that he is that his grandma found it really hard to use smart phones. He created an app using Amazon Alexa devices where are you could you speak to a virtual robot and describe what text message you want to send out to your grandson. And it seems like such a cool idea that we then turned into an entire project to help elderly people and we tried this out in the real world as well and it ultimately turned into an app that allows you to discover events close to you because loneliness among the elderly is a big big problem. It would give them pill reminders, it would give them the ability again to send text messages or phone calls easily. I was out there in the fields talking to a lot of the elderly and I love the fact that “so I can just speak and it and it will play music for me but also send text messages to my family this is great” I love that you did a lot user interviews used for testing I think that’s so important for this to be useful and usable. Can you explain what user research is because you do a lot of work in that space as well don’t you Lauren. Yes so I’m a UX designer at Accenture and a big part of my role is about researching and speaking with people to see how technology works can work for them but really trying to empathise empathise and put our cells in the uses shoes to have the features that is going to work best for them. Or if you were talking about your field research to the nursing homes and such, being able to see how they live their lives on an every day basis; when they take medicine what do they do when I first wake up, who they I need to call. Seeing how their every day flow goes. That’s a little bit of what I know Moyin I also know that you do some cool stuff as well it’s so I’d love to hear about that. I’ve been Accenture for two years. I mostly work around data but something that I do closer to take the good kind of standpoint I sometimes volunteer I wanted once to a woman in tech session and we know nowadays this is a great time for women empowering them to come out to learn technology it’s beautiful. I love this because I think I’ve also been working on a lot of intercessions where we do coding camps for people from sixth form who don’t have access to them or even kids who are as young as 8 to 12 years old it’s so amazing. What we did was we had this coding session and myself and another colleague took them through the whole process of creating their own programs for beginners. I love that you mention my and upscaling and digital skills that is so powerful especially when you’re thinking about how do you empower young people, it’s by giving them the tools and skills to succeed. That’s one thing Accenture does really really well I have the whole corporate citizenship arm where their mission is how do we give our young people and the workforce the technology skills so they can participate in the digital to market In fact I’ve also participated in something called a map a thorn in Accenture where what you do is you volunteer tiny portions of your time to look at satellite images of flood or quake affected areas and on your browser you go on and mark the houses that are damaged so in the aftermath of a lot of these incidents you can help get aid faster to a lot of these places that are not actually mapped out on Google Maps I find theThe ability that we can connect people and communities together so powerful in scenarios like that. Technology so powerful guys. It seems as a theme here with tech for good in the sense of connecting people and communities I think the globalisation you have more people knowing about each other in the world I’m quite proud as a company how often we get involved in projects like this and just the fact that an idea that came out from my grandma finding it too hard to text and being able to take that into an app that actually helps only people I think that’s an amazing story that we did in less than a year I do I did have something I want us to try that would be a little bit of fun. I’m going to count to 3 and then as soon as I hit 3 we are all going to say one word that we think represents tech forget it just one word just take a moment to think of this word 1, 2, 3… She said inclusive I said collaboration I said compassion. I noticed that they are all human related we didn’t say anything technology app, blockchain, no AI. I feel like tech for good has this ability to bring people together, which is something we touched on and people can get involved from any background. Studied chemistry, studied psychology, doesn’t matter what you did you can always come in and contribute which is great. I know we all love tech for good, weather are all very passionate about it and we can go on for hours, but that’s just a snippet of some of our work that we’re doing here at Accenture to help improve everyone’s every day You can tune into the rest of the series to find out more about how technology is changing our world keep up-to-date with all things Accenture on our social media channels and if you want to work with us and play a part in shaping the future head to our website to find out where you can apply your powerful mind .

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