NT100 'tech for good' social innovations unveiled

Have you ever wondered how best to help a homeless person, wanted to know the safest way to walk home or wished you could more directly influence government policy?

These were just some of the solutions unveiled in December by the Nominet Trust, which is funded by the sale of .co.uk domain names, on the NT100, a list of 100 social innovations enabled by technology.

The 100 organisations listed come from 30 countries and are active in 65. One-third of the 100 are led by those the trust called ‘everyday tech heroes’ – social entrepreneurs whose own experience motivated them to innovate to address a social problem.

One such 'hero' present at the launch on 14 December was Michael Brennan of tootoot, an online platform that enables pupils to report any worries or concerns directly to their teachers.

Brennan described himself as someone who would get sweaty palms even thinking about putting his hand up to answer a question in class. 

He was bullied himself and said: “I was concerned that telling a teacher or even seeing me being bullied would cause further problems. I wanted to find a way to help other children report their concerns.”

Brennan said that although bullying was where the idea started, tootoot has since been used to raise issues of radicalisation and abuse at home.

The picture above depicts another of the innovations on the list – how to enable those with disabilities to play music. The South West OpenYouth Orchestra (SWOYO) has enabled people with conditions such as cerebral palsy to play instruments by moving their eyes.

Director of the Nominet Trust, Vicki Hearn, said: “In our fourth year of the NT100, we have discovered 700 more social tech innovations from across the globe. It is truly inspiring to know that so many entrepreneurs from all walks of life are embracing digital technology as a force for social good."

She added that the trust hoped that inclusion in the NT100 provided “a valuable stepping-stone for these life-enhancing ventures to raise their profile and secure further investment”.

The full list of all 100 innovations is available at www.socialtech.org.uk. A film from the Nominet Trust about the NT100 is below.