This month doteveryone will be handing over the tools and research we have created to larger partner organisations and bowing out of the responsible tech landscape.
When I gave the dimbleby lecture on bbc1 in 2015,in which doteveryone was born, I never could have imagined the meteors that would hit all of us and our relationship with technology. From the US election, to Brexit, to cambridge analytica, nhs hacks, trillion dollar silicon valley market caps and then now, in a final twist, the stay at home necessity of an online life.
Doteveryone helped to spark the conversation about ethics in tech and what responsibility looks like in the sector but also what resilience looks like for us as users and citizens. It’s amazing to see how quickly these conversations about the digital world and the public awareness of the issues have changed. I think doteveryone can claim a small role in that change and I’m immensely proud of the team who made that happen.
We were always clear that we didn’t want to produce reports alone but we must show what good looks like – build some products and services that could be used either as examples or as tools for organisations to use. Some of the work that i have found most powerful has been when we have done this successfully – in the care sector, for gig workers or people who are facing the end of their life. We have always tried to focus on a simple maxim “if you first focus on the so called “furthest” users , then you will inherently design a better service for everyone with more of the consequences considered.
It is now time to give the assets we have created to organisations that have the reach and resources to take them to scale. I am thrilled that two excellent partners – Ada and ODI will do this and Doteveryone will continue to have impact.
There is also a power to stopping. It is important to question the best structure for creating the impact you want to see. There are now many more people working on responsible tech and combining resources is definitely more vital than ever. i think charitable organisations need to consider their individual importance far more often than currently happens – there is too much to do in all sectors, to be competitive or replicative.
I really want to thank all the people who have worked with me over the last 5 years . I have been so lucky to have had fantastic trustees, CEOs and teams. I know that doing something new and unfashionable is hard but i also know we created change, used our influence well and had some fun along the way. I also thank all our funders and supporters – early individual very generous donors and later large foundations – most especially the Omidyar network who are doing so much to build a more just and fair technology sector.
The UK is facing not only the current covid crisis but then the existential crisis of the climate catastrophe. We must use the tools of our modern age to benefit all of our citizens and help design solutions to give us the best shot at the next 1000 years. I believe this will never happen effectively unless we make sure the voice of us – the citizen, the user, the everyone – is centre stage. Lets make it so.