Try Alidade: an interactive tool to help you choose technology that's right for you

Hello! If you’re thinking about how technology could improve your grassroots justice work, you might be interested in this interactive tool that we at The Engine Room built with partners in South Africa and Kenya:

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Background

We know that tech can increase chances for success, if done right. But it’s often hard for social change projects whose skills don’t already lie in technology to know how technology can be integrated or which tool would be the most useful.

Lots of organisations are dealing with these questions. In our research with the Network Society Lab and Mtaani Initiative, we found that Kenyan and South African organisations were mostly unhappy with the technology tools they were choosing.

They were also regularly missing out key steps that they later said might have helped – like checking what alternatives already existed, or taking more time to ask their users what they really needed.

To make the recommendations more practical and useful, we created Alidade – an interactive guide that helps social change organisations ask the questions that can help them decide what kind of technology tool would fit with their project.

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Aliwhat?

Alidade is a series of questions that guide you through the process of choosing technology.

Alidade - testing tools

It’s divided into four steps:

  1. Understanding your needs – clarifying your project’s objectives, and what your users want
  2. Understanding the tech – setting out your requirements, and researching what options are already out there
  3. Trying it out – planning a trial of the technology options you’re considering, with your users
  4. Getting help (if you need it) – working out what kind of technical support you might need to implement or manage the technology you have chosen.

At the end, Alidade produces a structured PDF document that you can use to get colleagues on board with your idea; explain your requirements to technical providers; or show funders that you’ve done your homework.

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We’d love to hear feedback on it, or other ways we can make it more useful. And if you have questions and would like to chat to a real person, you can schedule a call with The Engine Room here: Calendly - The Engine Room.

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