As Campaign 2000 reports despite Canadian Parliament resolving in 1989 to eliminate child and family poverty by the year 2000, twenty three years later they are still yet to report any meaningful progress.
As many as one in ten live in what would be considered third world conditions. In Canada!
Indeed due to the financial meltdown it has increased. As the report Running on Empty (16-page PDF) highlights there is a staggering 400,000+ people having to beg for handouts from food banks in Ontario alone, a figure that has grown by 28% since 2008.
One of the buzzword phrases in IT is “Business value alignment”, referring simply to ‘How do we ensure all this money we spend on IT is actually providing some kind of usefulness?’ – How do we quantify and measure this?
For Governments this is trickier again as their primary motivation isn’t to generate profits, but given these types of social needs it’s clear what value it is they should be achieving.
Hence the business value of IT in Government can be assessed by how effectively it can help achieve positive social change in these kinds of areas, leading us to ‘Social Impact Cloud Computing‘.
The latest innovations emerging to help address these issues include ‘Social Impact Bonds‘, an entirely innovative model for how Government services are financed and organized.
For a quick crash course here’s a few useful resources:
- The UK’s Social Finance organization – Considered an original authority on the topic.
- The MARS Social Finance group – Followers of these practices and localizing them for Canada.
- Deloitte offers a nice overview in this document.
In short Social Impact Cloud Computing is the reference architecture for how Cloud-based IT can be used to implement these new models, and will be one of the headline topics we cover in our report, Cloud Computing and the Drummond Report.
As Sara Lyons describes here the potential use of Social Impact Bonds is one idea proposed by Don Drummond as a means for Ontario to achieve the required cost-savings transformation necessary to reducing the deficit for the province.
Our report will focus on this strategic intersection, on how Cloud is the ideal modernization technology for governments because it can act as a catalyst and enabler of these new transformation models.
Cloud 2.0 – Crowdsourcing Social Innovation
Specifically it’s “Cloud 2.0” technologies that are key.
As described in our knowledge section on the topic, Open Government experts like Beth Noveck have applied these ‘Open Innovation’ techniques first to key processes like the patent application, and then focused on how it could be applied to others like non-profit grantmaking, specifically Community Impact Investing.
The benefits that could be enjoyed here can be envisaged by considering how this transformation has been applied to the identical process of commercial grantmaking, ie. Venture Capital raising via ‘Crowdfunding’ sites like Kickstarter.
Imagine if the same effect and benefits of mass-scale funding of ideas were applied to Social Innovation projects the same way – What could be achieved?
Actually in the UK they are already imagining. The Cabinet Office has described this vision in their plans to ‘Grow the Social Investment Market‘, where a core part of this includes:
“Creation of a single web portal or gateway.
The portal would help social ventures to connect with the right sources of finance, business capability or investment readiness support. In time, the portal could serve as a broader gateway: facilitating recruitment and internships to social ventures and intermediaries; and connecting social ventures to expertize offered by other social ventures, private sector organizations, universities or the general public. There may also be scope to use the portal as a platform to build social venture consortia to bid for large-scale contracts, or to help develop sector-specific networks.”
Join us at the Social Innovation Center, Toronto, to learn more.
With input from Cloud leaders like Salesforce.com, pioneers of ‘Social Enterprise’ best practices, we’ll demonstrate these new Cloud systems and how they can be used for these new innovative models.
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