Our “Federation Pledges” series is well underway and following up on our ongoing Displacement in Tech Co-Creation project with Noisy Cricket – a social impact consultancy supporting our members in enabling a more ethical digital society - we’ve spent the past month working with our members and friends of The Federation to better understand displacement.
Displacement Desk-Based Research
Looking to better understand the root causes of displacement, as a community we’ve explored everything from the precedent set by the Industrial Revolution to the most vulnerable groups being impacted by tech creation, and the regulation (or lack of) on tech power and influence as well as determining the difference when people are included in the design process.
Headed up by our co-working colleague Lauren Coulman (Noisy Cricket), and supported by Harriet Mallion (Northcoders), Joss Sessions (Slash Dot Studios), Nicola Marham (Sopra Steria) and Hector Rojas Jiminez (University of Manchester), we now have a huge body of research and insight, not least because of the stakeholder interviews we undertook to help contextualise the issue.
Displacement Stakeholder Interviews
Speaking with representatives from organisations like Kainos, Open Data Manchester, Thoughtworks and Hyper Island, we were able to map the scope of displacement, and understand the factors at play which determine whether tech goes beyond basic market disruption. Basically, when capital gain moves beyond industry to interrupt access to basic human rights, we have an issue.
When capital gain moves beyond industry to interrupt access to basic human rights, we have an issue.
With basic human needs – of safety and security, belonging and connection plus fulfilment– all impacted too, the message from our research was loud and clear. What’s the purpose of tech, and how are we fulfilling its potential beyond capital gain alone?
An uncomfortable question, particularly as organisations and the economy run on and are measured by profit, but what about the bigger societal picture? With our leadership values, organisational processes and people’s behaviour determining the focus and therefore outcomes of the tech we create, considering tech ethics in our product development cycles will be essential.
What is the purpose of the technology we are developing, and how are we fulfilling its potential beyond capital gain alone?
In the coming month, we’ll be sharing our insights with an event at The Federation, examining and discussing the systemic contributors, cultural influences and personal consequences of tech innovation and creation.
In the meantime, we’re creating a tool to help developers, designers and leaders introduce tech ethics to their processes, and engaging the biggest and brightest in the industry to spread the word. We’re working with our members to shape the solution, and we're encouraging more voices to get involved and be heard.
If you want to get involved in this mammoth but important project, please email Lauren Coulman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For now though, our co-created definition of displacement in tech is yours to mull over, question and consider in your own work. We'd love to hear your thoughts- please get in touch!