Creative Cocktails: Tech, Tactics and Tequila
On Monday 15th October in the backstreets of Fitzroy, Melbourne we hosted an intimate gathering of designers, developers and entrepreneurs for the second in our series of creative cocktail conversations (we love alliteration). The topic of the evening was how to harness technology for impact and the panelists were diverse. The cocktail was margaritas.
Our star-studded panelists included:
Rebeccah Bartlett, founder of Shifra
Why she’s awesome? Your Creative have had the pleasure to work with Rebeccah for a while now helping her design a digital platform for allow refugee and new migrant populations to access health information in their native language. Her plans are big involving 9 different language translations, and her team entirely volunteers. Did we mention she’s flying to Paris next week as a finalist in TechRefugee, a global grant funded by TechCrunch?
Gideon Aschwanden, CEO of Property Coin
Why he’s awesome? Well firstly he’s Swiss and has many different pair of fluro glasses to teach his toddler colours. Secondly he lecturers in Urban Analytics at UoM leading research projects on open data, quantitative policy evaluation and blockchain development. He’s also got this great idea to solve housing affordability through blockchain.
Gerald Fisher, Managing Director of We Are Affect
Why he’s awesome? Gerald manages We Are Affect which uses VR storytelling to create positive social change. They work with not-for-profits to quantify social impact. Gerald is also a member of the Global Shapers, a network of inspiring young leaders under the age of 30 working together to address local, regional and global challenges. What a guy!
Our very own Lauren Crystal, MD of us and Co-founder of Hassl
Why is she awesome? We are too biased to comment.
We had a healthy panel discussion led by our Creative Director James Lim. There was a lot to unpack so we thought we’d provide some of the key questions and their takeaways.
How do we make sure technology is working with us and not against?
Gez: It’s really about deciding the problem and working from that. Trying to reverse engine any sort of technology solution is a nightmare.
Start from the problem before you even consider the technology and that’ll make sure it ends up being purposeful. Gez
Rebeccah: For a not-for-profit point of you it’s really important to not reinvent the wheel unless you need to. Look out for technologies and platforms that already exist before you dive in.
What are the practical use cases for big data?
Lauren: We’ve got to be using data to tell stories, often it’s actually the smaller datasets that say the most.
Big datasets are extremely useful at allowing us to get to the point and therefore find solutions directly. We are all bias one way or another and technology can identify the truth. Gideon
There’s a lot of fear of technology and automation. How do we stay human in the age of technology?
Gerald: For me, it’s really about balance and making sure the technology we use is helping us.
Rebeccah: The key here is to make sure we don’t forget to engage and talk normally. When it comes to technology and community we’ve got to consider people who are not technically trained or savvy.
You wouldn’t be able to build a building without ensuring everyone in your community has access, so how can you build technology without thinking about accessibility? Rebeccah
How do you see the role of the designer into creating technology-based products?
Gideon: The most important designer is the one that can effectively translate between the many different groups it takes to build an piece of technology. The user experience designer is vital to engineering the product and the process of creation should begin with them.
Rebeccah: I believe the most important role of the designer is face to face interaction and research. When designing Shifra we conducted numerous focus groups with Arabic- speaking new migrant women in their local settings. It is understanding the people you are creating the tool for that is invaluable.
If you could offer one skill you need to turn an idea into technology, what would it be?
Have an incredible curiosity and the courage to learn new things. It’s an industry that is constantly changing so be used to constant rejection – throwing everything out and starting again. Everyone
A big thanks to the team at United Co for hosting. We run our cocktail conversations every once in a while, if you have a topic or speaker suggestion pop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org If you’re Melbourne-based and fancy drinking the next round of free cocktails sign-up to our YC mailing list in the footer.