I think we should run the world to meet people’s needs and we’re quite a way off that. It’s not how we run the world at all, right now. Joining FutureGov has been a really good move for me because I’m learning a lot about how you make this happen, practically.

Alongside FutureGov, I work with Tech for Good Live, and specifically, a project called Help a Charity, which is a service where charities can request help with tech, and we find tech volunteers who can help them solve problems in a digital way.

We launched a minimum viable product in March last year, where any charity could apply and they’d be paired with a tech volunteer to help them navigate COVID and move what they needed to online.

We’ve learnt quite a lot from that and are now redesigning the service and putting in place something that’s more mature. We realised that charities often need help to work out what they need. So the purpose has shifted slightly, we’re helping charities work out how to apply digital thinking and develop digital solutions that help them achieve more social impact.

The new service will partner them with tech mentors who can help them work out what a good solution might be, and then the tech volunteers who can help to build and deliver those solutions.

In the last year, I’m constantly reminded of the need to go back to users and why we’re doing stuff, because there’s always too much work. The key is working out which of those things is the priority.

What is the minimum thing we can do that will deliver the most value? Reaching a conclusion about what’s best should be mission led and user-driven.

For me, keeping motivated and focused is about going back to purpose. What is the good thing we’re trying to do here? How will it change people’s lives? Not the cool or trendy thing or the thing that’s going to make the most money. It’s coming back to what is the thing that people need? And therefore, what should we do?

Harriet Pugh is a Service Designer at FutureGov and joined in November 2020.

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