45.7 13.13 article 2047 0 4 0

European Commission - Enterprise and Industry

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Apps for Good

Written by Kine Nordstokka

Apps for Good

This case study was originally published at the Global Optimist


Apps for Good was developed and initiated by Centre for Digital Inclusion (CDI) Europe in partnership with Dell. CDI was founded in 1995 and is a network set up to empower people through information and communication technology.  The first Apps for Good pilot project was launched in 2010 with nine young participants between the ages of 18 and 25. The pilot was very successful and Apps for Good are now running courses for 16 to 25 year olds who are not in full-time education, jobs or training, as well as programmes for 13 to 18 year olds in full-time education.

The Innovation

Apps for Good helps young people to develop problem solving and design skills which are essential in today’s information society. It is a programme where young people learn to create new mobile applications which solve real life issues that matter for them and the communities they live in. The young participants attend a course where they explore what kind of challenges they want to address and how to create applications that can solve these challenges in the best way possible. The aims are to encourage young people to use technology to tackle problems for social good and increase entrepreneurial skills and confidence in young people.

Apps for Good participants have successfully developed applications such as Stop and Search, StudentVoice and StudioPhly. Stop and Search allows young people to rate their experience of being searchedby the police, and to obtain information about their rights. StudentVoice enables prospective and current students to research lifestyle around a university. StudioPhly is an app where young and aspiring musicians can find recording studios at specific locations or with specific equipment and sound.

Key Ingredients

Apps for Good is an eight week long interactive and practical course. During the span of the course students go through five main stages; problem discovery, research, solution design, product design and build and test. Although the course is not a technical programming course, it helps young people gain skills in technology and design. Participants also get access to business networks, skills and knowledge that can help them gain employment and is opening doors into exciting, growing industries such as the design, technology and mobile industry. In addition to technical and design skills the course also teaches the young people skills in entrepreneurship, community engagement, team work and problem solving.

The students do not need any previous experience to attend the course and Apps for Good does not ask for the applicants school grades. Applicants are accepted based on their commitment, passion and motivation to create an app that can change the world the young people live in for the good.

During the course the students work on a real, new app that the student develops all the way from concept to reality. In addition to learning important employable skills such as business planning, public speaking, pitching, team work and marketing, the students also get an insight into thelatest mobile and tablet technologies. The students receive coaching from top industry professionalsand get the opportunity to attend networking events to meet leading professionals in the design, marketing and technology field.

Every participant successfully completing the Apps for Good course will receive a certificate supported by Dell and CDI’s network of professional app designers. After completing the course the participants also get personalised career assistanceand access to highly-sought after internship opportunities exclusive to Apps for Good alumni. Previous Apps for Good students can receive training to work as an educator for CDI, running their own Apps for Good course. Selected participants also get the opportunity to get their app developed and published at Android.