Tech for Good: What Challenges Does the Future Hold?

Published on 12 April 2022

Reading time 10 minutes

As environmental, social, and health issues gain more and more prominence, the tech world continues to evolve. That's where Tech for Good comes in. But what is Tech for Good, what are its challenges, and who are its key players?

What’s Tech for Good?

Tech for Good: a definition

The term "Tech for Good" refers to the various actors who implement local and/or global actions to address societal and environmental issues. It aims to combine societal impact and economic growth by demonstrating that technology can serve the common good: living better, all together.

According to bpifrance, the tech-for-good movement... 

  • stems from a collective awareness, where tech and digital transformation place positive societal impact at the center of their concerns
  • can also allow the Social and Solidarity Economy to use digital innovation to deploy its actions on a large scale
  • can represent a real lever to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals:

Sustainable development goals

Source: United Nations

Tech for Good: what are the stakes?

Let's zoom straight to the core of the topic! What challenges does Tech for Good face?

Digital innovations are increasingly important tools for addressing the common good. According to the United Nations, "Digital advances can support and accelerate achievement of each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – from ending extreme poverty to reducing maternal and infant mortality, promoting sustainable farming and decent work, and achieving universal literacy."

Thus, Tech for Good’s challenges are many:

  • promote equality through "connectivity, financial inclusion, and access to commercial and public services”
  • contribute to the health sector by using artificial intelligence to increase life expectancy, diagnose diseases more quickly, remedy medical deserts via telemedicine, and more
  • enable greater access to education through virtual and/or distance learning
  • adopt more sustainable practices within companies to enable growth that is both virtuous and environmentally friendly
  • promote inclusion among persons with disabilities through new inclusive technologies
  • many more!

However, there are several areas of concern regarding tech, including two specific ones:

  • Digital accessibility is not a given for everyone. A large segment of the population is still marginalized. On average, the world’s women have less access to technology than men. The same trend applies for the elderly versus younger generations. This is why it’s necessary to reduce the technological gap in the least developed countries and strengthen their technological, innovative, and scientific capacities.
  • According to a 2017 McKinsey Group report, the jobs of 400 million to 800 million people worldwide will be at risk by 2030 due to automation. Thus, it’s essential to train people in tech professions so they can evolve with these changes by retraining and upgrading their skills. Changing our approach to edtech seems unavoidable for anyone wishing to have access to a tech education. This is what Wild Code School has been working towards since its creation in 2013.

The tech-for-good market: key actors and future

Tech for Good involves a wide category of actors: from start-ups to larger companies and organizations, they want to put their services, products, and technologies at the service of the common good and the planet to meet not only societal challenges but also those related to reducing environmental impact.

The key tech-for-good players

A key event from 2020 comes to mind.

If you were told that 70 global tech leaders met at the French Presidential Palace to sign a joint manifesto of eight commitments, what would you think of?

The annual "Tech for Good" summit, of course! 

Initially launched by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018, it brought together big names, such as:

  • Accor
  • BlaBlaCar
  • BNP Paribas
  • Booking
  • Cdiscount
  • Deliveroo
  • Doctolib
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Iliad
  • L'Oréal
  • Oracle
  • Orange
  • Snapchat
  • SNCF
  • TF1
  • Twitter
  • Uber
  • Upwork
  • Visa
  • And many others...

This summit’s agenda tackled several themes:

  • Tech for Education
  • Future of Work
  • Tech for Diversity
  • Tech for Economic Inclusiveness
  • Tech for Environment
  • Tech for Good France
  • Tech for Good Africa
  • AI for Good
  • ...

This initiative shows the desire and need for companies to be part of a more sustainable and fairer approach. In addition, events such as the TECH FOR GOOD AWARDS in France are organized every year to highlight start-ups that use technology and innovation for the common good.

There’s also a growing number of European start-ups working for Tech for Good. Among them, we find some partners of Wild Code School:

  • Founderland: a start-up that creates a new standard for entrepreneurs, without limits or boundaries. It works to create more diverse, sustainable, and scalable businesses. A particular focus is on supporting women entrepreneurs across Europe who’ve run into obstacles in their careers due to their gender, origin, or color.
  • Hacker School: a non-profit organization that introduces young people—regardless of their gender or social environment—to the world of computer science
  • Kleiderly: a company that makes eyewear from recycled textiles, with the aim of reducing the environmental impact of fashion
  • Social Declik, a company that helps digital freelancers build stable businesses in the impact sector. To learn more, read our dedicated interview of Charlotte, co-founder of Social Declik.
  • ...

But that's not all! Other tech-for-good start-ups are equally making daily strides toward a better world:  

  • Bagboard is a tech company that partners with eco-friendly brands by offering smart and eco-friendly bags.
  • Cinapsis helps patients receive specialized care and enables clinicians to work together by facilitating instant, barrier-free communication, and information transfer between healthcare professionals at every level.
  • Nudge is a start-up specializing in mental health technologies by offering a bracelet programmed to help people suffering from certain illnesses such as trichotillomania (people who pull out their hair), dermatillomania (people who scratch their skin), and much more.
  • Podium is a job platform specially designed for freelancers with disabilities offering their services in various fields, ranging from tech to administration, design, finance, and more.
  • YoungPlanet is an application that allows parents to give free children's items they no longer use to new families, in order to avoid throwing them out and sending them to the landfill.

The future of Tech for Good

We’re evolving towards a world that is increasingly concerned about the common good: environmental impact, ecological transition, the effects of technological innovation, ethical governance, equity, social inclusiveness, the battle against inequality... It has therefore become necessary to establish a new way of thinking and new ways of acting for a fairer world.

And a growing number of organizations are getting involved! One example is Boby, an app created by some of our Wilders who have launched their own tech-for-good business.

Focus on the Boby application, a tech-for-good project made in Wild Code School

On the occasion of Boby's launch, we chose to interview its CTO by Guillaume Harari, former student and then instructor in web development at Wild Code School!

Hi, Guillaume! What was your background before joining Wild Code School? And where are you in your career today?

I set out in web development in the early 2000s. Self-taught of course, and with the few tutorials available on the Internet at that time.

The web wasn't anchored in our lives like it is today, so for me, it was a just secondary activity, and at times, even more of a hobby.

Then, in 2017, I heard about Wild Code School. It was exactly what I needed to adopt web development as my main profession. I joined Wild as a student. I then became a Symfony/React developer at Conecteo, a company that develops an advanced CRM solution. I had a lot of fun and experience there.

Then in 2019, I accepted the opportunity to be an instructor at Wild Code School. That spanned more than two years, it was a great experience that helped me hone my technical talents.

Today, I’m CTO at Cybat (Boby)!

Could you tell us more about the "Boby" project?

The Boby ERP* was born from a meeting between Aurélien (CEO, but also former Wilder) and an IT entrepreneur. They wanted to respond to a pressing need from construction professionals: a simple, ergonomic, user-friendly tool with AI that would allow construction professionals to have a single tool to manage their entire activity! Finally, Boby wants to export quickly at the European level.

*ERP: Application that allows to manage all the processes of a company, including estimates, invoices, and human resources.

How does all this tie in with Tech for Good?

Boby's approach can be found in the tech-for-good movement, bringing time savings and reduced connection times for building professionals.

How do we do it? The user experience is placed at the heart of the development, through the implementation of field methodology and AI integration.

Also, Boby brings a CSR approach, by integrating gamification that grants break times on the tool.

We care about the well-being of our users. This approach is innovative in the ERP world.

Finally, at our level, we strive to respect our environment! Here are a few examples of what we’re doing:

  • Responsible hosting choices. Data centers represent a high percentage of greenhouse gas emissions, and we don't want to contribute to that. In our hosting solution benchmarks, ecological criteria weigh heavily in our decisions.
  • By writing high-performance code, we write green code. This may sound funny, but let's think about it for a moment. Our ambition is to gain 6,000 users by mid-2023. If these users all execute the same poorly developed function, that's 6,000 times that the processor that heats up for nothing, and then it needs to be cooled. The energy consumption starts to add up.
  • By limiting our marketing mailings. It’s no longer a secret that emails—mailing lists and ads in particular, have a very strong impact on our planet. For these reasons, our strategy does not include sending mass emails.

You recruited Wilders to your team; why did you choose applicants in retraining over others?

As a joke, we sometimes say that Cybat (Boby) is really just a branch of Wild Code School. It’s true: the majority of employees are from Wild Code School!

Why? For three simple reasons:

  • People in career retraining are most often passionate and eager to learn.
  • Through its programs and pedagogy, Wild Code School alums can hit the ground running right after completion of a specific stack.
  • And of course, it’s always more pleasant to recruit within your network of acquaintances!

What are your plans for the future?

Of course, I intend to continue training. I know I have some things to work on: Devops, for example. But my focus for now is on Cybat (Boby)! The goal is to be the number-one ERP company in the building industry, and this requires an enormous commitment on my part.

Boby team

A shot of the team (well, a good part of it!): Aurélien, Alban, Adèle, Olivier, Guillaume, Axel, Karine, Jasmine, Sébastien, and Thomas.

Discover the whole team on Boby's LinkedIn page.

To learn more...

Business folks! If you’re interested in Tech for Good and want to contribute to building a better world, these courses might interest you:

Interested in web development?

Interested in data?

Discover all our other trainings on the website!

Signature of Mélanie Coltel