Background

Think Social Tech was born in January 2018 to fill a gap in the Tech for Good movement for independent ‘tech savvy’ research, at a time when there were only a few key players involved. Having initiated a small part of this movement at Comic Relief, I wanted to support others, funders and charities to work out their role in this space and to become more 'tech-savvy' in their own practice. You can find out more about what I originally hoped to work on here Medium blog post. However, the biggest reason for Think Social Tech was and still is a personal one. Returning to work (and a restructure) after my half of shared parental leave gave me the opportunity to realise I wanted to get out of one office and test a new way of working in London for me and my family.

Think Social Tech is currently set up as a sole trader (and I suspect it always will be). I often delivers projects in collaboration with other experts and the Tech for Good community, including those in the freelancer group that I run, Tech for good Maverns and Mavericks. This helps learn from others, increases productivity and critical thinking, as well as expanding my work beyond London.

Nissa Ramsay, a brief CV

I have ten years' experience in the third sector, specialising in funding programme design and evaluation. At Comic Relief this included setting up and learning from the Tech for Good Fund, Innovation Labs and the Tech Vs Abuse initiative. I have supported over 30 not-for-profit organisations to develop digital products, assessed hundreds of grant applications, published open grantmaking data and been a judge on the NT100 and the Tech4Good Awards.

I have a PhD in Human Geography and an MSc in Digital Sociology, focusing on the creative use of data-driven storytelling and participatory research. My work with Women's Aid on Domestic Abuse Migration was longlisted for the Kantar 2016 Information is Beautiful Awards.

To find out more about my experience, see this Medium blog post or my LinkedIn Profile

Working with Think Social Tech

The consultancy projects I deliver range from 5 - 50 days, typically over a period of time (weeks or months), with a budget from as little as £2500 to a maximum of £30000. As a sole trader, I'm not VAT registered and don't need to charge VAT as I'm not at the threshold. I operate on two different day rates and give a lower day rate to projects that are greater than 10 days and to repeat clients.

I design each project according to your needs. I can take on entire projects and manage them from start to finish, I can deliver aspects of a piece of work (such as a set of interviews) and I often act in an advisory role (particularly when teams hit a capacity gap or need specialist tech for good support). I cost projects based on the average number of days it takes to deliver key activites (such as interviews, report writing, survey design and workshop delivery) or I can operate on a timesheet basis.

In terms of what it's like to work with me, my clients have described me as helpful, flexible, friendly and clever. You should know that with every project I do, I like to either test a new approach that I can share to benefit others in this space. Whether it's curating a set of publically available research resources and tools or trialling Trello to share research insights between collaborations or posting about my work on my own Medium blog (always with your pre-approval). I take ideas from traditional research practices combined with digital ways of working (namely, user-centered design practices, open-source and re-use of knowledge).I'm also active in a range of tech for good and freelancer communities. I love to work on Google Docs, I'm awesome at Excel formulas and work remotely with a range of clients (but will always meet for coffee if I can). I primarily work in London so I can see my little toddler as much as I can. I will always partner with other freelancers where a local or regional presence is important to a project.

Previous clients and projects

Research best practice guides (Open Data Institute)

I developed a toolkit outlining best practice in undertaking social research for the Open Data Institute. As part of this, I curated a sheet of publically available research resources and tools recommended by professionals to help deliver rapplied social research projects. Find out more:

Tech vs Abuse fund research (Comic Relief, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Clothworkers Foundation)

I led this sector focused discovery research to refresh the design of the Tech vs Abuse fund, in collaboration with Snook and SafeLives:

  • The findings and design challenges are published on https://www.techvsabuse.info
  • See the updated map of current technology in this space here and read the full analysis in the report
  • Learn more about the 10 changes made to the fund design in response to the research on this blog post

Critical digitial services for young people's mental health (Nominet)

As Nominet as they set out to deliver their new Public Benefit Strategy and design their proactive funding programme dedicated to charities delivering frontline mental health services to young people. As part of this, I provided support and undertook interviews with charities to inform:

Digital maturity research (CAST / CATALYST)

I partnered with Innovation Unboxed and CAST to map and navigate the landscape of digital maturity diagnostic tools across the charity sector.

A community of Tech for Good freelancers (self-funded)

I set up and run Tech for Good Mavens and Mavericks, a Slack team dedicated to freelancers actively working with not for profits (broadly) in the UK social tech /tech for good space. It's for researchers, strategists, advisors, connectors, data and evaluator people working across the sector - to come together and work more collectively and collaboratively. It's not for commissioners, digital agencies, developers, charities, skills or support (head to Digital Charities for this). It seems to be particularly useful for those who want to feel part of a community whilst working solo, including those just starting out as freelance having left paid employment and want to specialise in and support the Tech for Good movement. We mostly share our work, experiences, opportunities and sector news. Find out more about the community, members, how to join or advertise opportunities here

Find out more

Hear more about what Think Social Tech is doing and about the latest Tech for Good research by signing up to the Think Social Tech Mailing List. You'll have the opportunity to contribute to relevant surveys, interviews and online research delivered by Think Social Tech and others that I collaborate closely with, to inform the work of funders and to hear more about the latest research, tools, news and resources.

Contact

Get in touch to discuss current projects and potential consultancy or follow Think Social Tech on: