Breaking the Mould

20th September 2019

Our approach to creating Help And Kindness is paradigm-busting, and this was affirmed again today.

The existing methods of building systems to tell people what help is available (often labelled "Directories of Services") are usually characterised by being:

  • sponsored or owned by one organisation
  • centrally defined
  • centrally administered
  • clearly defined in scope
  • fixed in structure and form once launched
  • based on print directories

The existing service models have been extremely useful, and delivered huge benefit, but taken enormous effort to make and maintain. We have learned a lot from them.

Times change however, and some things are unsustainable, while new things are possible.

  • budgets are reduced, and big directories can be unaffordable for individual organisations
  • organisation agendas have to flex more quickly as services, capacity and needs change
  • staffing for administrative work is under threat from budget prioritisation
  • life and needs are messy and hard to put in boxes
  • technology and user demands change over time
  • print is less sustainable or affordable

Help And Kindness has grown up in this environment and is designed with a completely different world in mind.

It is:

  • independent and can be shared with, and serve, multiple partners
  • evolving from the ground up, all the time
  • the product of the shared endeavour of many people
  • responsive to the needs of the community as they change and grow
  • adaptive to the technological and behavioural changes that affect society
  • more economical and sustainable in delivery than print

To some this may appear as if we are "in a dream world", but in fact Help And Kindness lives in the real, modern world; a world of perpetual communication, of Apps, of sharing, connectivity, technological diversity, organisational and political volatility, and collaboration. It is built on new cultural norms around information; always on, always updated, personalised, synchronised, localised. It doesn't exclude those who are digitally nervous or alienated. It combines ideas around Wikipedia, Facebook, instant messaging, mapping, the internet of things, web-based training, etc. with new approaches to semantic and linguistic analysis, search technology and personal meaning-making.

In a meeting today, differences shown by the juxtaposition of the old and new worlds were starkly apparent. Our vision of technology as a multi-dimensional tool for transformation, contrasted completely from the old view of technology as a passive replacement for print.

We're so excited to be engaged in transforming the concept of "Directory" into something that is more radical, more responsive and more ready for the challenges of our modern world; a real and genuine paradigm shift in the provision of community networking and information services.

Here's to living in the real world.

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