Posted by: bevmeldrum | January 29, 2008

Going from Good to Great – Using Technology

Photo by Andrey ProkhorovThe approach that great organisations take to using technology, according the Collins and his team is that they use it where they can to improve their existing activities. He refers to it as an ‘accelerator’ – something that can increase the effectiveness and improve the impact of what you are trying to achieve.

For the Third Sector and the social entrepreneurs I think there are two things that can be drawn out of this point that are relevant to us – embrace technology and don’t go overboard.

    Embrace Technology

    Good technology can save you time and money. I think about the software products we offer. Our Business Plan Writer software saves you time and money if you are sitting down to write your business plan – on the screen in front of you are help notes and sample business plans from other organisations so that you do not have to keep looking at different bits of paper and documents. It saves you money because it only costs £39.99 and with the level of support you have you don’t have to think about paying for a consultant. The financial tools speed up the process of putting together your finances, working out the numbers and formatting the reports.

    A new product we are launching next month is an email newsletter tool that is really quick and easy to use. For £10 a month you can put together your newsletter in a fraction of the time.

    Think about it … if it only takes you 30 minutes rather than 2 hours (the software automatically formats your newsletter for you) you have saved yourself 90 mins a month for only £10 and that doesn’t include the savings you make on not having to print it out or post it.

    What about a website – a really good website. Clients have often said to me that they do not need to have a website because their members would never use it – one client was setting up a home care service and assumed that they wouldn’t need a website because the older people they worked with wouldn’t use it.

    However, there are two things here to think about.

    Firstly, the older people may not have used it but their children, often the people who paid for the home care service (so the organisation’s real customers) did use the internet. Whether we like it or not, in general, an organisation without a website is seen as unprofessional by the general public.

    Secondly, funders use the internet. When you apply for funding a funder will do some research on your organisation. When you bid for a contract the contracting body will research your organisation. They will search for your website – well think about it, you would do the same thing wouldn’t you.

    Websites are not optional anymore. They don’t have to be anything fancy. They don’t have to cost the earth but you with be damaging your public perception if you don’t bother.

    FREE OFFER – We are putting together a new service for social entrepreneurs and the Third Sector around website design. If you would like a free review of your website or you don’t have one and you would like some ideas on what would be suitable then email me at bev@thetoolfactory.com.

    Don’t Go Overboard

    If the technology you are looking at does not fit into your Hedgehog concept then walk away. If however, it does fit then you need to become a pioneer in that technology.

    This is particular difficult if you are like me and love your gadgets. If having the new iPhone in reality won’t act as an accelerator for your Hedgehog concept then actually you need to walk away and find something that does.

    Lucky for me, a new iPhone does fit into Hedgehog concept so I’m off to the shops…

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