The article is a translation of our article pusblished in La Revue du Cube December, 2016
By Jeanne Bretécher and Flora Clodic-Tanguy
The Web Summit, which was held for the first time in Lisbon (Portugal) from 7 to 10 November, was a major event for digital actors, with a special focus on Social Good Tech.
Generation 2, our French collective of avisors for social good was there. Here isour sum up of the event form our point of view.
It is considered the "Davos of geeks". For the first time, the Web Summit has put its"pink" suitcases in Lisbon, Portugal. More than 53,000 people – digital influencers,journalists, corporations and tech startups – strolled for three days in the corridors ofthe MEO Arena, on the outskirts of the City of the Seven Hills, and continued thefestivities in the night spots of Cais of Sodre.
This Web Summit in Lisbon was a strong signal, which is in line with the ambition of the Portuguese capital to become a kind of European Silicon Valley without
sacrificing its identity. And it worked: a fund of 200 million euros dedicated to startupswas announced during the summit, as well as the launch of a label "StartupPortugal".
What other scene in the world concentrates so many economic and political decisionmakers, entrepreneurs, skills, and innovation driven by a "millenials" generationwhose motives have mutated? We were there in good company: Génération 2, a cooperativ firm that advises organizations on their societal commitment, the Coding School which forms the largest number in digital languages and Viva Lisboa, a new media that brings French and Portuguese communities closer to Lisbon.
We have thus captured the weak signals and the potentialities of contributions of the actors of the tech to projects of general interest.
Certainly, part of "Silicon Valley converts to Social Business", as the adventure of Nicolas Hazard of the Comptoir de l'Innovation in San Francisco (see HS – L'Express)
reminds us. But no need to go to the United States to find Tech philanthropists: they were all on the Web Summit!
A scene was even specially dedicated to the social transition and the Social Good: "Future Societies". Some examples of conferences, to illustrate the diversity of subjects? "Finding your calling in the digital economy", "Scale up, give back", "What place do things and values have in techology? "," Storytelling with a purpose"…
TechFugees, a virtual digital pro community that helps refugees also took advantage of the Summit to announce its launch in Portugal, with the support of local actors, and Save The Children dissected its campaign shock On migrations as a war.
Do you speak Social Good Tech (Você fala Social Good Tech?)
Next to this room, always crowded, about twenty startups a day on the Social Good Tech Topic, with many representatives of the EdTech. Despite the proliferation of the French ecosystem, encouraged for six years by the Social Good Week, French projects were relatively few. Two were selected.
The Epic Foundation was created by Alexandre Mars FOR Tech philantropists. It sources the projects to be financed and tracks the success indicators of the projects financed via an efficient information system. In return, it takes a 2% stake in the startups.
Changing the way to engage and mobilize using the latest data and artificial intelligence technologies is the ambition of Quorum, a Bordeaux startup. It accompanies local authorities, NGOs, election candidates and leaders in their mobilization campaigns.
And because we are not chauvinists, we have also retained two inspiring foreign projects: Change Tomorrow.io (Portugal) wants to revolutionize local democracy around participatory budgets and Heroes and friends (Netherlands) which finds solidarity projects Inspiring and help you mobilize your entourage to support them.
One thing struck us: reflections on the general interest, ethics and values were everywhere, especially after the shocking announcement of Donald Trump's victory in the US elections. The basic income and the objectives of sustainable development also seem to make their way into the heads of geeks of all kinds come to remake the digital world of tomorrow.
It remains to be seen if the intentions displayed, especially Facebook or Tinder, to contribute more to the general interest, are the symbol of an awareness of digital entrepreneurs or whether they are just … "social good washing!"
Like us, Camille Pène, director of Futur en Seine (CapDigital), was surprised at the extent of these subjects: "I did not think that they would be given so much place in such a business-oriented event. But the Social Good Tech are probably carriers at this level there! Moreover, it seems to me that there is indeed a European specificity for startups: a more social concern, a desire to preserve a model of society, a little "anti Silicon Valley".
Count on us, in any case, to be there in 2017, alongside all those who want tostrengthen the European Social Good Tech and find our report on Storify.