Today has come, the site is live, and everything is there for free, for you. As mentioned in previous posts, we are giving everything we’ve learned and built away for free starting today. It’s a big and exciting step. We’ve worked with the lovely people of Click Studios to create a simple, but wonderful website explaining what the Speed Portal is, its history, and with explanations of how to access the code, the resources, and other things.
Of course, if you need help please contact us, we’re happy to help you customise the portal for use within your organisation.
As mentioned in previous posts, our grant for the development of the Speed Portal is coming to end and we are in the midst of doing lots of little bits of polishing to the portal and the supporting resources, while also continuing to deploy it for use in new countries. As also mentioned, the plan is to share all we have learned and done with others for free. The beginning step of this sharing will happen on September 10th during a “Close-Out Workshop” for this phase of the project.
We plan to share what we have learned, the features and functionality of the Portal, the technical requirements, and how to access the code and resources. The workshop will be held in London, England, so if you are interested in joining, please let us know and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.
At many times throughout this project, particular during tough periods we’ve often wondered if what the Speed Portal was still unique. When we had started the journey of Speed, World Vision hired Accenture to conduct market research on what technologies existed in this space and if there was existing technology that was doing the role of Speed. Accenture found this did not exist and recommended World Vision use a suite of options shown below.
Using their recommendations, we began to create the working prototype we now have. It looks slightly differently than what they suggested – mainly it is slimmed down for budget reasons, but their research proved invaluable for us.
A few years has passed since their research and now I fully expected there to be multiple options available to agencies now, but I didn’t know who they were. So we hired ThoughtWorks to find out. They looked at 33 different features that we identified (31 of which the Speed Portal can do) and asked them to scour the known world for software that could do the same thing.
What they found is that the Speed Portal is still unique and there does not appear to be anyone doing the same thing. Their are many options for aspects of the portal, but for bringing it all together, Speed remains unique. Below are the top 13 most similar products.
Honestly, I was shocked at their findings, but also very excited and proud. We also found there to be lots of good information in their findings that could be very helpful for other agencies considering different forms of technology use. The report should give an agency a quick overview of available options from which they could do their own more in-depth research. The entire research report can be found here – Speed Evidence Evaluation
The last few weeks have been full of rising levels of anxiety within me as we struggled to figure out what was going wrong in migrating the Speed Portal hosting to a platform that we could better be able to give it away from and help host “instances” of the portal in the future. Things just weren’t working.
Yesterday and into their late evening hours, the team from Click Studios were troubleshooting with me. In the end, Stuart was sitting in the midst cardboard boxes and packing, Jess was on the end of Skype and phones somewhere in the great city of London, and I was overlooking a peach orchard in the Niagara Region of Canada, when finally I screamed out “I’M IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” It was glorious even if it scared my 9 month old into crying hysterically. We had broken through and my anxiety levels dropped ridiculously fast as I was flooded with relief. And now the testing is ongoing, making sure everything is working smoothly, readily for everyone.
So a huge shout out to Stuart, Jess, and all the others at Click Studios. I am so thankful for your brains, your laughter, and for working into the night with me.
One of the great things about creating a website to give our work away is that we get to tell the story of the project and the people behind it. Projects like these are never the work of one person or even one organisation – many hands and heads has been involved in its creation.
While Click has helped us create the website through which to give the Speed portal away, many others have been involved in creating something worthwhile to give away – the main ones are listed below. Take time to check there websites and what they do.
Posted in Change, ICT4D, Progress, Resources
Tagged Click Studios, ELRHA, Faces of Another World, frontlineSMS, Giving away, HIF, Humanitarian innovation Fund, SMAP, ushahidi, World Vision
Late last week I mentioned that we are in the process of finalising a website through which we will share everything we have learned to date, including the code, through this Speed Evidence project. There have been lots of frustrations and serious things we have had to work through along every bend in the road, but there have also been fun things like seeing people’s faces light up when they see their SMS appear on a map in real-time, when people connect an observation of a staff member with a piece of feedback from a community member in a visual way, etc.
In a small way, another fun thing for me was the process of designing the new website with the team at Click Studios. One part of this one creating a quick and easy logo – they came up with four, can you guess which one we choose?
A couple days ago, Seth Godin posted this note on his blog:
Analytics without action
Don’t measure anything unless the data helps you make a better decision or change your actions.
If you’re not prepared to change your diet or your workouts, don’t get on the scale.
I found it a poignant reminder given the work we are doing with Speed and the various other information management projects I am involved in. It is great principle and question to be constantly asking – perhaps we all should pause, take stock of the data we are measuring and ask if we are actually prepared to change our actions or decisions because of it. If we’re not, let’s stop collecting the data – everyone will be thankful.