Microsoft Ireland Alliance for Good Launches to Find Technological Solutions to Societal Issues

Aideen Cardiff

Aideen Cardiff

Director of Enterprise Consulting Services at Microsoft Ireland

Read Time, 3 min.

Collaborating with Industry Partners to Innovate for Social Good

After six months of learning, researching, working and fun together, I am delighted to share the outcomes of some great work that Microsoft has been involved with here in Ireland. I am incredibly proud of what’s been achieved by this community and I’m excited about the possibilities for our partners this year – the Environmental Protections Agency through My Waste and also the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland – to see how they may leverage the work of the Microsoft Alliance for Good into the future.

The Microsoft Alliance for Good was formed in 2020 and involves representatives from both private and public body organisations including AIB, Aptiv, Bank of Ireland, DCU, ESB, Kingspan, Mayo County Council, Novartis, RTE, Tata Consultancy Services, The Houses of the Oireachtas, and Microsoft Ireland.

Together these members selected two key themes – sustainability and connectivity through Covid-19 – and chose two organisations to work with: The Parkinson’s Association of Ireland and My Waste, through the Environmental Protections Agency.

The group’s innovative approach involved design thinking, research-based sessions and hackathons. Interestingly, the most beneficial output of the initiative was the collaborative process which proved invaluable in the creation of ideas, planning, and design and development – all based on the diverse capabilities, skills and experience of the team.

Many organisations have found innovation while remote working very challenging, however the team used this opportunity to find a method for driving innovation in a virtual setting. They embraced collaborative technology with regular meetings in smaller groups, provided easy access to subject matter experts, used the power of research, as well as shared experiences and learning. The process resulted in greater team building and the development of some breakthrough concepts.

We had some powerful testimonials from the people involved in this community of practice. There were many learnings from working with the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland, but one that really struck a chord, was just how emotional the members of the association were when they saw the technology in action. Using artificial intelligence, for example, to analyse a patient’s handwriting over time and to record a speech diary with mood analysis really resonated with the team as a great example of how this advanced technology could enhance the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease.

I’d like to thank everyone who was involved over the past number of months – it’s been inspiring to see the innovative process come to life and I wish the teams at Parkinson’s Association of Ireland and My Waste every success in deriving the full value of the learnings, connections made, and the potential that this proof of technology can empower and deliver in the future for their organisations.

Finally, on a personal note, I would also like to thank all of the fantastic contributors, who have represented the organisations in our community. From day one, you have continuously given of your precious time, have brought your expertise, energy, ideas and lots of fun (even accepting the challenge of jumping into the sea in December) for the benefit of all and in support of making a real difference.

Really excited about what we can achieve together, looking forward to Alliance for Good 2021!

To learn more about My Waste go to MyWaste.ie.

To find out more about the work of the Parkinson’s Association of Ireland click here.

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