A guiding framework to vetting public sector technology vendors
Numerous technology-related proposals compete for attention in the philanthropic space. Approaches and themes vary, but many share an assumption that in addition to reducing inefficiency, technology can also increase equity and justice. Evaluating potential project costs and benefits is complex. Utilizing a “follow the money” approach, advocates have called on philanthropies to fund more responsibly by considering unintended and longer-term consequences of digital technology-enabled and data-driven proposals. This guiding framework was designed to inform those assessments.
What’s in the Report
This guiding framework supports thoughtful evaluation of how new digital technology-based proposals can affect the U.S. public sector, with a particular focus on their impacts on human rights, social and economic justice, and democratic values. It will benefit funders, procurement officers, and advocates evaluating proposed projects that are often framed as “tech for good,” “justice tech,” or public interest technologies.
The framework contains a list of red flags across seven categories: theory of change and value proposition; business model and funding; organizational governance, policies, and practices; product design, development, and maintenance; third-party relationships, infrastructure, and supply chain; government relationships; and community engagement. Each category includes key takeaways, hypothetical scenarios, and suggested questions, in addition to deeper dive resources for areas of interest. The framework can be used in conjunction with your current due diligence process and during multiple proposal evaluation stages.
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