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Tech for good with Steven Taylor, Ayup Digital

Ayup Digital is a company very focused on the idea of promoting Tech for Good, a movement dedicated to using technology to create positive social impact on the world, the environment, and people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.  We talked to its managing director, Steven Taylor, to learn more about what Ayup is doing to change the world for the better.

After about two and a half years of running Ayup, Steven and co-founder, Mike Stephens realised it was time for a change.  The agency had just moved from Hebden Bridge to its new premises in Leeds. However, they had begun to realise that the work the company was doing to pay the bills wasn’t necessarily the work that really drove them.

“Mike and I had a heart-to-heart and we decided that the projects that we were really good at, the ones that we enjoyed and that really excited us were the projects that were not necessarily commercially driven; they were the ones driven by doing good and having a positive impact” Steven said.  So, they made a strategic change, performed a small pivot and turned Ayup in the direction of Tech for Good.

But before we get ahead of ourselves, what is Ayup?  Steven described it as “a tech for good digital product studio based in Leeds City Centre”.  The company specialises in digital projects that have social impact and work predominantly with non-profits and the public sector.

As Steven put it:  “We design and build digital products and services with a social purpose.  So we work with nonprofits, local authorities, the NHS, organisations like that, using co-design and human-centred design to help fix health and social problems.”

As an example of the kind of work Ayup does, the company has just finished creating a platform to facilitate social prescribing in London’s Royal Borough of Kingston.  If you haven’t heard of social prescribing before, it is a way of providing people with a range of physical and mental health needs with alternatives to clinical services and prescriptions.

For instance, Steven described how the platform could put people in touch with “a range of activities that might help them,” adding:  “So it might be a friendship group. It might be help with their housing and finances; it is a range of different things for different people based on their unique needs.”  This fits in well with Ayup’s heavy involvement with the Tech for Good movement.

Tech for Good at the Leeds Digital Festival

To further this, Steve is co-hosting an event at the Leeds Digital Festival alongside mHabitat. Tech for Good Leeds will be held on Thursday April 25th at Platform, and will showcase some of the great work being done using tech to solve social problems.

“There are Tech for Good events across a number of cities; in Manchester, Bristol, Bath, all over the UK, but there isn’t one in Leeds,” said Steven.  “But there’s loads of great stuff happening, around digital health in particular; lots of other socially good projects as well happening all around Leeds and Yorkshire.”

To highlight this, Steven wants to help set up regular Tech for Good events, starting at the Leeds Digital Festival.  “We basically aim to get people together to celebrate their Tech for Good projects, as well as getting people in the same room so they can network, learn from each other, talk to each other and collaborate on future projects,” he said.

It’s an event that will be interesting to many different people, and Steven certainly has high hopes in terms of attendees.  He said that he thinks the event will appeal to “charity workers, workers in the tech sector, designers, developers, project managers, technologists, funders and investors in Tech for Good projects, activists, community leaders, and basically anyone interested in hearing about any great work that’s happening in the Tech for Good sector”.

As to why he chose the Leeds Digital Festival to set up this quarterly event, for Steven that went without saying. “There’s loads of great hype around Leeds Digital Festival. It’s really well-established now. There’s no better time or place to launch the Tech for Good event than the Leeds Digital Festival, to be honest!”

With more and more companies in the City dedicating their talents to enacting positive change in the world, Tech for Good seems like it could easily take off in Leeds.  If you want to be there from the start, make sure you come along to the event on April 25th.


To find out more about the Tech for Good event head to their Meetup page

Details of all Leeds Digital Festival’s events can be found here.