A new Microsoft-led programme has yielded benefits for the Parkinson's Association of Ireland and sustainability initiative My Waste, with two new concept projects designed to tackle issues of connectivity and sustainability.
The Microsoft Alliance for Good brings together people with diverse experiences and skillsets from a range of organisations use technology to solve societal challenges.
The Parkinson’s Association of Ireland project involved the design of a portal focused on providing a source of information for patients, while also allowing people living with Parkinson’s disease to easily record symptoms, diet, medication and other aspects of their daily routine.
"We think that the proof of concept for a portal that has been designed for us through this innovative process has given us the insight into something that could be hugely beneficial in helping to maintain this engagement with our clients and through the technology help us capture relevant insights and data to improve the outcomes for our clients living with this disease," said Una Anderson Ryan, Parkinson's Association of Ireland. " We are hugely grateful to the Microsoft for Good Alliance for taking on our challenge and for giving us a roadmap to a workable and practical solution."
The partnership with My Waste aimed to address sustainability aimed to identify a potential solution to help consumers avoid waste through food organisation at home. The team proposed a potential solution to help promote greater awareness of food waste prevention, through a convenient, fun and engaging application that encourages consumers to use the food they have purchased with the least food waste possible.
Irish households throw out around €700 of food each year; the country has set a target to reduce food waste by 50 per cent by 2030.
“Taking part in this community of practice has shown how this type of collaboration can help to identify potential solutions for tackling environmental challenges such as food waste,” said Pauline McDonogh from My Waste, and Prevention Officer with the Southern Region Waste Management Office.
“My Waste, the EPA and DECC were pleased to provide data and insights on the issues to inform the identification of a potential technology solution. Leveraging the collective capability of the team through an innovation process and then the creation of a Proof of Concept demonstrated the value of a collaborative approach. It also demonstrated how technology can play an important role in influencing positive behavioural change to prevent food waste and to protect our environment.”
Formed six months ago, the Microsoft Alliance for Good involved representatives from both private organisations and public bodies, including Microsoft Ireland, AIB, Aptiv, Bank of Ireland, DCU, ESB, Kingspan, Mayo County Council, Novartis, RTE, Tata Consultancy Services, and the Houses of the Oireachtas.
The members selected the two key themes – sustainability and connectivity through Covid-19 – and the organisations to work with.
"The Microsoft Alliance for Good is a special project for Microsoft and one we're very proud of, particularly as we've had to manage the process virtually," said Aideen Cardiff, Microsoft Ireland Consultancy Services. "By bringing together representatives from a variety of industry backgrounds, we challenged ourselves to solve the connectivity problem facing the Parkinson's Association of Ireland and its clients, and the significant environmental challenge of reducing food waste, which is one of the key priority areas for action in Ireland's Waste Action Plan for a Circular Economy."