A personal message from Iris Lapinski, Apps for Good Founder and CEO, on the next chapter for Apps for Good
We rise by lifting others.
When the Apps for Good journey started in spring 2009 little did I know how long my journey in it would be nor how far it would take me. What I did know was that CDI’s model in Brazil and Paulo Freire’s student-centered pedagogy were powerful: they were transforming young people’s lives in multiple ways. By late summer 2009 and nearly 50 interviews and site visits across the UK later – with youth and community workers, non-profit leaders and many young people – I had given our pilot project the name “Apps for Good”. We pivoted the technology education focus from basic ICT skills to mobile app development – which was all the rage at the time with Apple’s App Store being less than 12 months old and Google’s Android Market (now Google Play) just about to launch. At that stage, we didn’t plan to be in schools, have an Expert community of industry volunteers, nor run any competitions and Awards; all these things we discovered along the way.
Fast forward to 2019 and over the past ten years we have reached more than 140,000 students in thousands of schools mostly in the UK, but also in Portugal and Arkansas. Today we are part of a small group of organisations leading the next wave of technology education in schools – machine learning and AI education empowering young people to solve problems they are passionate about. We are the only hands-on digital career education provider offered to English schools as part of the Career & Enterprise Company virtual wallet programme. And we are part of a new four year long Girls in Computing research programme funded by the Department for Education and lead by Raspberry Pi Foundation, BIT and STEM Learning. We keep evolving who we are and as a result have managed to retain a strong funding and corporate partner base.
At the core of our success has been a small, highly dedicated professional team of 15 people, plus our partners at CDI Portugal and Coding Arkansas’ Future, supported by an inspiring board of three trustees and eleven council members. Since 2012 the top priority of our annual operating priorities has been investing in the team as the engine that allows us to execute our work. Many of the nearly 60 people who have worked for Apps for Good in the UK over the past decade have moved on to great roles in technology, education and policy-making.
I have known for a while that I need to keep progressing, too. Since 2014 I have been based in Berlin working remotely, mostly from home.
This transition has been easy for me as the founder, since I know how strong the Apps for Good team is today. So I would like to announce that from June onwards Heather Picov will replace me as CEO when she returns from maternity leave. Sophie Ball will become Director of Business Development, Engagement & Communications and Natalie Moore will be Director of Education, Products & Events. I will complete the handover with this dedicated and highly experienced executive team until the end of August and will continue to be closely involved in a non-executive capacity onwards. In September I will be joining Junior Achievement (JA) Europe in an international role focused on innovation and technology based in Berlin (and Brussels).
You can meet me in person on 18th June at the annual Apps for Good Awards at Skills Matter in London where we celebrate the achievements of our students, educators and Expert industry volunteers. I will be in the far back watching them on stage: smiling a bit too much and feeling very proud.