Vodafone Mobile for Good: Business, Technology & Social Entrepreneurship

di Filippo Addarii

What are a corporate leader, myself and a geek doing in the same picture? There is no secret plot but Fay Arjomandi (The Vodafone Americas Foundation) and Filippo Addarii (The Young Foundation) are awarding the founder of the  anti-corruption app Bribespot.

I recently had the pleasure of taking part in Vodafone Foundation Mobile for Good Europe Awards (December 2013). The Vodafone Foundation, the charitable arm of Vodafone, awarded the teams behind four new Android and iOS applications €30,000 each. These awards help support transformational apps designed to improve people’s lives and the delivery of public services. At the same time, they provide a platform for social innovators and entrepreneurs to show their creativity and ability.

Vodafone Foundation is doing an amazing job for recognizing  these innovators and entrepreneurs and creating an alliance that can transform public services.

I know another story from my home town Bologna (Italy) which demonstrates the power of technology when it is put in the hands of people committed to public good.

In 1978, Franco Pannuti, an oncologist at the hospital of Bologna, founded ANT, an association providing palliative care for patients with terminal cancer. Dr Pannuti realized that his patients wanted to die peacefully in their homes, with their families, rather than in an institution. It was a more compassionate approach for patients and their families and, at the same time, it saved medical costs. The cost of assisting a terminal patient assisted at home is understood to be around €30 a day, compared with €400 a day in a hospital.

Since the ‘80s, ANT has grown to employ 250 professional staff members, including doctors and nurses, and has provided in-home care to more than 100,000 terminally ill patients in ten regions in Italy.

Coordinating doctors and nurses to deliver care at patients’ homes presented a huge logistical and data-sharing challenge that made it hard for ANT to fulfill its mission…until Francesco, son of Franco and an electronic engineer, developed VitaEver – “Life forever.” This standards-based software that runs in the cloud connects ANT staff to patients and their medical information via smartphones communicating with a centralized database.

Thanks to VitaEver:

– Doctors and nurses can organize their visits to patients for maximum efficiency. – They can access information on a patient as they arrive at the patient’s home. – Patients have access to their own data and can update it in real time. – ANT delivers savings: this year it reduced calls by 40,000 and paper and printing use by700,000 sheets. – Similar organizations have adopted ANT; it can easily be adapted to deal with 20 to 6,000 patients.

It’s the creed of The Young Foundation – my new employer – to foster open innovation and user empowerment, as Franco and Francesco have done. Together The Young Foundation and Vodafone Foundation are proud to recognize innovators whose disruptive technologies make it easier for social and humanitarian organizations like ANT to succeed in their missions.


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