Learning from the field – How google applications can support your social enterprise

Between the 15th-22nd of October 2018 we combined resources with ‘Find My Charity’ to execute the annual Get Online Week at Brandon Estate. The campaign was co-designed with the council’s library and successfully delivered through Brandon Library. The planned goal of the campaign was to get out and encourage people to get online and try-1-thing for the first time, on location, we were met with demands for:

  1. Business Development: Usually transforming a hands-on passion and interest through digital skills;
  2. Sustainability: How to efficiently employ digital for daily life and living;
  3. Support with Universal Credit: E.g. Digital Verification and Completing Application Forms.

All of which are catered for in this year’s (2019) social inclusion strategy at Online Centres Network. Since Get Online Week 2018, I’ve have helped 10 local people to transform their passion into a form of business or lifelong learning model. One of the ways I do this is through the accessible, agile, connective and ubiquitous attributes inherent via Google Applications for Work.

Google Applications for work

Large organisations, such as Morrisons, and smaller organisations alike, such as Curves, employ Google Apps for Work for a part-of, or the entirety of, their operation. Whether it’s for personal use or entrepreneurship, Google, through functions such as ‘Sites’, makes it easy for people to create secure landing pages with the capacity to support intranet, team projects, and more, while developing the local economy at the same time. Google is intuitive and it is easy to use, you do not need coding or technical experience to introduce a landing page that encapsulates your applications and contacts. Furthermore, the most recent update adds more interactive qualities making the product/s pretty intuitive and fun to use.

Applications available through Google include: Forms; Slides; Email; Spreadsheets; video calling; and Cloud storage – all of which are useful for developing social entrepreneurs.

For instance:

“Firefighters use Hangouts at the scene of fires to communicate to central command, so the chief fire officer doesn’t have to drive to the scene”

— Neil Arnold CIO, Northumberland County Council

Why I employ Google Applications for Work

  1. Connectedness: Gmail was the primary email address of 60% of our learners at IFB Gaming. The other learners either employed Gmail secondarily or had access to the provider through their mobile and smartphone device/s.
  2. Ease of use: According to a 2018 Radicati Group study, there will be more than 3.8 billion email users in 2019, this basically means 100 million users more than in 2017.
  3. Accessibility: Google has everything a learner needs to deliver entrepreneurship and hone entrepreneurial skills. It is available through one package that seamlessly works from most devices (Computer, tablet, gaming consoles, and smartphones). Google also integrates with Blogger and you can create posts and promote local events and adverts via Apps for Work.
  4. Local Economy Growth: Google Maps and Local Guides present unique geographical advantages for social prescribing and local economy growth and development. Example Project: Brandon Estate in London’s borough of Southwark – From Rachel Leigh Hall to Community Brandon. Using Google Maps and Local guide we can reach and engage more people locally, create new awareness, and introduce new community-centered branding programs.
  5. Advertising: According to Google, up to 60% of advertising are now consumed via an online medium due to technology-adoption and multi-tasking. As an advertising platform, Google is highly recommended by many professionals and it has a Google academy to aid continuous learning and improvements. I particularly like the location-based targeting function for marketing and advertising.
  6. Existing and Future Email Contacts: Transforming a Gmail profile from personal to business or enterprise means transforming your Gmail contact list. This can be through re-targeting or completely new bottom-up strategies (E.g. Email Marketing) using the ‘contact’ function.

Final Word

There is ‘no one size that fits all’, and Google Apps for Work is not the only one of its kind out there. The impact the choice of provider ultimately has on a website-based deliverable really does depend on the theme and the individual’s goals. Every provider has its own advantage: For instance, while I do recommend Google for small community projects and for beginners, I prefer, and often will recommended WordPress for blogging projects.

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