We often get applicants approaching us who are seeking to develop a new tool or platform to help their organisation achieve their mission. One of the most frequent questions we ask them is ‘what research have you done into existing platforms or solutions with similar functionality?’ While there may be a need for a new platform that fulfils an unforeseen problem or issue, there are a wealth of tools already available for organisations to use – often at little or no cost. mySociety’s code is available for use, so that organisations across the world can set up their own sites to provide parliamentary information or a problem reporting platform. VOTO Mobile, meanwhile, cater to organisations wanting to use basic mobile technologies to reach their constituents or users, as can be seen in this video:
The message of all this work, though, is that if you are looking to develop a new tool, please make sure you’ve done a thorough search of existing technologies – if someone has already built it, there’s often little to be achieved by building an almost exact replica from scratch.