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Context matters?

Recently I've been reflecting a lot about how different the role of software in the circular economy massively differs depending on context.

Working on two projects over the last few months has taught me a little about circular projects across some of the African continent:

  • Season 6 of the podcast, HappyPorch Radio has been an opportunity to speak to a small number of amazing folks about specific circular initiatives in different parts of Africa. In the final episode [1] Emily and I attempted to summarise the entire season!
  • The Footprints Africa "circular stories" project went live (beta) today [2].

The context (of different cultures, geopolitics and average level of wealth) completely changes the software we need to write - and how it is funded and then used.

This is a daunting - and fascinating - challenge.

Taking that lesson closer to home, I see some parallels in the world of small scale, local (and often non-profit) circular projects. These are vital to a successful (anti-fragile [3]) ecosystem for a future circular economy. The role of 'digital' and software here is very nuanced.

In both this local context and the widely varied African contexts, I am drawn to the role of software as part of the circular infrastructure. In practical terms that leads me to things like platforms to enable collaboration and open source to avoid duplication.



About the author

Barry O'Kane

Barry is the founder of HappyPorch. With 20 years in the web development industry as a programmer and agency owner, he has a preternatural ability to decipher the systems and processes code that holds many teams back from achieving their goals. Partners say Barry gets to the root of issues quickly and makes it downright easy to deliver good work.    

While he's unbelievably grounded, it's not uncommon to find him sailing through the trees as he paraglides his way round the world.