Tech For Good feat. Tiffany Maddox

Introducing Tiffany Maddox CMO at Delib, Here, Tiffany shares the story behind Delib’s inception, the challenges of creating tech for good, and the evolving landscape of purpose-driven work.


Mike @ ADLIB: Can you please introduce yourself, what your business does and what makes your business and offering unique and a force for good?

I’m Tiffany and I’m the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) at Delib. We build software tools that are used by the public sector to do consultation and engagement. Often people think of democracy as a slightly abstract concept where you get to vote every 4 years or so, but in fact there are thousands of decisions being made every day that invite input from citizens. From the big important stuff like Public Inquiries to every day decisions that happen on a local level. Our tools are designed to help bring those processes into the light and make it easy for people to participate and have their say. The relationship between those who govern and those who are governed is evolving. Our platforms make it easier for you as a citizen to be involved in policy decisions and the design of public services.

Mike @ ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the origin of your business and Service / Product?

Delib was founded over 20 years ago, and since then has really grown and matured. The company’s origins are rooted in political satire with a heavy dose of playfulness. We started out making flash games and other interactive and fun digital things but two decades later our tools have been used by 600+ government customers to do 75,000+ engagement activities and collected 9 million+ responses. So it’s definitely been on a bit of a journey, but the focus is the same. Engage citizens on things that matter to them and do it in an accessible way so as many people as possible can take part. No matter how serious the work is there’s still a spark of disruption and curiosity at Delib. People working in government have suffered too long with digital tools that aren’t good enough and we’re helping change that.

Mike @ ADLIB: Can you share some tech challenges or barriers you had to overcome to create a Product / Service offering with potential, whilst remaining ‘for good’?

At the core we’re just here to use technology to make visible and necessary change so ‘for good’ is baked into the purpose. We’re a for-profit social venture, working for the triple goals of profit, people and planet. Part of that means we’re non political, non techno utopian and we are mindful and thoughtful about what we choose to develop. Profit, or innovation for the sake of it has never been the goal which is why our products have been co-designed and co-funded by our customers. We love seeing how they’re used and customers are always surprising us with inventive ways to use the tools and engage citizens on issues that matter. So I think being ‘for good’ for us is lead by identifying what people need, and developing solutions mindfully.

Mike @ ADLIB: Why do you think is it a growing trend for tech professionals to seek out opportunities to work in purpose-driven businesses?

During the early days of the COVID lockdowns many people suddenly had a lot of time to think, which seemed to spark a bit of an awakening. When you’ve been existing in a repeating pattern for years it’s rare to get the chance to stop and reflect. That time was like a circuit breaker for so many people and I think we all got a better sense of what’s most important. It’s easy for to stay in a job you don’t like, working for a company you aren’t invested in when you can’t see an alternative.

When you get a moment to stop, it’s like the fog lifts and everything quietens. A lot of people I know had moments of existential crisis at that point, but many have pivoted towards purpose, or developed their skillset, or leaned into the things that truly make them happy. For me personally, I certainly felt a shift. I had spent 10 years working at a creative agency for giant global clients (and had an enormous amount of fun) but there were some days where it started to feel a bit meaningless. It’s hard to get excited about selling more consumer goods during a climate crisis, or feel good about creative work that is ultimately not doing anything useful but supporting the profit goals of a major corporation. I don’t think that anyone on their deathbed says “I really wish I’d done more to increase shareholder value”.

Mike @ ADLIB: What has been the key thing you’ve learned about ‘tech for good’ and your target audience specifically?

Before working with Delib, I thought of government as a faceless organisation that you could shake your fist at when you are unhappy about decisions that effect you. In meeting our customers it is abundantly clear that they are mostly just good people, doing hard work that they believe in. We shouldn’t forget that tech is still (mostly) built and run by human beings. Humans have flaws and biases, but ultimately I think that most of us are simply trying our best.

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CTO/Leads, Developers, GreenTech

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Mike Harley