The Human Impact: Advancing Our Purpose

Thought Leadership

By Scott Michaels | December 18, 2021
Four people at table brainstorming

Understanding people’s needs is often the first step to building life-changing solutions for users, on and offline. This way of thinking is sewn into Apply Digital’s DNA: to transform possibilities for people by solving complex problems with well-executed solutions for our team, our clients, and their customers.

But what does that mean on a deeper level?

Well, it means a lot of things. It means considering accessibility in the products we design and build, not just when it is a mandate to do so. It means helping educate our clients that inclusivity in design and product isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes for a more profitable business. It means knowing our staff and the kind of projects that matter to them personally, and ensuring they get to work on them. Pairing that passion with the project does wonders for the quality of work and aligned purpose.

High-speed delivery of possibilities

Take our work with Shaw, for example. This Canadian company wanted to disrupt the highly competitive telecommunications industry by taking the plunge into a new line of business at breakneck speed with Shaw Mobile.

With only three big telecommunications companies and limited competition, Canadians pay some of the world’s highest rates for mobile plans. Shaw wanted to play a part in changing that — Apply Digital was thrilled to go along with them on the ride.

We embedded ourselves into the Shaw team throughout the five-month project, helping to overhaul their internal processes and onboarding their team to an agile system that enabled quick work, a human-centric focus, and innovative thinking to thrive alongside the complexities of this new venture. We brought it all together using Contentful’s headless CMS platform to help simplify the build.

A mother and son sit on the couch smiling at a cellphone.

But most importantly, our work with Shaw introduced affordable mobile plans into an increasingly expensive market, which will reduce monthly costs for families without sacrificing the quality of the service. And during a time when remote working, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing became our norm, our work with Shaw became even more critical.

Providing families with an economically-friendly option for their telecommunications provider makes human connection even more possible for more people. This project allowed us to deliver on our commitment to building solutions grounded in access and focused on people.

Making a difference, inside and out

We empower this commitment within Apply Digital, too. Our annual Hackathon for Good, an initiative driven by our employees, encourages us to collaboratively work on issues we care about. In a one-day competitive dash, teams work together to ideate a product addressing an unmet need for a non-profit organization tackling a social cause. With the winning team developing and gifting a full-scale digital solution to a non-profit, our people get to work on impactful projects, both for us and the community the solution will serve.

Raising PIRS from manual to automated

In 2019, our Hackathon for Good’s winning product idea benefited The Pacific Immigrant Resources Society (PIRS), an organization providing essential programming for newcomer women and their children. Their Pop-up Child Care program tackles the need for occasional child care services and reduces the high unemployment rate for immigrant women.

Before our involvement, the Pop-up Child Care program was plagued by an arduous, manual booking process that made it difficult for parents to enroll and program administrators to assign and organize caregivers. As a social enterprise, this program needed to find fiscal sustainability.

Colored wooden alphabet blocks on the floor

PIRS told us that they needed a more cost and resource-effective booking system, and we knew automation was the answer. Our work involved adapting existing digital tools into a customized booking system that enables events, non-profits, and businesses to easily reserve PIRS’ services to provide affordable on-demand, on-site child care to immigrant families. We’ve also pledged to cover the booking system’s licensing fees for the foreseeable future.

Simplifying their booking process allows PIRS to dedicate their much-needed time and resources directly towards child care and not sorting out the logistics. Our team was honored to strengthen their efforts in empowering immigrant women to pursue career and educational opportunities.

Supporting menstruators twelve months of the year

Then came Twelve, our 2020 Hackathon for Good winner. A Toronto-based non-profit that provides menstrual products to marginalized communities, Twelve aims to restore dignity to menstruators and eliminate period stigma.

The communities Twelve serves are growing — scaling up their initiative was a no-brainer. So we’re building them a web-based application that enables organizations to request and donate products with ease and allows Twelve to efficiently monitor the products going in and out.

We saw how time-consuming it was for Twelve to count and track stock by hand. By automating administrative processes, volunteers will no longer get stuck staring at an excel sheet. Instead, they can be on the ground directly distributing and collecting donations — a more efficient and valuable use of their time.

A person picks up two cardboard packing boxes.

And the web app makes requesting menstrual products easier for organizations, too. They’ll be able to arrange for deliveries, view available stock, and filter through items to find what they need. We’ll continue to build out more functionality post-MVP, with options such as recurring requests, which will further streamline the process as organizations strive to support their local communities.

The more Twelve’s technology capabilities improve, the more people they’ll reach. And that’s really the end goal: to help as many people as possible, both within Twelve and beyond in our communities.

Anything’s possible

“Transforming possibilities for people” aren’t just words on our website, they’re our purpose. And they drive us to deliver work that will positively impact lives. Whether that’s helping our clients disrupt their industry in the name of affordability or helping organizations make a difference in our communities, this is who we are.

If you’re looking to bring something new to the world, let’s do it together. Reach out to us at hello@applydigital.com.

Co-Written by Jaime Chang