Ideas for good: Loyalty cards and IT as mental health therapy

The latest round of ideas for good covers education, health, retail and more...

Practical suggestions

Nirosh Shivantha writes in about loyalty cards in my wallet. ‘In Sri Lanka there are dozens of loyalty cards issued by various supermarket chains, clothing stores and they stores different types of points and the schemes are different,’ he writes. ‘My suggestion: Consolidating the process, instead of multiple cards, introducing a single card which can store all the loyalty points under different vendors. This is a really doable solution I think.’

David Black uses the web for 'self-learning' but finds there are problems when retrieving information at a level that is understandable. He outlines them at http://dtinblack.github.io/next-web-challenge/

Utopian visions

Kenneth Allen comments on information definition. ‘Define information as it is used,’ he says, ‘not as data to be held in a data store. This means the same information may be defined differently for different uses. These may be authenticated, or even produced, by business personnel making the business actively involved in the development of systems.

‘Integrate the different uses of information to create a generic definition of the information. This provides the requirements for a database and the conversion from a central store to a users’ presentation required form; these processes may be automated.

‘Define business processes using a language that is understandable by business personnel. These process definitions can be automatically converted to software code.

‘Define the information these processes use and produce. A repository exists to hold the knowledge enabling decisions to be made to improve the efficacy of the organisation and cope with all types of evolution. There will be considerable savings in the development of information systems with the surety that they meet the needs of the organisation. 

IT as therapy

Andrew Shaw wants to promote mental health and wellbeing for the community and organise an initiative to help people with depression and mental health problems develop IT and coding skills to help them cope with depression and find an outlet to dealing with it in a positive way.   

‘Not only will it help them gain confidence and feel better,’ he says, ‘it will also introduce some people who may not otherwise be exposed to the IT industry and give them opportunities to develop themselves and open up avenues for careers with them.   

‘This initiative could also have a mentoring service, where the mentors encourage people with depression and mental health problems to develop skills and support them. This will also reduce loneliness, their conditions from deteriorating and improve their wellbeing. This is inspired by an event close to my heart.’

College student chapters

Andrew also suggests that, following the continuing success of the BCS Student Chapters for universities, to launch a similar service to college students. These college student chapters could be linked to universities, and students can run them with mentoring from lecturers, uni chapters and professionals. This will help further develop their knowledge and experience of IT by organising events, hackathons, workshops and roundtable discussions. The college student chapters can also benefit greatly from increasing diversity in the IT industry by encouraging more people from all walks of life, including women, people with disabilities and people from different backgrounds, to further their careers during and after college by undertaking apprenticeships, attending university and going on placements to develop themselves. They could also encourage people from all walks of life to attend IT courses at colleges.

Feel inspired?

Any of those ideas push your buttons? Or inspire further thoughts? Share your ideas.

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The Echoes blog showcases the best of the conversations on the BCS Voices debate platform.

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