Working for Outlandish – a thriving digital agency and worker co-op – and then becoming a member, has made a massive difference to Amil Vasishtha.
It’s changed his approach to life, his purpose and how he wants to make a difference in the world.
A project manager at the tech co-op, Amil joined Outlandish after completing training with Coders and Founders, a community interest company that started him on his journey to a more ethical career. Prior to that he worked in cost law (the negotiation of legal case costs) – and making the transition to co-op tech sector was a move he’s happy to have made.
“It was the best thing I ever did. Working in cost law didn’t make me feel good. I was working for people with lots of money, trying to save them even more money. Coming to Outlandish was like a 180 degree turnaround. It’s completely different. I had a voice from the moment I walked in the door. We’re all about looking out for our workers, making sure everyone’s voice is heard and that they’re happy to work on projects they believe in.”
Creators of web apps, data dashboards and monitoring tools, Outlandish have an ethical focus, so they’re particular about the clients they work with, as Amil explains:
“We don’t work with companies that treat their workers badly, and try to work with organisations like charities and universities as much as possible. We need to know they are like minded, share our ethos and create social impact.”
One such client – whose project Amil is particularly proud of being involved in – is the Smart School Councils Community (SSCC), a charity that aims to make school councils more fun, inclusive and powerful.
School councils traditionally comprise a few pupils who meet to discuss issues and identify changes that can be made. A smart school council, however, involves every single pupil in the school, giving each one of them an opportunity to make positive changes in their school.
Outlandish built a class meeting tool for all schools to use – to help pupils manage class discussions and vote on school-wide decisions. It’s a bespoke web application to make the experience smoother, and it enables schools to gather their own specific analytic statistics, such as class meeting performance and meeting frequency.
“Our tool helps pupils practice democracy and get their voice heard. They’re asked questions and can discuss and vote on them. They can take away actions and responsibilities for making a change in their school. It’s for the society, the future and building young people’s confidence.”
Outlandish are also the founders of Co Tech – the network of UK technology co‑operatives striving for positive change.
“One thing I love about working at Outlandish is being part of Co Tech. At our first network meeting, I met people from tech co-ops all around the country. We talked about how we could collaborate, not compete – find work for each other and work together. It was inspiring, and it’s at the forefront of what I want to see happen for co-ops,” Amil says.
“Being part of a co-op has impacted my life a lot. I had a different idea of what I wanted for myself six years ago. Now, being a member of a co-op I feel I want to do more for the community and society. It’s rewarding using technology to make a difference for good – and I want to keep on doing it.”