Chapter: ‘Harness Technology for Social Good’ A Grand Challenge for Social Work

Abstract: The Grand Challenges for Social Work (GCSW) initiative was launched in 2015. One of the 12 original GCSW was Harness Technology for Social Good. The “tech” Grand Challenge was unique among the 12 because unlike social isolation or homelessness, technology was not a problem to be solved. Rather, the challenge was to better understand and implement how the social work profession could harness technology to address the problems facing society. This chapter provides a brief overview and history of the GCSW and the tech Grand Challenge, identifies technology-related policy challenges (including equitable distribution of broadband access), and advances that have been made in the first 5-years of the GCSW tech initiative (e.g. an increase in the amount of technology-related social work scholarship). The chapter highlights how technology can exacerbate existing social and structural inequities and the responsibility that that profession has to ensure that the promise of technology is evenly distributed. The chapter ends with a look to the future of the tech Grand Challenge and its implications for social work practice, education, and scholarship.

Authors: Melanie Sage, Jonathan Singer

Chapter in The Routledge International Handbook of Digital Social Work.

Citation: López Peláez, A., & Kirwan, G. (Eds.). (2023). The Routledge International Handbook of Digital Social Work (1st ed.). Routledge.

Grand Challenges for Social Work Invites You to Go•Grander!