Common Good First – 2017 Awardee

Best of “Community Partnerships”


Common Good first is a digital platform which will identify, showcase and connect community-led social impact projects to each other and to higher education – for research, evaluation, learning and teaching, and student engagement.

During her career researching HIV/AIDS, health development, and inequalities in health, Glasgow Caledonian University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies, noted how often communities created their own solutions to problems they confronted every day in health, well-being, education, and security. Frequently these solutions went unrecorded or were documented in unpublished reports. Some years later, it struck her that, with the ubiquity of digital tools and networks, it was now possible to capture and evaluate these initiatives and solutions. And so Common Good First was born.

Developed by Glasgow Caledonian University, Common Good First uses digital storytelling tools and a website designed to work on phones, tablets and computers, to help solution finders share their stories. Commons Good First is an innovative platform bridging the knowledge gap between communities and academia, and serves a digital hub for an academically assessed knowledge base of existing solutions that are available at no cost.

The platform, funded by the European Union and the Scottish Government, started in South Africa and will roll-out globally. A consortium of twelve institutions in Europe and South Africa will co-create digital storytelling modules with community partners alongside the mobile platform to share the stories.


Program Design

How long did it take to launch the first iteration of this program?

  • 3-6 months

How much annual funding do you receive for the program?

  • More than $15,000

The key players, strategists and supporters involved in creation and implementation include:

  • Staff
  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Community members

The program is designed to impact:

  • Faculty
  • Students
  • Community members



Common Good First was designed around number of “proof of concept” questions to evaluate from September 2015 to February 2016. These included:

  • Can community groups see the value in participating in storytelling about their projects?
  • What is the level of digital literacy in communities participating?
  • How can academics work in tandem with communities to review and evaluate the projects?
  • What does it take to run a project across two continents?

In the first iteration of Common Good First, The key drivers for participation with the platform were (a) accessing academics for research and evaluation, (b) raising the projects profile, and (c) sourcing student volunteers. Individuals part of the community groups were keen to improve their digital storytelling skills as well. Similarly, academics involved with Common Good First were impressed with the range and quality of the projects selected, sparking new research ideas and interests.


For more information, contact:

Julie Adair

Director, Digital Collaboration, Glasgow Caledonian University

[email protected]

Cordes Innovation Awards

In partnership with Cordes Foundation, Ashoka U seeks to recognize globally relevant teaching, learning, and partnership practices that may be adapted and replicated across the field.