How We’re Building Products for Purpose

Sam Chalela

Sam Chalela

Technical Principal

I’ve been reflecting on purpose and impact lately. The world is in a bit of a state, and as the hundreds of thousands of people who took to the streets for the Climate Strike demonstrated, there is a demand for a new way of doing things.

What if we, at Cogent, could be part of this change? We supported Not Business as Usual, but what if we could use the skills of our people – some of the best product, design and development minds in the city – to help founders who are driving positive social outcomes and change to achieve their goals?

Our space in Donkey Wheel House.

As a values-based business who lives in Donkey Wheel House, we have attracted like-minded businesses who appreciate our approach to building products. We’re sharing a building with the likes of The Big Issue, Climate Council and The School of Life.

This isn’t a new thought at Cogent. Over the years we’ve developed a speciality in health, social impact and a greener future, helping build products with a purpose for businesses including:

We’ve also just started a project to help monitor conditions in international detention centres in order to improve conditions and advocate for refugee rights.

In fact, we so strongly believe in a greener future that our ventures arm, Cogent Ventures, even created a joint venture to build Australia’s largest public EV charging network. In the past two years, Chargefox has processed over 50,000 EV charging sessions, and is building a network of 22 ultra-rapid charging stations around Australia, all powered by 100% renewable energy. 

This work is incredibly meaningful for the world, and our team. We want to do more to support people building products for purpose. So, we’re excited to announce a new series of events and dedicated monthly Office Hours to do just that.

Products for Purpose Breakfast Series

Inspired by the Creative Mornings lecture series, Products for Purpose is a monthly feel-good breakfast series, where we’ll be speaking to people making some of the most interesting digital products with a social or environmental impact focus.

They’ll be on the first Thursday of the month, and we’re kicking off on Thursday 7th November by talking to Amanda Robinson, Head of Innovation for Australian Red Cross. 

As part of Humanitech, Australian Red Cross is partnering with Type Human to develop a blockchain identity solution to support the onboarding and management of volunteers and staff for domestic and international mobilisation. One of the use cases they’re aiming to develop as part of the identity solution is to ensure that humanitarian workers have the necessary checks and qualifications and can be deployed quickly and safely. The solution is guided by the principles of self-sovereign identity – meaning that it is permanent, portable and private.

Products for Purpose Office Hours

Often the founders we work with in the social and environmental impact space have extensive experience in their field and know there’s a market for their digital product, but don’t know where to start with ‘the technical stuff’. 

Some have a lot of data and want to explore how that could be turned into a digital product used for good. Some have secured funding off the back of a prototype or MVP, but aren’t sure what’s next. Regardless, if you’re working on a digital product with social impact outcomes, we’re here to help.

On the 2nd Thursday of the month (so a week after the monthly breakfast event), we’re opening our doors and offering private one-on-one advisory sessions with senior people from our strategy, product, design and engineering teams. There’s no cost involved, but only 5 spots will be available each month.

The first one will be Thursday 14th November, and we know the spots will be snapped up quickly. If you’d like to meet with us, you can apply over here.


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