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Case study

PwC IT Services pro bono for Marek Kamiński Foundation – Life Plan Academy

 

Our role:

 

PwC IT Services decided to invest its employees pro bono in the implementation of the project for the Marek Kamiński Foundation. Not only does the project support an important community cause, it is also a form of development for the employees involved.

 

Client: 

 

Marek Kamiński Foundation - Life Plan Academy

 

Country:

 

Poland

 

Social and business context

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digitisation of most industries in Poland and in the world. Unfortunately, NGOs have lagged far behind in this process. Not only was there a lack of technological skills in the community organisation environment, but also an idea of how in-person help for people in need could be transformed to digital channels.

However, the threat of a pandemic caused a wave of aid in the community – face masks were sewn on a mass scale, catering assistance was organised for medical services and financial aid was given to hospitals. PwC employees also took a number of initiatives to support the fight against COVID-19 and its effects. The PwC IT Services team took the initiative to provide pro bono support to a selected community organisation in the area of digital solutions.

About the foundation 

The Marek Kamiński Foundation runs the LifePlan Academy programme, intended for young people who lack support, motivation and self-confidence, which may result in a sense of exclusion or turn into depression… The foundation has run a programme every year, mainly by organising motivation camps. Due to the 2020 pandemic, LifePlan Academy’s form of operation became impossible. The Foundation sought alternative ways of working with children, as well as opportunities to increase the scale of operation, and therefore respond to the current needs of children and environmental conditions.

 

Challenge

PwC IT Services decided to invest its employees pro bono in the implementation of the project for the Marek Kamiński Foundation. Not only does the project support an important community cause, it is also a form of development for the employees involved.

LifePlan Academy is a series of workshops for children and teenagers, which is the essence of the Pole Method, developed by Marek Kamiński and described in the book ‘Power4Change’. A mobile application based on the My Pole method, which teaches how to set goals, how to achieve them and how to learn from failures, turned out to be one of the most effective ways to reach out with the programme and help teenagers. The main target group is young people aged 14-17 from all over the world. From the beginning, the application is to be free, and in the next stage also bilingual (Polish and English). 

The application aims to help children achieve their goals in five steps, but also teach them to learn from failure, develop soft skills and believe in themselves. It serves to demonstrate that any goal can be achieved, yet it is not the goal but the route that is most important in all of this.

"‘The challenge for the PwC team was to translate Marek Kamiński's vision and his educational method into the specific technical requirements of the application, with emphasis on not only its educational value, but also on entertainment. Both parties to the project had to step out of their comfort zones, which gave us the best space to develop our skills."

Artur Kotow, Microsoft Practice Director at PwC IT Services

In a short period of time, groups of willing people from various PwC departments with different skill sets gathered together to identify needs and define a vision for the children’s app.

Project work was not defined by the rigid framework of a commercial contract (deadlines, budget), but only by the free time and willingness of team members to engage. We worked in ‘best effort’ mode, which meant that the team could shrink and change depending on the commercial projects that were starting up (however, none of the members wanted to give up their parts, even if it meant sacrificing private time).

Scope of cooperation

Apart from a dedicated project manager, the following people participated in the work:

  • Four business analysts who defined non-functional and functional requirements, application maintenance aspects and gamification elements

  • Two UX designers who created the basic product of our work, i.e. a prototype in Adobe XD

  • Three graphic designers

  • Two additional people to support focus workshops and usability testing

The total commitment of everyone amounted to over 1,300 hours of volunteer work.

We conducted a series of workshops to create a vision of the application and its most important functionalities – the MVP. Functional and non-functional requirements were defined. Several versions of the application prototypes and the configurator for exercises and tasks in the application were created.

Another series of focus workshops with young people and two series of usability testing with children verified our assumptions and way of thinking. We created interesting games for young people, but each direct contact with them ended with a list of improvements and changes that we had to introduce to our concept to make it more attractive for the younger generation.

Finally, the scope of pro bono work ended with complete documentation – ready input for application coding.

“‘Our team had a unique opportunity to work in an environment where a common goal, trust and internal discipline were the driving force of the project. We were able to experiment with project organisation, workshop structure planning, remote work and focus workshops. All those involved outdid themselves in improving their work output and looking for new and better ideas."

Natalia Brzezińska, Project Manager at PwC IT Services.

Outcomes

Translating our project into commercial language: we carried out the discovery phase, analysis with prototyping and delivered a contribution to the RFP (i.e. application specification – its requirements, ready gamification strategy, exercise configurator and a prototype with all illustrations, graphics and motifs). Thanks to our work, our ‘client’ is ready to find a company that will build the application and launch the project. 

One of the most beautiful outcomes of the project is the relationship we have established with Marek Kamiński, the opportunity to meet and spend time with him, learn about his vision and way of thinking and approach to personal development, to faith in own abilities and to crossing own borders – this is undoubtedly the greatest reward for the people involved.

The project also resulted in each team member being proud to participate in the project with the potential to change the world of children and young people, to help those who are not helped by anyone else and to take care of aspects that schools do not talk about or teach. The availability of this app in English and its versatility can help those who do not know what to do with themselves to learn how to reach for their dreams and how not to give up – the idea is beautiful; we all deeply believe in it and we are proud to be part of it. 

“We have built a conviction among our employees that the best form of helping others is to share what we as PwC hold most valuable, namely knowledge and experience, and supporting NGOs, increasing their effectiveness and scale of operations is PwC’s support for solving key social problems.”

Paulina Koszewska, PwC CSR Manager

Social and business impact

The application makes it possible to develop self-esteem in children and adolescents, plan their dreams, reach for the unattainable and not give up, accept failures and learn from them. Marek Kamiński's vision is to reach a million people and change their situations in a positive way.

Thanks to the very close cooperation of PwC business experts and NGO employees, we influenced the knowledge and experience of the foundation itself in terms of IT projects. Thanks to this, in the future, they will be able to complete new projects faster and more efficiently. 

“‘I am very happy that the application will be ready this autumn and will do my best to support this undertaking! I believe that this application makes sense and will help and even save many lives ❤️ I’d like to thank the entire PwC team enormously – working with you is pure pleasure and a lesson for the future. 100% professionalism and commitment. We have currently nearly completed negotiations with suppliers and we hope that the application will be ready in the autumn.”

Marek Kamiński, traveller, pole conqueror and founder of the foundation
Artur Kotow

Artur Kotow

Microsoft Practice Director, PwC IT Services

Natalia Brzezińska

Natalia Brzezińska

Project Manager, PwC IT Services

Paulina Koszewska

Paulina Koszewska

Manager CSR, PwC Poland

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