Social movements in a time of pandemic: The case of Tech4Covid19 in Portugal

Movimientos sociales en tiempos de pandemia: El caso de Tech4Covid19 en Portugal

  • Fernando Almeida University of Porto, ISPGAYA & INESC TEC
Keywords: COVID-19, innovation, startups, technology, volunteering, crowdfunding


The COVID-19 pandemic had a strong impact on Portuguese society and raised the need for new technological projects to help frontline professionals in the fight against coronavirus and its effects on the local population and economic agents. It is in this context that the Tech4Covid19 movement was founded by Portuguese technological startups. This initiative brings together more than 5000 volunteers and offers technological solutions in the areas of health, education, and local economy. This study aims to understand and explore the organizational model and dynamics of Tech4Covid19 through the adoption of qualitative methods based on primary and secondary sources that have allowed the movement to be explored from multiple perspectives. The findings reveal that Tech4Covid internally promotes the development of its own projects, but also accepts projects proposed by external entities that are aligned with the principles and values of the movement. The organization of the movement is supported by autonomous self-managed teams regarding each project, and there is a coordination group responsible for the aggregate management of the various initiatives and for establishing communication with partners, the media, and social networks.



La pandemia de COVID-19 tuvo un fuerte impacto en la sociedad portuguesa y planteó la necesidad de nuevos proyectos tecnológicos para ayudar a los profesionales de primera línea en la lucha contra el coronavirus y sus efectos en la población local y los agentes económicos. En este contexto, se fundó el movimiento Tech4Covid19 por parte de startups tecnológicas portuguesas. Esta iniciativa reúne a más de 5.000 voluntarios y ofrece soluciones tecnológicas en las áreas de salud, educación y economía local. Este artículo pretende comprender y explorar el modelo organizativo y la dinámica de Tech4Covid19 mediante la adopción de métodos cualitativos basados en fuentes primarias y secundarias que han permitido explorar el movimiento desde múltiples perspectivas. Los resultados revelan que Tech4Covid promueve internamente el desarrollo de sus propios proyectos, pero también acepta proyectos propuestos por entidades externas que estén alineados con los principios y valores del movimiento. La organización del movimiento se apoya en equipos autónomos auto gestionados con respecto a cada proyecto, y existe un grupo de coordinación responsable de la gestión agregada de las distintas iniciativas y de establecer la comunicación con los medios de comunicación y las redes sociales.

Palabras clave: COVID-19; innovación; startups; tecnología; voluntariado; crowdfunding.




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How to Cite
Almeida, F. (2021). Social movements in a time of pandemic: The case of Tech4Covid19 in Portugal. European Public & Social Innovation Review, 6(2), 51-63. Retrieved from
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