Technology Salon

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a discussion at the intersection of technology and development

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  • How to Use Digital Storytelling for Better Development

    Denver | By on March 7, 2016 | Comments Off on How to Use Digital Storytelling for Better Development

    What does digital storytelling mean to you? Where do you find data? What form does your data take? Who’s your audience? How do you know what data you need? These questions were the focus of the February Technology Salon Denver held at the Posner Center for International Development. The event on Digital Storytelling brought together…

  • What Role Should Silicon Valley Play in International Development?

    San Francisco | By on January 6, 2016 | Comments Off on What Role Should Silicon Valley Play in International Development?

    December’s San Francisco Technology Salon focused on “How to connect stakeholders HERE with innovators and emerging leaders THERE?” We had an energizing conversation that covered questions like: What role should Silicon Valley be playing in international development? What can Silicon Valley learn from those on the ground? What works and when doesn’t it work? The…

  • The Potential of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships for Development

    Washington DC | By on September 18, 2015 | Comments Off on The Potential of Science, Technology, Innovation, and Partnerships for Development

    The potential for science, technology, innovation, and partnerships (STIP) to tackle, or even attempt to solve, the myriad of global development challenges we face is largely dependent on the adequate and appropriate catalysation of their respective eco-systems. These eco-systems, made up of the actors, mechanisms and institutions through which STIP solutions emerge, often need to…

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  • Why VAS Vendors Are Key to M4D Solutions

    Washington DC | By on July 29, 2015 | Comments Off on Why VAS Vendors Are Key to M4D Solutions

    The “How to Work with VAS Vendors for M4D Impact?”, Technology Salon featured a lively discussion with Vijay Sai Pratap, Julia Burchell, and Kristen Roggemann. We focused on value-added service (VAS) vendors, the third-party organizations who create, integrate, launch, and maintain mobile services outside of ‘core’ Mobile Network Operator services: voice, SMS, and data. Participants…

  • Bridging the Gender Gap in Technology by Putting Women’s and Girls’ Access to Technology First

    Washington DC | By on July 23, 2015 | Comments Off on Bridging the Gender Gap in Technology by Putting Women’s and Girls’ Access to Technology First

    At the “How Can We Bridge Gender Gaps and Increase Women and Girls Access to Technology?” Technology Salon in Washington, D.C., leaders in various fields came together to discuss data and initiatives aimed to bridge the gender gaps in technology, with lead discussants Shireen Santosham, Revi Sterling, and Elise Young. I was fortunate enough to…

  • How To Improve the Use of Technology in Development

    London | By on May 26, 2015 | Comments Off on How To Improve the Use of Technology in Development

    In a world where 6 billion people have access to a phone, yet only 4.5 billion have access to a toilet, it is pertinent to ask how technological innovation can meet the needs of those living in poverty. At the How Can We Do Technology for Development Better? Technology Salon at ThoughtWorks in London, Amber…

  • 6 Considerations for Successful Serious Games for Development

    Bangkok | By on April 30, 2015 | Comments Off on 6 Considerations for Successful Serious Games for Development

    The inaugural Technology Salon in Bangkok on April 30th explored whether mobile games can really help to improve development outcomes. Lead discussants included: Sowirin Chuanprapun of UNESCO, which has been exploring the use of gamification to enhance its broader programs, including the release of Sai Fah – The Flood Fighter, a mobile-based game that they…

  • New Technology To Improve Disaster Management

    San Francisco | By on April 28, 2015 | Comments Off on New Technology To Improve Disaster Management

    At the April Technology Salon San Francisco, the discussion moderator, Aaron Mason, welcomed everyone and quickly focused the thought leaders from across the technology and development fields on the issue at hand: How Can New Technologies Improve Disaster Response? At the heart of the initial conversation was the recent American Red Cross report: A Vision…

  • Views on Technology and Domestic Structural Discrimination

    Brooklyn | By on March 10, 2015 | Comments Off on Views on Technology and Domestic Structural Discrimination

    I had a chance to spend a morning last week at a roundtable discussion on technology and structural discrimination, as part of the Technology Salon events. The conversation brought together activists, organizers, technologists, and few international development types like myself, though many in the room blurred those boundaries. Technology provided a filter for the discussion,…

  • How can ICTs improve Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)?

    London | By on March 3, 2015 | Comments Off on How can ICTs improve Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)?

    “Don’t let the tech wag the MEL dog.” This quote sums up the conversation from the London Tech Salon focused on “How can ICTs improve Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL)?” Essentially it means that when exploring the applicability of ICT we have to ensure we start from what MEL is setting out to achieve and…

  • Technology, Teaching, and Learning: A DFID Review of ICT4Edu Evidence

    London | By on February 19, 2015 | Comments Off on Technology, Teaching, and Learning: A DFID Review of ICT4Edu Evidence

    If you had 90 seconds to answer a question you did not know the answer to, what would you do? Admit to the gap in your knowledge? Take a guess at the answer? Or Google the answer on your phone? The majority of people would opt for the later. Technology has not only changed the…

  • Know Your Customer is the Secret to MNO Negotiations

    Washington DC | By on February 10, 2015 | Comments Off on Know Your Customer is the Secret to MNO Negotiations

    NGOs and social service organizations are increasingly turning to mobile technology as a tool for designing and delivering services to the poor, whether in health, education or any other sector. And of course a major element of these services is often the delivery of cash transfers, for which mobile money can play a critical role….

  • Can ICTs Improve Democracy and Governance in Myanmar?

    Washington DC | By on September 3, 2014 | Comments Off on Can ICTs Improve Democracy and Governance in Myanmar?

    Internet access, in particular via mobile technology, gives citizens a medium through which to exercise their political voice. It can be used to challenge preexisting power systems and is a potential game-changer in countries with undemocratic regimes. As we’ve seen with the Arab Spring, citizens can use Internet tools to place the fates of governments…

  • Encouraging Innovation in Development Organizations

    New York | By on May 22, 2014 | Comments Off on Encouraging Innovation in Development Organizations

    Our February 6th Technology Salon in New York City focused on the organizational challenges that development organizations face when trying to innovate or integrate ICTs into their programs and operations. We looked at the idea of “innovation” and different ways to approach it. We asked what “innovation” really means and why “technology” and “innovation” seem…

  • How We Helped Small Organizations Be More Competitive in Grant Challenges

    New York | By on May 20, 2014 | Comments Off on How We Helped Small Organizations Be More Competitive in Grant Challenges

    This is a guest post from Jamie Narkunski, who works as a UX consultant at ThoughtWorks NYC. I recently attended a Tech Salon where the subject of grant applications came up. Part of the conversation revolved around the issue that the complexity, format, and investment required in the traditional grant application process acts as a…

  • Bigger, Better Data and Resilience: What’s the Link?

    New York | By on May 15, 2014 | Comments Off on Bigger, Better Data and Resilience: What’s the Link?

    The NYC Technology Salon on February 28th examined the connection between bigger, better data and resilience. We held morning and afternoon Salons due to the high response rate for the topic. Jake Porway, DataKind; Emmanuel Letouzé, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative; and Elizabeth Eagen, Open Society Foundations; were our lead discussants for the morning. Max Shron, Data…

  • Maps-R-Us? Geodata and Moving Beyond Data Visualization

    Washington DC | By on February 11, 2014 | Comments Off on Maps-R-Us? Geodata and Moving Beyond Data Visualization

    Geodata is popping up everywhere. Companies, agencies and organizations now dazzle audiences with beautiful graphics that are supposed to represent what’s happening in a given industry, geographic area etc. Uber, the car service has maps that show the location of every Uber driver across the world, in what they call “God View.” At the February…

  • Local Content: Needed to Connect With Communities

    Washington DC | By on February 11, 2014 | Comments Off on Local Content: Needed to Connect With Communities

    At the December Technology Salon, the word “Local Content” emerged as multifaceted term that has different definitions across development organizations and sectors. Priya Jaisinghani and Jonathan Dolan of USAID, and John Garrity of Cisco, led the discussion about what orgs are doing in regards to Local Content. Participants’ definitions of Local Content ranged from news,…

  • Who Does Monitoring and Evaluation and Uses the F-Word?

    Washington DC | By on February 11, 2014 | Comments Off on Who Does Monitoring and Evaluation and Uses the F-Word?

    33,000 stores, 61 years of business, and more than 1 billion served. Can you guess which organization these numbers are associated with? McDonald’s. Imagine if development organizations had these kinds of statistics. Imagine if they could track results to this degree. Would programs save money? Be more efficient? What would it take to harness data…

  • Are Cash Transfers Effective? A Discussion with the Experts

    New York | By on December 15, 2013 | Comments Off on Are Cash Transfers Effective? A Discussion with the Experts

    The salon style conversation featured Columbia University and popular aid blogger Chris Blattman, GiveDirectly co-founder and UCSD researcher Paul Neihaus and Plan USA CEO Tessie San Martin. The ensuing discussion, operating under the Chatham House Rules of no attribution, featured representatives from large NGOs, microfinance organizations and UN agencies. Research from Kenya, Uganda and Liberia show both the promise and shortcomings of cash transfers.