Technology Salon

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a discussion at the intersection of technology and development

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  • 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,…

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  • 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.

  • How 3 Technology Initiatives Are Improving Education in Rwanda

    Washington DC | By on December 3, 2013 | Comments Off on How 3 Technology Initiatives Are Improving Education in Rwanda

    The Technology Salon on “How is ICT Impacting Education in Rwanda?” in Washington, DC featured lead discussants David Rurangirwa, ICT/Education Specialist for USAID/Rwanda, who described the Rwanda Education Commons and Jacques Murinda, Executive Director, OLE Rwanda, who explained initiatives that OLE is implementing using TeacherMates and OLPC XO-1 laptops.

  • 7 Considerations for Mobile Money Cash Grants to Change Development

    Washington DC | By on December 3, 2013 | Comments Off on 7 Considerations for Mobile Money Cash Grants to Change Development

    Let us start with the classic (borderline cliché) development proverb: if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day, but if he is taught how to fish, he will eat for a lifetime. It was this analogy that got conversation started at the latest Technology Salon, “Are Mobile Money Cash Transfers the…

  • Teachers Are Integral to ICT Success in Education

    Washington DC | By on December 3, 2013 | Comments Off on Teachers Are Integral to ICT Success in Education

    I am Russell Southwood of Smart Monkey TV and in July, I was at the “How is ICT Impacting Education in Rwanda?” Tech Salon DC on the experience of using technology in education in Rwanda. Several of those who spoke emphasized the importance and centrality of the teacher in the education system.

  • How We Can Leverage Online Games for Social Impact

    Washington DC | By on December 3, 2013 | Comments Off on How We Can Leverage Online Games for Social Impact

    Games have been a point of contention in the education technology field for well over a decade, but thanks to the raw determination of Henry Jenkins, James Gee, Katie Salen and other game enthusiasts, the deconstruction of the games paradox has made space for games with social impact.

  • Serious Online Games Are Creating Serious Social Impact

    Washington DC | By on December 3, 2013 | Comments Off on Serious Online Games Are Creating Serious Social Impact

    Imagine playing Grand Theft Auto V, (and maybe if you’re lucky, today you really are). You’ve just stolen a car, and as you’re racing down the street, you decide to take a phone call. A cop pulls you over for using a mobile phone while driving. In the next level, your character must decide if…

  • The 3 Secrets to Kenya’s Technology Success

    Nairobi | By on November 30, 2013 | Comments Off on The 3 Secrets to Kenya’s Technology Success

    Over the past 5 years Nairobi, or the ‘Silicon Savanah,’ has blossomed into a global hub and a regional role model for cultivating innovation. mPesa, Safaricom’s mobile money platform, has led the globe in electronic payments serving emerging markets and base of the pyramid. Nairobi is home to the first tech incubator in Africa, the…

  • Technology Made in Congo-Brazzaville: One Man’s Start Up Story

    Washington DC | By on May 25, 2013 | Comments Off on Technology Made in Congo-Brazzaville: One Man’s Start Up Story

    I am Anna Shaw and I recently attended a Tech Salon that really got me thinking. We spent a morning discussing, What Are the Technology Challenges in Congo Brazzaville? The conversation started out with a relatively typical examination of the challenges the ICT4D community knows all too well. The cost of mobile phones is too…

  • 3 Key Factors for the Next Mobile App to Scale like M-Pesa

    Nairobi | By on March 11, 2013 | Comments Off on 3 Key Factors for the Next Mobile App to Scale like M-Pesa

    I am Josephine Mutugu and at the Nairobi Technology Salon on What is the Next Mobile Development App that Will Scale? we launched into the discussion with a brief summary of the iHub report “Mobile Phone Usage at the Kenyan Base of the Pyramid.” In particular, we wanted to explore what the next development app…

  • How Can We Make Cloud Solutions Relevant in the Offline World?

    Washington DC | By on October 17, 2012 | Comments Off on How Can We Make Cloud Solutions Relevant in the Offline World?

    I am Amos Cruz and below are my thoughts around a recent Technology Salon on “How Can We Make ‘Cloud’ Solutions Relevant in the Offline World” with a cohort of though leaders and decision makers in information technology and international development.

  • Dialogue is Participation at Technology Salons

    Washington DC | By on August 10, 2012 | Comments Off on Dialogue is Participation at Technology Salons

    The recent Technology Salon “Will the new .Africa domain name have development impact?” represented for me an above average collision of minds over the matters of life and learning and the impact that domain ownership and the concerns for development bear on them. The dialogue was so robust that I found myself stepping over the…

  • What is the development impact of .Africa and other changes in the online world?

    Washington DC | By on July 31, 2012 | Comments Off on What is the development impact of .Africa and other changes in the online world?

    Recently, ICANN, the organization that controls the Internet naming system, made it possible for groups to apply for new gTLDs (names to the right of the dot, like .com, .org and .edu). Nearly 2000 applications were submitted, from business ideas (like .shop and .app) to causes (.green) to the only slightly bizarre .sucks. Still, after…

  • What Does OLPC Peru Teach Us About ICT in Education?

    Washington DC | By on April 13, 2012 | Comments Off on What Does OLPC Peru Teach Us About ICT in Education?

    One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) has been a part of a larger ICT4E discussion, which has included ongoing debate over the effectiveness of the XO and its various deployments. Since its inception, OLPC has relied mainly on aspirations, visions, and projections to support investment from various partners across the globe. Pilots programs were conducted at…

  • iPads in Agriculture: Glitz Toys or ICT4Ag Business Tool?

    Washington DC | By on September 19, 2011 | Comments Off on iPads in Agriculture: Glitz Toys or ICT4Ag Business Tool?

    This month’s Technology Salon ICT4Ag – Enriching rural coffee farmers via iPads raised a couple of eyebrows from the outset. How can Exprima Media and Sustainable Harvest realistically improve rural coffee farming via iPads? Initially, it struck me as another attempt to use the latest and greatest technology to tackle longstanding challenges within the value…

  • How USAID Could Learn – and Grow – from Failure

    Washington DC | By on June 22, 2011 | Comments Off on How USAID Could Learn – and Grow – from Failure

    I am Charles Kenny, and I spent part of yesterday at a United Nations Foundation meeting with Dr Maura O’Neill, Chief Innovation Officer at USAID.

    There was a lot of discussion of development applications using mobile phones (m-development) and how to do them better – things like interoperability and collecting models in an ‘m-app marketplace.’ And there was the usual back-and-forth between those who wanted to see more transformative projects where IT reformed whole agencies and ministries and those who thought that way madness (or at least obscene overruns) lay.

    But I thought the most interesting discussion was around learning from experience -particularly in an area where technology is evolving rapidly, so a robust evaluation may not be completed before the project itself looks as dated as an integrated rural development scheme or a structural adjustment loan. The randomized trial result suggesting limited evidence of educational spillovers from a distribution program of Nintendo 64’s might not carry too much weight for those wanting to hand out Wiis as part of a youth fitness program.

  • We at SSG Advisors are currently incubating a new approach to the delivery of higher education services that leverages both new technology and disruptive business models. We presented this model at last week’s eLearning Technology Salon and I am very grateful for all of the thoughtful and useful input received The Salon was a great…