Technology Salon

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a discussion at the intersection of technology and development

Meeting Synopsis

  • At the Technology Salon San Francisco on Data-Infused Impact Storytelling, a vibrant group of technologists and development experts gathered at the Vodafone Americas Foundation in Redwood City to explore how to be better storytellers in our efforts to change the world. The discussion featured a curated group of participants, and discussion leads including: Chantal Buard…

  • Blockchain for International Development

    Blockchain is at the peak of inflated expectations. Since last year’s Tech Salon on Bitcoin, the hype cycle has eclipsed cryptocurrencies to focus the underlying distributed ledger technology. Just look at who is putting blockchain front and center: World Bank launched a Blockchain Lab and a blockchain RFP. The Rockefeller Foundation invested in New America’s…

  • How to Build Better Partnerships for Global Health

    New York | By on October 19, 2017 | Comments Off on How to Build Better Partnerships for Global Health

    For our Technology Salon on How Can Partnerships Improve the Digital Health Ecosystem?, we discussed partnerships and interoperability in global health systems. The room housed a wide range of perspectives, from small to large non-governmental organizations to donors and funders to software developers to designers to healthcare professionals to students. Our lead discussants were: Josh…

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  • How Partnerships Improve the Digital Health Ecosystem

    New York | By on October 16, 2017 | Comments Off on How Partnerships Improve the Digital Health Ecosystem

    Last Thursday, we had the honor of getting together with many of our peers and partners in New York City to discuss How Can Partnerships Improve the Digital Health Ecosystem? The discussion was moderated by Linda Raftree of Tech Salon, sponsored by Medic Mobile and Praekelt, and hosted by Thoughtworks. The main discussants were: Josh…

  • We Still Talk About Women as if They Were a Sector

    Washington DC | By on September 21, 2017 | Comments Off on We Still Talk About Women as if They Were a Sector

    The title of this post is the most memorable quote from our May 2017 Technology Salon, asking the question “Are We Really Closing the Gender Gap in ICT4D?“, a discussion led by: Catherine Highet, Technical Advisor, mStar at FHI360 Revi Sterling, USAID-GBI Chief of Party Melissa Persaud, VOTO Mobile We’ve talked about gender and ICT4D…

  • How International Development Can Benefit From Artificial Intelligence

    Washington DC | By on September 19, 2017 | Comments Off on How International Development Can Benefit From Artificial Intelligence

    Artificial intelligence used as chatbots made headlines in 2016 with 34,000 bots added to Facebook Messenger alone. Facebook’s F8 conference put artificial intelligence in center stage, as chatbots are now smart enough to fool students at a Georgia Tech CompSci course who didn’t realize their TA “Jill Watson” was only virtual until finals. But Facebook…

  • Your Organization is Not Ready for Big Data

    Washington DC | By on August 7, 2017 | Comments Off on Your Organization is Not Ready for Big Data

    Big Data for Development. You’ve heard that sentence/question/presentation title before. We’ve talked about it at length and the conversation continues in earnest in a time where more quantitative analysis is needed and increasingly expected. Thankfully, excellent progress is being made. The World Bank’s 2017 Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals was very well received during this…

  • user experience design in international development

    4 Ways to Gain Support for User Experience Design in International Development

    Washington DC | By on July 2, 2017 | Comments Off on 4 Ways to Gain Support for User Experience Design in International Development

      User Experience (UX) Design is, for many companies, a mainstream part of product or project development.  There are employees whose entire job is UX, or at least is spelled out as a specific step in meeting goals, whether it’s building an app or deciding the appropriate technology of how to engage with a community….

  • Can Microwork and Impact Sourcing Improve Youth Employment?

    New York | By on April 18, 2017 | Comments Off on Can Microwork and Impact Sourcing Improve Youth Employment?

    Our Technology Salon on Thursday March 9th focused on the potential of Microwork to support youth economic empowerment. Joining us as lead discussants were: Lis Meyers, Banyan Global Saul Miller, Samasource Elena Matsui, The Rockefeller Foundation Banyan Global recently completed a report on “The Nexus of Microwork and Impact Sourcing: Implications for Youth Employment,” supported…

  • 4 Barriers to Using Machine Learning to Support the SDGs

    Bangkok | By on February 7, 2017 | Comments Off on 4 Barriers to Using Machine Learning to Support the SDGs

    Born from the widest ever public consultation by the UN, the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) are a chance to ‘press the reset button on development’. Critically, the SDGs encourage countries to improve data analysis and to track progress with common indicators. Many of the goals are inter-related and influence each other. But with such…

  • How Virtual Reality Activism Can Live Up to the Hype

    San Francisco | By on February 7, 2017 | Comments Off on How Virtual Reality Activism Can Live Up to the Hype

    Recently, 35 leaders in tech, international development, philanthropy and venture capital gathered at frog design in San Francisco for a Technology Salon debating the question, “Is Virtual Reality a New Paradigm for Humanitarianism or is it more Augmented Hype?” Participants experienced virtual reality with several HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and frog design headsets. Coined by…

  • How Technology Impacted Ghana’s Elections

    Accra | By on January 17, 2017 | Comments Off on How Technology Impacted Ghana’s Elections

    On December 7, 2016, Ghana passed yet another democratic test when it conducted what has been described as the best organized general elections in the country’s history. The elections was to choose a new President and 275 members of parliament. From the tech-based systems deployed by some media houses that enabled their collation and projections…

  • What Technology is the Silver Bullet for International Development?

    Helsinki | By on December 22, 2016 | Comments Off on What Technology is the Silver Bullet for International Development?

        The third Technology Salon event hosted in Helsinki, Finland, brought together a room full of representatives from private sector, public sector, governments, startups, NGOs and universities from countries like Lebanon, Tanzania, Mozambique, Denmark, Finland, India, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Iran, United States, Belgium, France, South Africa, Egypt and Zambia – to name a few! This…

  • How to Use Digital Identity for Better Development

    Washington DC | By on November 15, 2016 | Comments Off on How to Use Digital Identity for Better Development

    An estimated 1.5 billion people do not have a government issued and recognized proof of their legal identity. Over 10 million people in the world, with millions of children, are stateless. Migrants are expected to increase significantly in the next 5 years, due to civil strife, climate change, and changing economic landscapes. To prepare for…

  • How Technology Volunteers Can Build Solutions for Refugees

    Amman | By on October 6, 2016 | Comments Off on How Technology Volunteers Can Build Solutions for Refugees

    Given the scale and profile of the current global refugee crisis, it’s no surprise that the technology community is increasingly exploring how technology can solve challenges faced by refugees and those involved in refugee response. Refugee and humanitarian communities should welcome the enthusiasm of the tech community alike, as it is clear that new ideas…

  • Will 1 Million Digital Devices in 22,000 Primary Schools Create a Unified Education Solution for Kenya?

    Nairobi | By on October 6, 2016 | Comments Off on Will 1 Million Digital Devices in 22,000 Primary Schools Create a Unified Education Solution for Kenya?

    At the recent Technology Salon Nairobi, technologists and educators asked how could technology improve education in Kenya? One way is through a set of software and content that is curated into a digital literacy stack: A set of interoperable, reusable tools that serve as the foundation for multiple apps and services; Transparent, discoverable technologies: open…

  • The Threats and Opportunities of Social Media and Elections in Ghana

    Accra | By on October 5, 2016 | Comments Off on The Threats and Opportunities of Social Media and Elections in Ghana

    From the provision of free advertisement, highlighting important advocacy works, making speeches and statements readily available to helping candidates to promote their campaign messages widely and freely, there is no denying of Social Media’s role in elections processes across the world and for millennials, it is a lifeline of information. These, among many other critical…

  • When, Where, and How to Use Drones for Development

    Washington DC | By on August 20, 2016 | Comments Off on When, Where, and How to Use Drones for Development

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) or drones produce a visceral reaction, perceived in different ways through the eyes of the beholder. Is it a military weapon, hi-tech recreation, or a research tool? International development professionals have formed additional uses for this technology. UAVs conduct remote surveys, deliver test results or supplies, and provide surveillance. Yet, there…

  • IVR and FM Radio: Low-Tech Ways to Reach Everyone on Earth

    San Francisco | By on July 6, 2016 | Comments Off on IVR and FM Radio: Low-Tech Ways to Reach Everyone on Earth

    The title for the recent San Francisco Technology Salon, “The Low-Tech Way to Reach Everyone on Earth” suggests an enormously powerful statement – does the right technology exist today to reach everyone on earth? And what exactly is that technology? Thirty-three people from the Bay Area and around California attended the event to discuss the…

  • 5 Barriers to Building ICT4D Capacity of Development Organisations

    Bangkok | By on July 1, 2016 | Comments Off on 5 Barriers to Building ICT4D Capacity of Development Organisations

    Twenty development professionals recently met in Bangkok to ask, “How Can We Build the ICT4D Capacity of Development Organizations?“. They discussed the usage, implementation as well as the successes and challenges of building capacity of development organization to make use of ICT in their work. The lead discussant, Simon Gee from TechSoup Asia, started the…