Technology Salon DC was founded in 2007 by Wayan Vota and is now organized by Rob Baker. It is the largest Salon, with over 3,000 members that span the gamut of development and technology disciplines.

Salons serve as sounding board and focus group discussions for emerging topics in ICT for social change. We tackle tough topics in a safe space that sparks cross-sectoral learning. Our monthly meetings are driving policy and implementation decisions across international development. Be sure to sign up to get invited and RSVP quickly – we always have a wait list.

You can contact Rob to suggest a topic or lead discussant for a future meeting.


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  • 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…

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  • 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….

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Can Women and Girls’ Use of Technology Help Us Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?

    Washington DC | By on June 30, 2016 | Comments Off on Can Women and Girls’ Use of Technology Help Us Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals?

    Of course! But, in the quest to include women and girls, don’t forget about the boys and men. Did you miss it? Last month, Tech Salon hosted a special session in celebration of the Copenhagen-based Women Deliver Conference. Taking place once every three years, Women Deliver is the world’s largest conference dedicated to the rights,…

  • The Promise and Pitfalls of Bitcoin and Blockchain for Development

    Washington DC | By on May 21, 2016 | Comments Off on The Promise and Pitfalls of Bitcoin and Blockchain for Development

    Bitcoins represent an opportunity that can democratize value, but can never be truly democratic in and of itself

  • The Opportunities and Challenges of Engaging Youth in Asia-Pacific Region

    Washington DC | By on April 20, 2016 | Comments Off on The Opportunities and Challenges of Engaging Youth in Asia-Pacific Region

    Many would regard the Asia-Pacific as one of the fasting growing regions for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). With Bangladeshi telecenters, Chinese manufacturing hubs, and the popularity of social media in Indonesia, it seems like Asian tech progress is a foregone conclusion. Especially since 717 million young people aged 15 to 24, 60% of the…

  • The Internet of Things vs. Low Tech or No Tech for Development

    Washington DC | By on April 11, 2016 | Comments Off on The Internet of Things vs. Low Tech or No Tech for Development

    The Bay Area community is deeply engaged and interested in the Internet of Things, and the lively conversation from the March Technology Salon San Francisco on “How Can Sensors and the Internt of Things Improve International Development Outcomes?” proved it. I am Jana Melpolder and I joined forty participants gathered to cover the exciting future…

  • 4 Ways We Can Better Engage Smallholder Farmers Using ICT

    Washington DC | By on March 22, 2016 | Comments Off on 4 Ways We Can Better Engage Smallholder Farmers Using ICT

    An essential component for successfully engaging smallholder farmers using technology comes from providing a voice, a dialogue, with the farmers themselves. This coupling of human engagement to information and communication technologies was a core idea debated at the Technology Salon on How Can We Better Engage with Smallholder Farmers? Over 30 thought leaders exchanged perspectives…

  • Why Silicon Savannah is Unsustainable and What to Do About It

    Washington DC | By on March 15, 2016 | Comments Off on Why Silicon Savannah is Unsustainable and What to Do About It

    Since early in this decade, we’ve seen speculation that applications and other tech development and programming could create and jump start private sectors and local economies, a world of hype, enthusiasm and investments (from venture capital to public and donor money) appears to be funneling towards app development and mobile hubs around the world. Apps4D…

  • 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…

  • One Photo That Explains Why Organizations Should Work With VAS Vendors

    Washington DC | By on July 31, 2015 | Comments Off on One Photo That Explains Why Organizations Should Work With VAS Vendors

    Value Added Services (VAS) are an increasingly popular way to engage mobile phone owners, even in the most rural areas. In Bihar, for example, Unilever has established a mobile radio station that calls users to provide “infotainment” in the form of music, jokes, and of course ads for up to a 15-minute period. Of all…

  • 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…

  • Can Zero-Rating Support Ecosystems To Bring the Next Billion Online?

    Washington DC | By on June 9, 2015 | Comments Off on Can Zero-Rating Support Ecosystems To Bring the Next Billion Online?

    Tech lovers can be guilty of techtopia. We imagine that technology makes life better for anyone, regardless of socioeconomic status or access to basic resources. With 4.4 billion people in the world still not online, the tech community is deliberating over how we will get the next billion online. Will it be through policies like…

  • The Number 1 Reason Why You Do Not Encrypt Email

    Washington DC | By on June 2, 2015 | Comments Off on The Number 1 Reason Why You Do Not Encrypt Email

    Two new Pew Research Center studies are very enlightening around the American public’s perception of privacy, security, and surveillance. While both reports are worth a read, there are two contradictory statements that really stand out: The surveys find that Americans feel privacy is important in their daily lives in a number of essential ways. Yet,…

  • 4 Challenges to Using Design Thinking in ICT4D

    Washington DC | By on May 20, 2015 | Comments Off on 4 Challenges to Using Design Thinking in ICT4D

    On project teams, everyone envisions a solution or product. When everyone leaves the room, most imagine a “piece of an animal” or even “the whole animal” in completely different ways. When teams have designers, some of these barriers are eliminated because designers create testable prototypes of “the whole animal”. Prototypes present ideas in a tangible…

  • ICT in Cuba: Economic Driver or Casualty of Complicated Political Realities?

    Washington DC | By on May 19, 2015 | Comments Off on ICT in Cuba: Economic Driver or Casualty of Complicated Political Realities?

    In December 2014, United States President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro announced an agreement to restore diplomatic ties between the two historically adversarial countries. As Cuba becomes a more open country, especially in relation to the United States, how will they welcome NGOs, businesses, or government activities in the formerly cloistered country? And…