Technology Salon

Washington DC

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a discussion at the intersection of technology and development

Technology Salon DC was founded in 2007 by Wayan Vota and 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 Wayan to suggest a topic or lead discussant for a future meeting.


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  • geospatial technologies

    How to Better Visualize Our Impact with Geospatial Technologies

    Washington DC | By on August 20, 2018 | Comments Off on How to Better Visualize Our Impact with Geospatial Technologies

    Remember when you saw your first geospatial visualization in international development? How amazed you were that satellite maps of the earth could show impact data in a new, clearer way than before? Wait till you see where we are now with game-changing innovations like: Mapping changes at the village level with unmanned aerial vehicles. Visualizing…

  • private sector data

    4 Steps to Access Private Sector Data for Public Goods

    Washington DC | By on July 13, 2018 | Comments Off on 4 Steps to Access Private Sector Data for Public Goods

    We in the international development sector often have this perception that the private sector is way more advanced than we in the collection, analysis, and use of user data. That somehow Facebook, Google, and every Mobile Network Operator has a God-like dashboard that instantly displays every data point and trend imaginable, at the touch of…

  • GDPR Data Secuirty

    We Are Data Security Sinners. Will GDPR Make Us Repent?

    Washington DC | By on April 21, 2018 | Comments Off on We Are Data Security Sinners. Will GDPR Make Us Repent?

    The General Data Protection Regulation is coming on May 25th and you should be worried. If you operate in the EU or focus on EU-based clients, then the sweeping new data protection law will apply to you, with multi-million dollar fines per violation. It mandates that we will need to be clear and concise about…

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  • Humanitarian Crisis

    7 Technologies to Mitigate Humanitarian Crisis and Increase Community Resilience

    Washington DC | By on March 8, 2018 | Comments Off on 7 Technologies to Mitigate Humanitarian Crisis and Increase Community Resilience

    Penny Mordaunt, the UK International Development Secretary, is warning that 2018 will be the worst for humanitarian crises since the Second World War. Simmering conflict is destroying communities in Syria, Congo, Yemen, South Sudan, Myanmar… and the list goes on. Then there will be the inevitable natural disasters that will create new crisis-affected communities. We…

  • whatsapp strategy

    6 Reasons Why WhatsApp is a Game Changer for International Development

    Washington DC | By on March 1, 2018 | Comments Off on 6 Reasons Why WhatsApp is a Game Changer for International Development

    Quickly messaging people via computing technology is not a new activity. Internet Relay Chat (IRC) started in 1988, and we’ve gone through messaging service peaks with AOL, Yahoo, Blackberry, and SMS. Now there is a new wave of messaging apps and it’s Facebook Messenger, Viber, Telegram, Signal and WhatsApp’s turn. As one participant said at…

  • M&E Data

    How We Can Ethically Use Our M&E Results Data

    Washington DC | By on November 25, 2017 | Comments Off on How We Can Ethically Use Our M&E Results Data

    One thread in this year’s excellent MERL Tech conference was the critical questions on data use: How do we balance project needs with policy requirements? How does that affect data collection, structure, and cleaning? Can we still incentivize both at an organizational level? Ultimately: are we able to generate results data that is usable and…

  • Blockchain for International Development

    How to Use Blockchain for International Development

    Washington DC | By on November 16, 2017 | Comments Off on How to Use 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…

  • 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….

  • 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…