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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  • Myanmar will be going online fast in the next 2 years. Right now it has the same mobile phone usage as North Korea, Eritrea, and Cuba – less than 10% – yet with Teleno, Ooredoo, and Myanmar Post and Telecommunication set to race each other to get all Burmese a mobile phone, expect the country…

  • Tweet Tweet! Cuban Twitter and its Implications for ICT4D

    Washington DC | By on May 6, 2014 | Comments Off on Tweet Tweet! Cuban Twitter and its Implications for ICT4D

    On April 4, the Associated Press released a story about the ICT project in Cuba, reporting that the pseudo-Twitter platform, ZunZuneo, was a covert program created with the intention to ‘stir unrest’. USAID maintains the platform was created to facilitate conversation between Cuban citizens, and approved by the Government Accountability Office. (USAID refutes eight facts…

  • 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…

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  • 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…

  • 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…

  • 8 Tips to Publish Open Data in Preparation for IATI

    Washington DC | By on December 3, 2013 | Comments Off on 8 Tips to Publish Open Data in Preparation for IATI

    Siobhan Green, the founder of Sonjara attended the Technology Salon exploring “How Can USAID Development Partners Implement IATI?” and was inspired to define 8 steps to publish Open Data to prepare for the day when we all will need to be compliant with the International Aid Transparency Initiative standards. Here is her list:

  • 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…

  • You Need a Social Media Strategy in International Development

    Washington DC | By on June 18, 2013 | Comments Off on You Need a Social Media Strategy in International Development

    In the next few years, another 2 billion people will be coming online; transforming the Internet from what once was an elite network of the world’s privileged to a democratizer of information and power. This wave of new users will mainly enter the Internet via mobile phones on social networks.

  • 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…

  • Why Information Security Matters in ICT4D

    Washington DC | By on April 2, 2013 | Comments Off on Why Information Security Matters in ICT4D

    The Technology Salon on Why Does Information Security Matter in International Development? was a predictably raucous debate on finding a sane balance between using 30-character passwords with symbols, numbers, and mixed-case letters that must be changed every month for your time sheet systems… and taking basic security measures to protect super-private data.

  • Recently Priya Jaisinghani, Teressa Trusty, and I brought together a few folks to have an informal Technology Salon around the pertinent question of how can the development community get technology to scale?

  • A Computer Can Do Your International Development Job Thanks to Open Data

    Washington DC | By on February 21, 2013 | Comments Off on A Computer Can Do Your International Development Job Thanks to Open Data

    At a recent Technology Salon on “How Can We Make Data Useful for Development,” one of the participants put forth an interesting question to the group: Could computers make better international development decisions than humans?

  • How to Use ICT for Citizen Participation

    Washington DC | By on February 11, 2013 | Comments Off on How to Use ICT for Citizen Participation

    The model citizen participation process has citizens holding their governments accountable to deliver quality public services in a transparent and responsive manner. At the recent Technology Salon on How Can ICT’s Support Citizen Engagement with Governments? around 30 thought leaders debated the best ways to empower citizens and governments to define what a government should…

  • Innovation Spaces: People and Community Matter More Than Tech or Type

    Washington DC | By on January 17, 2013 | Comments Off on Innovation Spaces: People and Community Matter More Than Tech or Type

    Technology hubs, innovation spaces, hacker centers, incubators, telecenters, libraries, co-working offices, etc., there are many names to call the places where like-minded people come together to focus on a challenge. We do this because we believe in them as a model for facilitating collaboration, yet at the January Technology Salon in DC, we asked Do…

  • 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.

  • The Best Mobile Data Collection System Exists: Choice is the Challenge

    Washington DC | By on September 24, 2012 | Comments Off on The Best Mobile Data Collection System Exists: Choice is the Challenge

    You might think that the topic of collecting data via mobile devices would be a rather dry discussion of data management and statistical methodology. You would be very, very wrong. The Technology Salon all but came to blows as we wrestled with privacy issues, total costs of ownership, and other elephants in the room. When…