Technology

Book Review: Social Physics : How Social Networks can make us Smarter

Duncan Green - January 6, 2017

My Christmas reading included a book called Social Physics – yep, a party animal (my others were Lord of the Flies and Knausgard Vol 3, both wonderful). Here’s the review: Airport bookstores are bewildering places – shelf after shelf of management gurus offering distilled lessons on leadership, change and everything else. How to distinguish snake oil from substance? My Christmas reading, based on a recommendation …

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How bad is my filter bubble problem? Please help me find out

Duncan Green - January 5, 2017

In an idle moment over the Christmas break, I decided to run a twitter poll to assess the extent of my filter bubble. For any of you who’ve been on a different planet for the last few months, that’s the social media phenomenon whereby you like/follow/read only those sources that broadly agree with you, creating an echo chamber that can lead to you mistakenly thinking …

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How many readers? Where from? What were their favourite posts? Stats for 2016 on FP2P

Duncan Green - January 3, 2017

Hi everyone, Happy New Year and all that. Thought I’d kick off with the usual feedback post on last year’s blog stats: The blog passed a couple of milestones last year – since it started in 2008, it’s clocked up 2000 posts, 1.4 million words, and 10,000 comments (big thanks to everyone who takes the time to add theirs). Only a matter of time before …

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Is this time really different? Will Automation kill off development?

Duncan Green - December 21, 2016

Is this time really different? That’s the argument whenever people want to ignore the lessons of history (eg arguing that this particular financial bubble/commodity boom will never burst) and such claims usually merit a bucketload of scepticism. On the other hand (climate change, nuclear war) sometimes things really are different from everything that has gone before. Which brings us to technology. Lots of musings are …

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On webinars, prayer and ‘transformational development': an hour with World Vision

Duncan Green - December 16, 2016

I’m becoming a big fan of webinars. I can slump in front of the computer at home, slurping a coffee, give a presentation on the book (Open Access helps – no need to try and get people to buy copies, just download the pdf after the session), then sit back and listen to the ensuing conversation. On Wednesday it was 50 or so World Vision …

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Doing Data Differently: Lessons from the Results Data Initiative

Duncan Green - December 2, 2016

Guest post from Dustin Homer, Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Development Gateway Development folks see magical possibilities for data-driven decision-making. We want data and evidence to improve our work—to help us reach marginalized people, allocate budgets effectively, and see which activities work the best. And it’s not all buzz; we’re getting serious about investing real resources into this development data revolution. So here’s the …

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What role for local actors in system change? Fighting climate change in the UK

Duncan Green - November 29, 2016

Ruth Mayne, Oxfam’s senior researcher on the effectiveness of influencing, reflects on some personal influencing she was involved with before (re)joining Oxfam. In the development world we often emphasise the importance of strengthening community action but is it really possible for local, rather than national and international, actors to contribute to system change? And if so, why and how does this happen, and under what …

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Climate Change: Meeting sea level rise by raising the land

Duncan Green - November 8, 2016

  As the COP 22 meeting on climate change gets under way in Marrakech, Joseph Hanlon, Manoj Roy and David Hulme introduce their new book on climate change and Bangladesh Community groups in coastal Bangladesh have shown that the land can be raised to match sea level rise. Their success has been hard fought, initially contested by aid agencies, engineers and the police. But they …

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10 Frontier Technologies for International Development

Duncan Green - November 1, 2016

Ben Ramalingam, leader of the Digital and Technology research group at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), introduces their new report on new and emerging technologies, and how international organisations can capitalise on their potential. New and emerging technologies have often underpinned and enabled significant development progress over the decades – from vaccines to mobile phones to the internet. The UN has recently called for …

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Can Publishers survive Open Access? We’ll find out when How Change Happens is published today

Duncan Green - October 27, 2016

It’s Open Access Week and How Change Happens is officially published in the UK today, as both a book and an open access pdf. The process has been pretty exciting. The traditional author descends from the mountain of scholarship clutching a rather expensive tablet of stone, in which his/her wisdom is set out to a suitably grateful but largely passive public. Think of force-feeding geese. …

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