Technology

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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How can rethinking innovation achieve Technology Justice?

Duncan Green - July 22, 2016

Amber Meikle of Practical Action, introduces ‘Rethink, Retool, Reboot Technology as if people and planet mattered’, a new book on a massively neglected topic The history of mankind’s development has long featured technology – from early cultivation techniques, fire, and the wheel, all the way to 3D printing and nanotechnology. Today, technology underpins all aspects of everyday life: from how our food is produced and …

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Where are the ‘Digital Dividends’ from the ICT Revolution? The new World Development Report

Duncan Green - February 22, 2016

OK, book done, back from recuperative holiday, time to get back to daily blogging. Earlier this month I headed off for the London launch of the 2016 World Development Report, ‘Digital Dividends’. The World Bank’s annual flagship is always a big moment in wonkland, and there has been a lot of positive buzz around this one. Here’s how the Bank summarizes its content: ‘What is the …

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Geek Heresy, by Kentaro Toyama: book review

Duncan Green - July 10, 2015

Guest post by Gawain Kripke, Oxfam America’s Director of Policy  I love my smart phone. It’s awesome and it makes me more awesome. I honestly think that my life is much better with it than without. It makes me a better worker – able to review documents, communicate with colleagues, keep projects moving smoothly even when I’m out of the office.   It makes me a better …

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Big Data and Development: Upsides, downsides and a lot of questions

Duncan Green - July 23, 2014

One of the more scary but enjoyable things I do is be interviewed on stuff I know absolutely nothing about (yeah, yeah, I know – no change there then). You get to grasshopper around multiple issues and disciplines, cobbling together ideas and arguments from scattered fragments, making connections and learning new stuff. Great fun. This week, I’ll blog about a couple of these BS (blue …

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Why NGOs label technology as nasty or nice

admin - August 19, 2013

This post appeared last week on the Science and Development website SciDev There’s real substance behind activists’ polarised views of new technology, says Oxfam adviser Duncan Green. NGOs and activists often seem to hold contradictory views about science and technology, dividing the world up into ‘nice’ and ‘nasty’ technologies. Anything to do with mobile phones, crowdsourcing, ‘small is beautiful’ technology, renewables or labour-saving wonders such as …

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‘Technology Justice’ – what does it mean for how NGOs think about new and old tech in development? And would you like a job working on it?

admin - February 1, 2013

I had an interesting exchange with Practical Action’s policy director, Astrid Walker Bourne (right) recently, about one of my (many) hobby horses – technology and its absence from the NGO agenda. Practical Action is trying to fill the gap with a work programme on ‘technology justice’, but a failed recruitment has got her thinking about the wider issues of NGOs and technology. See below. The …

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A world of friendship networks revealed – great interactive infographic

admin - September 21, 2012

After a few days in the migrationtastic Philippines (more on the visit next week) this post seems particularly apposite. The world’s friendship networks revealed, or at least that chunk of them that are on Facebook (large and growing – 910 million and counting). This exercise in big data crunching is fascinating: click on the country and it tells you how many FB links its citizens …

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African techno-euphoria and the origins of Kenyan mobile exceptionalism

admin - August 30, 2012

I’m struck by one of those periodic waves of Africa techno-euphoria as I catch up on my post holiday reading (Google Reader, twitter, email, random subscriptions – is there no end to it?). The Guardian has pieces on how the web is changing Africa and 15 innovations that are transforming the continent. Meanwhile the Economist has a fascinating piece on mobile technologies in Kenya. Some …

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10 Challenges to 'business as usual' for development agencies: FP2P flashback

admin - August 18, 2011

OMG, nearly three years on and almost everything on this list would still be on today’s version. But at least I could point to progress, in the shape of specific bits of thinking, reseach and/or programming. on nearly all of them. What new additions would go on today’s list, I wonder? Domestic taxation; resource scarcity and planetary boundaries; the damage wrought by an excessively large …

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