Topic: Technology

What can the aid business learn from Google v Death?

Benjamin Franklin famously said ‘nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes’. Google begs to differ. On both. First it becomes a byword for tax avoidance, and now it’s taking on death too, according to an article on Time Magazine’s techland blog. Time interviewed Google CEO Larry Page on the latest in […]

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When do Transparency and Accountability Initiatives have impact?

So having berated ODI about opening up access to its recent issue of the Development Policy Review on Transparency and Accountability Initiatives (TAIs), I really ought to review the overview piece by John Gaventa and Rosemary McGee, which they’ve made freely available until December. The essay is well worth reading. It unpicks the fuzzy concept […]

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Creating a splash with Data Diving

Over a July weekend in London four charities and more than 80 data professionals took part in a “DataDive”, organized by DataKind UK. Ricardo, Richard and Simone from Oxfam’s Research Team (see pic of handsome hunks below) went along. Here’s what happened. If you came to London for a weekend during the best summer since […]

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The future of Agriculture: useful teaching resource/briefing on current debates

If you’re looking for a teaching resource on current debates on agriculture and development, take a look at ‘The Future of Agriculture’, a rather goodsynthesis of a two week online debate hosted by Oxfam last December. The paper, written by Maya Manzi and Gine Zwart, has a 10 page summary of the 23 posts and […]

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Why NGOs label technology as nasty or nice

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, […]

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Why you should become a development blogger. And some thoughts on how to enjoy it.

I think it’s time for some new development bloggers. Lots of new voices to oxygenate a sphere that is starting to feel a little stale. Let’s see if I can persuade you to sign up (NGO types tend not to jump at the chance). First the benefits: A blog is like a cumulative, realtime download […]

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Should ODI bite the open access bullet for its journals? Response to last week’s rant on the Academic Spring

Nick Scott, Interim Head of Communications at ODI, patiently responds to last week’s post complaining that ODI is hiding its treasure behind a paywall. Also, ODI tweeted yesterday to say that the latest issue of its Development Policy Review, (on the effectiveness of transparency and accountability initiatives), which prompted the initial rant  is now ungated […]

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Are the wheels coming off the BRICS juggernaut?

Nouriel Roubini (aka Doctor Doom) and the Economist cover story on the same topic? It must be serious. The issue is whether the glitter is coming off the BRICS growth surge. First the Economist: ‘China will be lucky if it manages to hit its official target of 7.5% growth in 2013, a far cry from […]

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Could crowdsourcing fund activists as well as goats and hairdressers?

I’ve often wondered if Oxfam or other large INGOs could include the option of sponsoring an activist, either as something to accompany the goats, toilets, chickens etc that people now routinely buy each other for Christmas, or instead of sponsoring a child. I had vague ideas about people signing up to sponsor an activist in […]

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What kind of science do we need for the aid and post-2015 agenda?

Spent an intriguing evening last week speaking on a panel at the wonderful Royal Society (Isaac Newton and all that), on the links between the post-2015 agenda and science. The audience was from the government/science interface – people with job titles like ‘Head of Extreme Events’. I talked (powerpoint here – keep clicking) about how […]

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Impressions of North America’s aid and development scene: the good, the bad and the ugly

Just got back from a two week immersion in the US & Canada aid and development scene (well, the East Coast version, anyway). Boston, New York,Washington and Ottawa, talking at universities, NGOs, multilaterals and aid agencies and experiencing a wonk version of groundhog day + powerpoint, brought on by giving the same presentation 16 times […]

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Blogging in big bureaucracies round two: the view from the World Bank

Had a useful discussion with the World Bank’s social media team this week, off the back of Tuesday’s post on the struggles that the UN seems to behavingin getting its people blogging (actually, the comments on that post suggest there are lots of UN blogs, but most of them seem to be outside New York). […]

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