Topic: Technology

What are the politics of our survival as a species? Introducing the Climate Change Trilemma

So a physicist, an anthropologist, and two political economists have lunch in the LSE canteen and start arguing about climate change….. I was (very notionally) the physicist; my other lunchtime companions were Robert Wade, Teddy Brett and Jason Hickel (the anthropologist). Jason was arguing for degrowth and reminded me of the excellent debate on this […]

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To Uber or not to Uber? That is Your Question

OK, I’m probably going to regret this but… should I use Uber taxis? I got into a big argument about this in Canada last week, not that there was a uniform position – Ellie the Oxfam Canada campaigner sees Uber as the spawn of the devil, while Ifthia the fund raiser has an Uber-driver Dad. […]

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Should the Gates Foundation Do Data Differently?

Spent a fascinating day last week talking to staff at the Gates Foundation at its HQ in a cold, grey and sleety Seattle (felt quite at home). I presented the book in one of those ‘brownbag lunches’ that Americans love (although these days ‘clear plastic box lunches’ would be more accurate), and we then got […]

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How Change Happens one year on – the stats, the suffering and the power of Open Access

It’s a year to the day since How Change Happens was published (I made the mistake of putting ‘narcissistic peak’ in my diary, and my wife Cathy saw it – never heard the end of it). Here’s what’s happened since. First the stats: the headline figure is that in the first year, the book has […]

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Should we boycott gated journals on social media? How about a pledge?

It’s International Open Access Week, so this seems a good time to post on something that’s been bugging me. I had a slightly tetchy exchange on twitter recently with someone (who wishes to remain anonymous) who sent me a link to their paper and asked me to circulate it if I liked it. Problem was […]

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What did I learn from a day with the UN’s bloggers?

Had a fun day earlier this week running a blogging workshop for Unicef researchers in their wonderful centre in Florence (I know, tough gig etc). I ran through what is rapidly becoming my standard powerpoint (here you go, feel free to steal or comment), but the most interesting (and exhausting) session was working through nine […]

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What does Artificial Intelligence mean for the future of poor countries?

What do the multiple overlapping new technologies currently breaking in tsunamis over the world’s economies and societies mean for the future of low and middle income countries (LMICs)? Last week I went along to a seminar (Chatham House Rule, so no names) on this topic, hoping for some interesting, preferably optimistic ideas and examples. I […]

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What can we learn from 7 successes in making markets work for poor people?

Hi everyone, I’m back from an August blog break, with lots of great reading to report back on. First up, if you’re even slightly interested in how markets can benefit poor people, I urge you to read Shaping Inclusive Markets, a new publication from FSG and Rockefeller. The 60 page document explains their approach to […]

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How might a systems approach change the way aid supports the knowledge sector in Indonesia?

For some reason, the summer months seem to involve a lot of cups of tea (and the occasional beer) with interesting people passing through London, often at my second office in Brixton. One of last week’s conversations was with Arnaldo Pellini, who has been working for ODI on a big ‘knowledge sector initiative’ in Indonesia. […]

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What has the iPhone got to do with inequality? New Oxfam Book Review blog

I often get asked for more book reviews on the blog (presumably to give readers the bluffer’s guide until they get round to reading the real thing, if ever). So very happy to see that Oxfam’s research wonks have started ‘Book Banter’ – a development book review service. Follow here. Any other good sources of development […]

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What’s the problem with Globalization?

Globalization, remember that? When I first entered the development NGO scene in the late 90s it was all the rage. Lots of rage. The anti-globalization movement roared from summit to summit. Academics traded books and papers that boosted or critiqued. The World Bank used voodoo modelling to show that really we’d all be better off […]

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Two days with the Radiographers of Power

Spent another couple of days with the International Budget Partnership (IBP) last week. If budgets sound boring and bean-counter ish, consider this quote from Rudolf Goldscheid: “the budget is the skeleton of the state stripped of all misleading ideologies.” Follow the money, because the rest is spin. The IBP trains and supports civil society organizations […]

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