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Have we Learned anything about Technology Enabled Country Growth?

 

February 28, 2013

Doug Haddden, VP Products

Many of us in the technology business have a visceral belief that Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can help drive country growth. [Sometimes called ICT for Development ICT4D with the major subset of M4D, Mobile for Development.] There are many outside the tech world who look at this believe as naive at best, misguided at worst. The skeptic can demand evidence and suggest that evidence provided is non-scientific, anecdotal, misleading, or doesn’t prove cause and effect.

Meanwhile, the evidence and lessons learned continue to mount.

And, practitioners continue to experiment and build good practices.

And, overcome challenges.

A case in point is the webinar hosted in Washington on this subject. Although there may have been some overly enthusiastic speakers with a touch of hyperbole, it was clear that speakers were far from naive.

That practitioners understand, accept, embrace and overcome ICT4D challenges.

ICT Innovation, Entrepreneurship for Growth via Government Intervention

Webinar earlier today provided lessons learned, challenges and opportunities to close the digital divide, build education, improve health and job creation.

Storified by · Thu, Feb 28 2013 08:45:18

Some observations:
1) Observations by practitioners may convince some technology Luddites that ICT may have positive development effects
2) There is a growing number of case studies showing development improvement that was ICT-based or partly ICT-based in developing countries but the developed country case studies on “government as platform” tend to be stuck to weather and GPS
3) Nevertheless, there is significant enthusiasm in countries like the US for the transformational potential of technology
4) We seem to have moved to a new phase in ICT4D that is far more evidence-based with lessons on overcoming the digital divide, outreach to civil society and minimizing costs
5) Challenges remain in both developed and developing countries. Bureaucracy distrusts the risks of innovation.  

Todd Park, US Government CTO provided an exciting keynote explaining the impact of innovation in government.

.@todd_park shocked, stunned & delighted on progress in #WH gov tech incubation #wbliveFreeBalance
RT @WorldBankLive "@todd_park says: the most innovative entrepreneurial experience I’ve ever had is at the US Gov" #WBLive #SmartDevSamuel Wong
reflections of #WH #hackathon http://civic.mit.edu/blog/kanarinka/reflections-on-the-first-hackathon-at-the-white-house via @kanarinka #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park notion of CTO office in #WH as a tech incubator #wblive to ‘advance the national good’FreeBalance
.@todd_park: #Obama believes that technology needed for economic growth #wbliveFreeBalance
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has great promise in country growth, reducing climate impact, improving health and education. Mobile technology seems to be a major driver for this.
@rkyte365 ICTs can be used to help achieve #climatechange objectives, green tech – analytics, efficiencies #wbliveFreeBalance
"ICT has to be fundamental in avoiding a 4 degree world" per @rkyte365, limiting #climatechange is for the world, and the World Bank #WBliveWorld Bank Live
.@rkyte365 challenge is to make ICT more inclusive, ICT turnover = #Germany #GDP #wbliveFreeBalance
"@rkyte365 says: Virtually no smart product or service can exist without ICTs" it is a sector that matters. #WBlive #SmartDevWorld Bank Live
.@rkyte365 #Africa #mobile market larger than US or EU #wbliveFreeBalance
.@rkyte365 40% of #WorldBank projects have ICT component #wbliveFreeBalance
.@rkyte365 ICT should not create set of digital haves and havenots #wblive #digitaldivideFreeBalance
.@rkyte365 ICT has a role through analytics to bring science back into the development debate #wbliveFreeBalance
More on the US experience from @todd_park:
.@todd_park #Obama #geek quotient high, but looks at how tech improves lives #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park #WH adopted the #lean startup philosophy b/c of change requirement in area of uncertainty #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park #lean about small teams where ops, strategy & tech are not separate parts of a project but integrated #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park invite the #geeks in early in #lean #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park focus groups & market research unable to come up with net new innovation, good for incremental improvement #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park open #innovation is about Joy’s Law where majority of smart people work for diff orgs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joy’s_Law_(management) #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park everything in government can be improved via tech #innovation #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park #WH #innovation fellows operate til tech change shows on-the-ground success & is successful "incubator for public good" #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park most exciting entrepreneurial experience working for US federal gov’t, has scale but not known for velocity #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park describing the government as platform cases of weather & GPS #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park #GPS generates $1B of business per year without any other gov intervention, just tip of the iceberg #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park data treasures of the US gov like the final scene of Raiders of the Lost Arc #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park #WH tech incubator not #geek projects run by geeks in a geek corner #wbliveFreeBalance
.@todd_park don’t consider ICT as a box, silo off to the side looking at solving tech problems #wbliveFreeBalance
Experiences and challenges in developing countries from:
Jean-Philbert Nsengimana, Minister of ICT and Youth, Rwanda
Edward Omane Boamah, Minister of Communications, Ghana
Bikesh Kurmangaliyeva, Deputy Chairperson of the Board, “Zerde” National ICT Holding, Kazakhstan
Shantayanan Devarajan, Chief Economist, Africa region, World Bank
Nsengimana: #Rwanda background of gov e-services, #broadband use & moving youth to economics portfolio #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: the "connect" agenda in #Rwanda mostly complete so gov shifted focus from tech to smart solutions #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: #Rwanda moved from 2% to 59% phone penetration, needed to get private sector involved to reduce #digitaldivide #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: #Rwanda #ICT4D agenda must show job creation #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: every #ICT4D #innovation needs to be demand driven #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: #SmartRwanda includes smart governance #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/YT10TE8k4PFreeBalance
Nsengimana: rural populations want ICT services, willing to pay but not always able to pay #wbliveFreeBalance
#Rwanda Minister of #ICT Nsengimana about refocusing on #SmartDev solutions through SPREAD framework #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/uLNLWjkjzIOleg Petrov
#ICT Minister @nsengimanajp #SmartDev in #Rwanda should start from Smart Villages and then scale to whole country and continent #wbliveOleg Petrov
Nsengimana: challenge to bring #ICT4D to rural areas where people make less than $2 day thru entrepreneurship #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: can put ‘i’ in front of anything to make it #innovation, but how do you create a sustainable company out of it? #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: #ICT4D not always about creating jobs, job creation comes via tech #innovation in agriculture, government #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: success in #ICT4D business in rural areas needs #IBM ‘smart’ philosophy brought to village level #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: need for entrepreneurs who can scale business at the bottom of the pyramid to leverage #ICT4D #wbliveFreeBalance
#ICT Minister of #Ghana: #SmartDev solutions for health and education are top priority for next stage of #eGov http://pic.twitter.com/o07vcQqJbQOleg Petrov
.@omaneboamah Minister of Communications #Ghana speaking on gov #ICT4D & #transparency vision #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/fJaum9VL3MFreeBalance
.@omaneboamah connecting #ICT4D for improvements to #health sector #wbliveFreeBalance
.@omaneboamah #ghana 24.5M has about 18M active #mobile users, trying to extend to rural areas #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/TI8767fCskFreeBalance
.@omaneboamah eGhana GCNET showed increases in revenue generation for customs #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/19eOx88ymZFreeBalance
.@omaneboamah #eGhana is a $56M project for #egov and IT infrastructureFreeBalance
.@omaneboamah #Ghana next #ICT4D frontier includes distribution of free laptops to students #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/nvvDVJciZoFreeBalance
discussion of scaling #ICT4D success in villages #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: scaling #ICT4D requires adaptable tech solutions #wblive [what we call ‘progressive activation’]FreeBalance
Nsengimana: ICT awareness campaign, led by private sector with entertainment gets citizen feedback & adoption #wbliveFreeBalance
Nsengimana: #ICT4D outreach to people without phones or smartphones through radio, roadshows #wbliveFreeBalance
Bikesh Kurmangaliyeva describing smart #Kazakhstan program, 2020 goals #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/ievAhwLTrmFreeBalance
Kurmangaliyeva: major #ICT4D growth #Kazakhstan is lack of ICT professionals & capacity of ICT professionals #wbliveFreeBalance
Kurmangaliyeva: how can higher education change to support increase in #ICT capacity in #Kazakhstan? #wbliveFreeBalance
Philippines #wblive: lack of information, access & capacity of #civilsociety makes them less effectiveFreeBalance
Philippines #wblive: people-centred ICT is needed to leverage tech for developmentFreeBalance
Philippines #wblive: ICT can be embedded in citizen lives with transformational effectFreeBalance
Impossible 2 speak about #ICT w/out bringing in #economics. @WorldBank Chief #Africa economist has the floor #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/UhCcDNFalhZhenia Viatchaninova
Philippines #wblive: fiscal #transparency helps improve #governanceFreeBalance
#Philippines Gov. representative delivers remarks @WorldBankICT Solutions Day. #wblive #smartdev. Have Qs to him? Post ’em!Zhenia Viatchaninova
Shantayanan Devarajan: #ICT in #Africa has been a successful example of transformation & growth #wbliveFreeBalance
Devarajan #wblive: #Africa #ICT sector reform is lesson for other sectorsFreeBalance
Devarajan: deregulation of #Africa #ICT created growth except for #Ethiopia #wbliveFreeBalance
Devarajan: very few Africans unemployed, they are working hard in informal sector, need to improve productivity thru #ICT4D #wbliveFreeBalance
Andrew Stott, former CTO and Deputy CIO, UK Government had some very interesting observations on the nature of ICT innovation in government
watch out, as you scale innovative ideas in big orgs, the bureaucracy strikes back!! – Andrew Stott @DirDigEng #smartdev #wbliveMerrick Schaefer
.@DirDigEng somewhere the idea you have has already been worked on, need to get #innovation diffusion #wbliveFreeBalance
@DirDigEng why #smartgov? We cannot tolerate dumb gov anymore! Andrew Stott at #@WorldBank #smartdev #wblive http://pic.twitter.com/uIim961UXlOleg Petrov
.@DirDigEng need to rethink classic gov ideas of big vendors, lock-in that work against #innovation #wbliveFreeBalance
interesting observations by @DirDigEng on the intolerance of #innovation in gov – the empire strikes back #wbliveFreeBalance
.@DirDigEng need for an #innovation ecosystem in and out of government, not a committee process, try multiple things #wbliveFreeBalance

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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