You are walking inside a mall when suddenly you feel the call of nature. What do you do? You desperately look for signs pointing to the nearest toilet. But what if you are not in the mall? What if you are in an unfamiliar place, then what? Worse, what if you are on the road in a remote location?
Fortunately, there’s an app for this kind of emergency. The Imodium Toilet Tracker is a handy thing to have. With just one check on your smart phone, your problem is solved – a toilet is located for you and a crisis is averted. After finding a toilet however, the next thing you would be concerned about is the availability of toilet paper and/or running water.
During the 2011 World Bank Annual Meetings, we decided to give the highest visibility to the topic of gender equality in connection with the World Development Report 2012.
The report details the need of the world to close the big gender gaps that exist in order to pursue a path of true development for many countries. There is global progress, for example, in education.
But in other metrics, the data on gender equality is appalling:
Worldwide, women make up the majority of unpaid workers. And violence against women is still widespread.
This spring the World Bank will partner with the Government of Moldova and a range of stakeholders to organize a competitive Open Innovation Hackathon focused on the reuse of open data in Moldova. This is more than just another apps competition, which generate both enthusiasm and skepticism for their ability to promote innovative and sustainable reuse of open data.
To find innovative solutions to water and sanitation development challenges, the World Bank and the Water and Sanitation Program are reaching out to new, rather unlikely partners. Computer programmers, designers and other information technology specialists were invited by the World Bank and various technology partners to compete for 48 hours in 10 cities around the world this month. Their aim: to create the easily deployable, scalable, and sustainable technological tools that respond to specific water and sanitation challenges in developing countries.
A little over a year ago, I wrote on this blog that communicative norms on the use of social media were shifting around, but would eventually settle down. This would happen, I argued rather naïvely, as patterns and preferences of user communities determined the contours and content of fast changing information and communication ecologies. I should also have said that vested interests –both good and bad--would attempt to exert influence on this process.
We’ve all probably come across stories of the ways in which news and media organizations, businesses, schools, and international donors have been struggling to remain relevant within shifting information environments around the world. So have governments, parliaments, and bureaucracies. Much has been written about these struggles for relevance, and a dominant theme in much of this writing has been the need to provide users with tools to manage unrelenting information gluts.
(Also available in Chinese)
As an economist monitoring the macroeconomic developments of the Chinese economy, dealing with data is one of my main jobs. I am so happy that now I have a new tool to handle data and make economic analysis. It is the World Bank Open Data platform launched recently. Based on my user experience till now, I found two features of it are specially worth highlighting: