In an article last month in the Boston Review, Kentaro Toyama, a former computer scientist for Microsoft turned ICT4D promoter, confronts the limits of technological solutions to development problems:
The most recent ILO estimates—from January of this year—put global job losses between 2007 and 2009 at 34 million. This, of course, is on top of the many people who continue to have a job but have seen their hours (and wages) slashed. Some persuasive research indicates that reduced hours was more of an issue than outright job losses in middle-income countries.
Or at least, that’s what a former boss of mine used to say. Undeterred by his wise advice, I was totally won over when Bryan Sivak, DC’s Chief Technology Officer, came to the World Bank a couple of months ago to present his vision of a Civic Commons, under the tagline of “sharing technologies for the public good”. Here is how Civic Commons’ recently launched website summarises the objectives of the initiative:
Over on the All About Finance blog, Bilal Zia provides a comprehensive roundup of what we know about the impact of financial literacy programs. As Zia points out, there are a lot of reasons to believe that financial literacy is important, but evaluations of financial literacy programs have so far produced lackluster results.
In a previous post, I introduced the concept of development’s information shadow (mediated from Tim O’Reilly), arguing that the development world will gradually produce an increasing amount of digital data with a relationship to real world objects (think, for example, of a digital map of safe drinking water sources in a given location).
No summer lull for the Development 2.0 world, it would seem, judging from recent activity: from Richard Heeks’ paper on Development 2.0: Transformative ICT-Enabled Development Models and Impacts to a comprehensive checklist comparing “old school development” with Development 2.0 aid; from Idealware’s
Low-carbon FDI in areas such as renewables, recycling and low-carbon technology manufacturing is already large (some $90 billion in 2009), but its potential is huge. This is one of the conclusions of UNCTAD’s 2010 World Investment Report, released last month. The report is the most recent in an annual series exploring the latest trends and prospects for FDI flows and recent policy changes, and also offers a deeper analysis of a topically relevant issue of the day.
Humanitarian aid is not a standard topic for the PSD Blog, but I ran across a post recently on the disaster in Haiti that cuts across a lot of themes. Over at iRevolution, Patrick Philip Meier discusses the tension between those who helped crowdsource information related to the disaster -- what he calls the crowd-sorcerers -- and the formal humanitarian aid organizations -- playfully called "muggles".
OK, the title is deliberatively provocative. But I found a coincidence of two blog posts last week to be quite powerful. Last week we had a blog post from Dave Snowden that challenged the "data to information, information to knowledge and wisdom" continuum that has informed so many of the knowledge management efforts in the non-profit and public sector:
Back in December, I asked whether the World Bank ought to consider offering its staff phones that can run apps that utilize new augmented reality tech