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An inconvenient truth?

Exactly ten years ago this month I was preparing for my first ever piece of work in mobile, two years of work which would lead to the development of an innovative conservation service in 2003 – wildlive! – and the release of one of the earliest reports [PDF] on the application of mobile technology in conservation and development in 2004. A lot has happened since then, not least an explosion in interest, buzz, excitement – and, yes, hype – and a sense that mobile can be the saviour of, well, everything. Back then you’d likely be able to fit everyone working in mobile-for-development (m4d) into a small cafe. Today you’d need at least a football stadium. m4d – and it’s big brother, ICT4D – have become big business.

Not that I needed more proof of mobile’s status at development’s top table, earlier this week I attended Vodafone’s “Mobile for Good” Summit in London. It was a high-profile affair, and an extremely upbeat one at that. I left with mixed feelings about where m4d is headed.

My five takeaways after a day of talks, debates and demonstrations were:

1. Everyone is still excited by the potential of mobile
2. The same projects surface over and over again as proof mobile works
3. Mobile is still largely seen as a solution, not a tool

4. It’s up to the developed world to get mobile working for the poor
5. The top-down mindset is alive and well

Suffice to say, all of these conclusions troubled me as I sat on the train home.

I’ve been thinking for some time about the future of m4d, and how far we’ve got over the past ten years or so. I’ve written frequently about the opportunities mobile technology offers the development community, and my fears that we may end up missing a golden opportunity (see Time to eat our own dog food?” from March 2009). I’ve long been a champion of platforms, and understanding how we might build tools for problem owners to take and deploy on their own terms. Yes, we should provide local entrepreneurs and grassroots non-profits with tools – and where appropriate and requested, expertise – but we shouldn’t develop solutions to problems we don’t understand, we shouldn’t take ownership of a problem that isn’t ours and we certainly shouldn’t build things thousands of miles away and then jump on a plane in search of a home for them.

But this is still, on the whole, what seems to be happening. And this, I’m beginning to believe, is rapidly becoming ICT4D’s “inconvenient truth”.

A fulfilled future for ICT4D (of which m4d is an increasingly dominant part) is not the one I see playing out today. It’s future is not in the hands of western corporates or international NGOs meeting in high-profile gatherings, and it’s not in our education establishments who keep busy training computer scientists and business graduates in the West to fix the problems of ‘others’. The whole development agenda is shifting, and my prediction for the future sees a major disconnect between what ‘we’ think needs to be done, and what those closest to the problems think needs to be done. Call it “disruptive development“, if you like. As I told the Guardian in an interview earlier this month:

The rise of homegrown solutions to development problems will be most crucial in future. That means African software developers increasingly designing and developing solutions to African problems, many of which have previously been tackled by outsiders. This, I think, will be the biggest change in how development is ’done’

I’m not the only person to be saying this. Many good friends working at the intersection of African development and technology have been doing the same for some time. The real change, and the big difference, is that it’s finally happening. A message which was previously given in hope, a message that was previously given out of an inherent belief that there was a better, more respectful and appropriate way of doing things, is now becoming reality. ICT4D is changing, and the balance of power is changing with it.

FrontlineSMS has always spoken to an approach I’ve long believed in, one where users are empowered to develop solutions to their own problems if they so wish. There are many reasons why FrontlineSMS continues to work – the decision of the new Management Team to shift software development to Nairobi is one of the more recent ones. But fundamentally it’s about what the platform does (and doesn’t do) that really resonates with innovators, entrepreneurs, non-profits and problem owners across the developing world. As the Guardian put it in the recent article, “As open-source technology for mobile platforms, innovations like FrontlineSMS are essentially a blank canvas for grassroots organisations to apply to any local context”.

That local context is becoming increasingly vibrant as university students across Africa graduate with Computer Science and Business Management degrees; as innovation hubs spring up across the continent meeting a growing, insatiable demand for places to meet, work and network with like-minded problem solvers and entrepreneurs; and as investors launch funds that show they’re starting to take young African tech startups seriously.

This activity hasn’t escaped big business. Google, IBM, Microsoft, Nokia, Hewlett Packard and Samsung have been opening offices across the continent, snapping up much of the talent in the process (ironically often at the expense – and despair – of locally-based NGOs). But while technology businesses take note and develop local capacity that enables them to develop more appropriate local solutions, the broader development ‘community’ seem trapped in an older mindset of technology transfer.

Technology transfer, of course, is big business – there’s no shortage of donor money out there for projects that seek to implement the latest and greatest proven Western innovations in a development context, and there are countless tens of thousands of jobs that keep the whole machine running. A lot has to change if the development community is to face up to all its new realities, yet it’s looking more likely that the destiny of the discipline lies in the hands of the very people it originally set out to help.

So, if the future of ICT4D is not university students, NGOs or business graduates devising solutions in labs and hubs thousands of miles away from their intended users, what is it?

Well, how about something a little more like this?

It seems rather obvious to put a local technology entrepreneur on a bus and have him chat to a rural farmer, but imagine what might be possible if this approach became the “new ICT4D”, not that the entrepreneur or the farmer would see it as that, or ‘development’ at all. You can see more of the fascinating TV series which linked local technologists to local problems on the TVE website. There’s a lot that’s right with this approach, particularly if you consider what would usually happen (hint: it involves planes).

I’m not usually one for making predictions but it is that time of year, after all, and it is my ten year anniversary in mobile. So here’s a biggie.

Development is changing, powered by accessible and affordable liberating technologies and an emerging army of determined, local talent. A local talent that is gradually acquiring the skills, resources and support it needs to take back ownership of many of its problems – problems it never took original ownership of because those very skills and resources were not available.

Well, now they are. The ICT4D community – education establishments, donors and technologists among them – need to collectively recognise that it needs to ajdust to this new reality, and work with technologists, entrepreneurs and grassroots non-profits across the developing world to accelerate what has become an inevitable shift. Or it can continue as it is, and become increasingly irrelevant. “Innovate or die” doesn’t just apply to the technologies plied by the ICT4D community. It applies to the ICT4D community itself.

[This post was edited down and republished in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in January 2013 here].

Further reading
m4d: The fun is over. Time to get tough?

130 comments

1 Ken Banks { 12.12.12 at 5:13 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth? http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

2 changefeed { 12.12.12 at 5:14 pm }

->@kiwanja: An inconvenient truth? http://t.co/Y2FYFuj3

3 Veena Gowda { 12.12.12 at 5:14 pm }

An inconvenient truth?: Exactly ten years ago this month I was preparing for my first ever piece of work in mobi… http://t.co/skLmaiLv

4 Ken Banks { 12.12.12 at 5:16 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

5 Shikoh { 12.12.12 at 5:17 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

6 J. Nathan Matias { 12.12.12 at 5:20 pm }

"Top down is alive & well" MT @kiwanja: Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community http://t.co/i8EllZbO #m4d

7 Erik Hersman { 12.12.12 at 5:24 pm }

“An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/7Uo7cuX7 (by @kiwanja)

8 Jaume Fortuny { 12.12.12 at 5:28 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth? http://t.co/6ubGgweG #m4d

9 giantpandinha { 12.12.12 at 5:29 pm }

New @kiwanja post http://t.co/PvJlai0R Rxn: #ICT4D label only useful for convening interesting people in LDN – I don't use it for much else

10 Mercy Deche { 12.12.12 at 5:30 pm }

“An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/7Uo7cuX7 (by @kiwanja)

11 Liberationtech { 12.12.12 at 5:49 pm }

#ICT4D & #M4D's inconvenient truth? http://t.co/sTWw6ArO by @Kiwanja #Development #GlobalDev

12 E.S.W. { 12.12.12 at 5:50 pm }

#ICT4D & #M4D's inconvenient truth? http://t.co/sTWw6ArO by @Kiwanja #Development #GlobalDev

13 bucth { 12.12.12 at 5:51 pm }

"Top down is alive & well" MT @kiwanja: Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community http://t.co/i8EllZbO #m4d

14 Merryl Ford { 12.12.12 at 5:57 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

15 Heather Horst { 12.12.12 at 6:14 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

16 Martin Scott { 12.12.12 at 6:19 pm }

"Top down is alive & well" MT @kiwanja: Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community http://t.co/i8EllZbO #m4d

17 African Entrepreneur { 12.12.12 at 6:20 pm }

An inconvenient truth of #ICT4D http://t.co/96PUOemn by @kiwanja

18 CCPP Africa { 12.12.12 at 6:21 pm }

An inconvenient truth of #ICT4D http://t.co/A9uCP223

19 HeatherLeson { 12.12.12 at 6:36 pm }

Well said RT @whiteafrican: “An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/TiYMOfmk (by @kiwanja)

20 Ted McCarthy { 12.12.12 at 6:46 pm }

Interesting article on #ictd and #m4d: An inconvenient truth? http://t.co/Yd52rTA8

21 Ted McCarthy { 12.12.12 at 6:48 pm }

Interesting post from @kiwanja on #ictd and #m4d: An inconvenient truth? http://t.co/Yd52rTA8

22 Christopher Gore { 12.12.12 at 6:57 pm }

Well said RT @whiteafrican: “An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/TiYMOfmk (by @kiwanja)

23 Rapelang Rabana { 12.12.12 at 7:10 pm }

RT @whiteafrican “An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/1cL2dUnY (by @kiwanja)

24 Trevor Knoblich { 12.12.12 at 7:51 pm }

Well said. RT @kiwanja: Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community. http://t.co/JX65Ni9z #m4d

25 Roy G. Volkwyn { 12.12.12 at 8:15 pm }

RT @whiteafrican “An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/1cL2dUnY (by @kiwanja)

26 web2fordev { 12.12.12 at 8:21 pm }
27 web2fordev { 12.12.12 at 8:22 pm }

An inconvenient truth? | Build it Kenny, and they will come… http://t.co/uZDZ9PtF

28 Josef { 12.12.12 at 9:20 pm }

RT @whiteafrican: “An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/ZISvg79N (by @kiwanja)

29 MobileActive { 12.12.12 at 9:35 pm }

While @kiwanja makes some good points in 'Inconvenient truth abt ICT4D" he provides no data for his claims: http://t.co/xbNiI6ON

30 Philip Auerswald { 12.12.12 at 10:11 pm }

@kiwanja nails it again: "The same projects surface over and over again as proof mobile works." What next? … http://t.co/eGFlP3xr

31 alfred mukudu { 12.12.12 at 10:37 pm }

While @kiwanja makes some good points in 'Inconvenient truth abt ICT4D" he provides no data for his claims: http://t.co/xbNiI6ON

32 Tom Marentette { 12.12.12 at 10:40 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth http://t.co/giiw7om5 #m4d

33 Online Africa { 12.12.12 at 11:16 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

34 An inconvenient truth? | Global Health Hub: news and blogosphere aggregator { 12.13.12 at 1:09 am }

[...] Follow this link: An inconvenient truth? [...]

35 Tayo Akinyemi { 12.13.12 at 4:30 am }

“An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/7Uo7cuX7 (by @kiwanja)

36 Ian Froude { 12.13.12 at 4:53 am }

an inconvenient truth? http://t.co/yzoBEw9G #ICT4D

37 Ritse Erumi { 12.13.12 at 5:40 am }

Drive-by #ICT4D? An inconvenient truth? A timely piece by @kiwanja on the need and rise of homegrown solutions: http://t.co/0br8B0Jj

38 Adele ツ { 12.13.12 at 6:59 am }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth? http://t.co/NO29e9tu #m4d

39 Mark Horner { 12.13.12 at 7:03 am }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth? http://t.co/NO29e9tu #m4d

40 Tom Vandenbosch { 12.13.12 at 7:23 am }

The inconvenient truth about #ICT4D by @kiwanja can easily be expanded to the whole #development sector http://t.co/xNP1c6ZF

41 Pooja Kishnani { 12.13.12 at 7:44 am }

The inconvenient truth about #ICT4D by @kiwanja can easily be expanded to the whole #development sector http://t.co/xNP1c6ZF

42 Sukaina Walji { 12.13.12 at 9:22 am }

"@adele_b: Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth? http://t.co/0BYOdS4x #m4d"

43 Liya Dejene Altaye { 12.13.12 at 10:34 am }

Top story: An inconvenient truth? | Build it Kenny, and they will come… http://t.co/sko2eK8I, see more http://t.co/tPzBVc34

44 Tony Roberts { 12.13.12 at 11:11 am }

An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development @kiwanja http://t.co/IpKi39Fk #ict4d #innovation

45 Kelly Royds { 12.13.12 at 11:12 am }

An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development @kiwanja http://t.co/IpKi39Fk #ict4d #innovation

46 hii Dunia { 12.13.12 at 11:21 am }

“@Andrejcisneros: An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development http://t.co/aNzIoAJR #ict4d”

47 Sarah Pseudonym { 12.13.12 at 11:26 am }

An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development @kiwanja http://t.co/IpKi39Fk #ict4d #innovation

48 Anna Colom { 12.13.12 at 11:31 am }

An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development @kiwanja http://t.co/IpKi39Fk #ict4d #innovation

49 giulio quaggiotto { 12.13.12 at 11:32 am }

An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development @kiwanja http://t.co/IpKi39Fk #ict4d #innovation

50 Paul Polak and team { 12.13.12 at 11:34 am }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

51 François Laureys { 12.13.12 at 11:43 am }

An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development http://t.co/OWqPKsuo #ict4d #innovation"

52 Ken Banks { 12.13.12 at 11:51 am }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

53 Chris Frey { 12.13.12 at 11:56 am }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

54 Branding Africa { 12.13.12 at 11:56 am }

rt @kiwanja: How local communities r retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/aOs7SfEp

55 An inconvenient truth? | Build it Kenny, and they will come... | Critical reflection on media and development | Scoop.it { 12.13.12 at 11:57 am }

[...] The rise of homegrown solutions to development problems will be most crucial in future. That means African software developers increasingly designing and developing solutions to African problems, many of which have previously been tackled by outsiders. This, I think, will be the biggest change in how development is ’done’…  [...]

56 Kate Bomdiggity { 12.13.12 at 11:58 am }

#Mustread RT: An inconvenient truth on #ICT4D by @Kiwanja http://t.co/R1JHjWya

57 Paul Collins { 12.13.12 at 11:59 am }

rt @kiwanja: How local communities r retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/aOs7SfEp

58 peterballantyne { 12.13.12 at 12:00 pm }

#ict4ag – inconvenient truths? @kiwanja argues that local talent is where the action is … and will be!
http://t.co/GoyD2PoE

59 Robert Kibaya { 12.13.12 at 12:01 pm }

#ict4ag – inconvenient truths? @kiwanja argues that local talent is where the action is … and will be!
http://t.co/GoyD2PoE

60 Nick Kaufmann { 12.13.12 at 12:04 pm }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

61 tina { 12.13.12 at 12:06 pm }

the most successful examples of homegrown innovation don’t resemble not for profits or charities but rather are based on making good money from interesting platforms that address market opportunities. good business and business for good philosophy. that is the future.

62 Laura Walker Hudson { 12.13.12 at 12:08 pm }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

63 Emeka Azuka Okoye { 12.13.12 at 12:08 pm }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

64 Jackie Davies { 12.13.12 at 12:09 pm }

An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development @kiwanja http://t.co/IpKi39Fk #ict4d #innovation

65 Peel.Disraeli.MumBi { 12.13.12 at 12:10 pm }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

66 ICT { 12.13.12 at 12:20 pm }

An inconvenient truth for ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development @kiwanja http://t.co/IpKi39Fk #ict4d #innovation

67 Niti Bhan { 12.13.12 at 12:31 pm }

An inconvenient truth? Mobile4Good http://t.co/UWhoXdEc (Read his takeaways, thats really what needs changing for real impact. Thx @kiwanja)

68 Niti Bhan { 12.13.12 at 12:34 pm }

And I’ve only been watching for the past 6 years or so. Great thoughts, Ken, this top down, imported solution attitude is what I’m seeing in my current project related to development, not even mobile but agriculture! How do we change the approach to problem solving? A new process?

69 Mark Wood { 12.13.12 at 12:58 pm }

An inconvenient truth? Mobile4Good http://t.co/UWhoXdEc (Read his takeaways, thats really what needs changing for real impact. Thx @kiwanja)

70 preetiraghunath { 12.13.12 at 1:05 pm }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

71 CITYNET事務局 { 12.13.12 at 1:30 pm }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

72 Njambi Ngunjiri { 12.13.12 at 1:33 pm }

Local talent acquiring skills&resources, Owning its problems @kiwanja on the future of #ICT4D "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/6hjhGtSw

73 Ned Breslin { 12.13.12 at 1:54 pm }

Brilliant @kiwanja, brilliant! Tough, uncomfortable questions for ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/bzBTM8ft #m4d

74 Ian Thorpe { 12.13.12 at 2:25 pm }

.@kiwanja shares some inconvenient truths about the current state of Mobile 4 Development http://t.co/I1etKW83

75 Subir Dey { 12.13.12 at 2:26 pm }

RT @ithorpe: @kiwanja shares some inconvenient truths about the current state of Mobile 4 Development http://t.co/AcuMpqmE #ict4d

76 Worldreader { 12.13.12 at 2:37 pm }

How local communities are retaking control of their own, and Africas, development. "An inconvenient truth". http://t.co/IKpCHeJu

77 Norman Hooper { 12.13.12 at 2:58 pm }

RT @whiteafrican: “An Inconvenient Truth” on ICT4D – http://t.co/ZISvg79N (by @kiwanja)

78 Keith Williams { 12.13.12 at 3:05 pm }

Helpful reminder that mobile is a tool, not the solution http://t.co/Bf28lsVX #mobmin

79 Bart Doorneweert { 12.13.12 at 3:12 pm }

An inconvenient truth? Mobile4Good http://t.co/UWhoXdEc (Read his takeaways, thats really what needs changing for real impact. Thx @kiwanja)

80 Ken Banks { 12.13.12 at 3:25 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

81 Mark Benjamin { 12.13.12 at 3:39 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/YxUUTR6i #m4

82 PopTech { 12.13.12 at 3:39 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

83 Ernesto Gluecksmann { 12.13.12 at 3:43 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

84 Leland Smith { 12.13.12 at 3:45 pm }

"The top-down mindset is alive and well" @kiwanja on #m4d http://t.co/puTC10P8

85 Prefontaine { 12.13.12 at 4:02 pm }

.@kiwanja rips into #ICT4D & #M4D. #DesignThinking-esque approach suggested. I'd add #hackerspaces + @makerfairafrica http://t.co/bOAgUmxt

86 ecantor { 12.13.12 at 4:14 pm }

Well stated & timely! RT “@kiwanja: Tough, uncomfortable questions for #ICT4D community. http://t.co/DpZ2DQtc #m4d” #enablement #socent

87 Jungwon Kim (김정원) { 12.13.12 at 4:29 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

88 librecréativité { 12.13.12 at 4:52 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

89 How Matters { 12.13.12 at 4:55 pm }

"If the future of ICT4D is not ppl devising solutions in hubs 1000s of miles away from the intended users, what is it?" http://t.co/nG3xkuTN

90 Victor d'Allant { 12.13.12 at 5:09 pm }

Must read: the top-down mindset is alive and well in #ICT4D, and other inconvenient truths about #mobile ~ @kiwanja http://t.co/iIiG6zMp

91 kdiga { 12.13.12 at 6:25 pm }

Interesting post from @kiwanja on #ictd and #m4d: An inconvenient truth? http://t.co/Yd52rTA8

92 Steve Finikiotis { 12.13.12 at 6:34 pm }

"Top down is alive & well" MT @kiwanja: Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community http://t.co/i8EllZbO #m4d

93 Samagra Sanitation { 12.13.12 at 7:03 pm }

Awesome, enlightening, thought provoking. #ICT4D & #M4D's inconvenient truth? http://t.co/uVqOuEOu by @Kiwanja #Development #GlobalDev

94 KM4Dev { 12.13.12 at 8:34 pm }

Todays KM4Dev-r: An inconvenient truth? | Build it Kenny, and they will come… http://t.co/LUxYwK8n, see more http://t.co/3NbexKCc

95 Holly Boardman { 12.13.12 at 10:01 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

96 Holly Boardman { 12.13.12 at 10:05 pm }

RT @TopsyRT:Disruptive Development- An inconvenient truth? http://t.co/yWhjU2UZ @nneelley

97 Jenny Aulin { 12.14.12 at 12:19 am }

"If the future of ICT4D is not ppl devising solutions in hubs 1000s of miles away from the intended users, what is it?" http://t.co/nG3xkuTN

98 Michael Riggs { 12.14.12 at 7:20 am }

RT @andrejcisneros: An inconvenient truth for #ICT4D? local innovation unsettles power relations of development http://t.co/ybC3mrzf

99 SidaICT4D { 12.14.12 at 8:33 am }

“An Inconvenient Truth” on #ICT4D by @kiwanja http://t.co/HL7LHE6C via @whiteafrican

100 Eric Tyler { 12.14.12 at 12:46 pm }

Worth reading: an inconvenient truth for #ICT4D by @kiwanja (#m4d veteran) http://t.co/SgSv50jT

101 GSMACPM { 12.14.12 at 2:05 pm }

RT @kiwanja Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community & an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/OjH481Om #m4d

102 GSMACPM { 12.14.12 at 3:45 pm }

B.Roy, Schumacher & Chambers would agree: "we shouldn’t develop solutions to problems we don’t understand" http://t.co/TC9tCSS2 via @kiwanja

103 Raymond June { 12.14.12 at 3:48 pm }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

104 Bruce Stronge { 12.15.12 at 6:21 am }

#ICT4D 's (Information and communication technologies for development) inconvenient truth – http://t.co/a9UF783k

105 Jonathan Lundqvist { 12.16.12 at 3:59 am }

Not inconvenient at all, me thinks, l but a welcome approach to #ict4d ownership. NGOs love sustainability. This is it. http://t.co/GSE6hB97

106 Elin Wallberg { 12.16.12 at 5:23 am }

Invonvenient #ICT4D and #development. can be applied to more debate in development http://t.co/oR6hWAQn”

107 Emrys Schoemaker { 12.16.12 at 5:57 am }

An Inconvenient Truth: @kiwanja on why Western developmentalists dont have the best answers, especially in #ICT4D: http://t.co/Bddk7Qox

108 Eko Prasetyo { 12.16.12 at 6:30 am }

An Inconvenient Truth: @kiwanja on why Western developmentalists dont have the best answers in #ICT4D: http://t.co/NlnPT97r via @emrys_s

109 samuel ndungu { 12.16.12 at 7:08 am }

An inconvenient truth? http://t.co/4u2conEU

110 victor sapar { 12.17.12 at 1:23 am }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

111 iDE { 12.17.12 at 8:38 am }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the ICT4D community, and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/HiAeKdXs #m4d rt…

112 Linda Raftree { 12.17.12 at 12:35 pm }

Good ones from @kiwanja http://t.co/xln5924z & @emergingfutures "Lowering barriers: Its about access, not device" http://t.co/5DZGtXaa

113 Roxanna Samii { 12.17.12 at 12:35 pm }

Good ones from @kiwanja http://t.co/xln5924z & @emergingfutures "Lowering barriers: Its about access, not device" http://t.co/5DZGtXaa

114 Maureen Agena { 12.17.12 at 10:43 pm }

While @kiwanja makes some good points in 'Inconvenient truth abt ICT4D" he provides no data for his claims: http://t.co/xbNiI6ON

115 mobileYouth Data { 12.18.12 at 12:00 am }

An inconvenient truth? How mobile can be used for social change. http://t.co/1fmR9lKt

116 William Evans { 12.18.12 at 12:28 am }

RT @TopsyRT: An inconvenient truth? http://t.co/PksW1akZ [In]convenient truths: the emergence of the local in ICT4D #ict4d

117 Niti Bhan { 12.18.12 at 6:00 am }

mT @meowtree: Good ones from @kiwanja http://t.co/RXSm5b7B & @emergingfutures " Its about access, not device" http://t.co/Ptz7dPLe

118 Daniella Ben-Attar { 12.18.12 at 7:23 am }

An inconvenient truth? How mobile can be used for social change. http://t.co/1fmR9lKt

119 ICT4PR { 12.18.12 at 9:13 am }

Times are changing. Tough, uncomfortable questions for the #ICT4D community and an inconvenient truth. http://t.co/IKpCHeJu #m4d

120 Arthur Attwell { 12.18.12 at 9:54 am }

"provide local entrepreneurs…with tools…we shouldn’t develop solutions to problems we don’t understand"—@kiwanja. Yes! http://t.co/k1mMW3FC

121 Arthur Attwell { 12.18.12 at 9:54 am }

"provide local entrepreneurs…with tools…we shouldn’t develop solutions to problems we don’t understand"—@kiwanja. Yes! http://t.co/k1mMW3FC

122 M4D's inconvenient truth | Arthur Attwell { 12.18.12 at 10:02 am }

[...] loved this post by social-enterprise tech guru Ken Banks, articulating many of the principles we now (after years [...]

123 ermias assefa { 12.18.12 at 10:25 am }

An inconvenient truth? http://t.co/z2t3LQn4

124 Millie Begovic R. { 12.18.12 at 1:50 pm }

How well is #globaldev adjusting to rise of locally-born solutions and skills in #ict4dev http://t.co/0l952PGy by @kiwanja

125 Spectra Speaks { 12.18.12 at 2:07 pm }

Brilliant. Wish you’d attended the WACSI Social Media experts conference in Ghana. It was a small group of people using social media for advocacy / development, and we had similar conversations. I wrote a follow-up post which you can read here:

Glad I found your blog. Thanks for sharing your insights and predictions. I completely agree and look forward to Africa’s local changemakers disrupting the way development currently works, not just in ICT but across all sectors. It’s about time. http://www.spectraspeaks.com/2012/12/7-social-media-ideas-that-will-strengthen-digital-activism-in-africa/

126 Brad Mumbrue { 12.18.12 at 5:51 pm }

Development is changing, powered by accessible & affordable liberating technologies http://t.co/3rcyHsba by @kiwanja #m4D #ict4d

127 A Voice of the Web » Blog Archive » Mobile ICT & small-scale farmers? { 12.28.12 at 3:23 pm }

[...] are at the same level.  It is not the case at all. My friend Ken Banks summarized it very well in his recent post “An Inconvenient truth” where he stated: “Mobile is still largely seen as a solution, not a tool”. This is exactly the [...]

128 Digital Minds Network | Ken Banks on inconvenient truths for M4D - Digital Minds Network { 01.03.13 at 3:27 pm }

[...] Africa, News – Tags: FrontlineSMS, Ken Banks, kiwanja, M4D, mobileKen Banks has written a superb article on mobile technology in developing countries (M4D). He is concerned that: 1. Everyone is still [...]

129 m4d: The fun is over. Time to get tough? | Build it Kenny, and they will come... { 07.29.13 at 1:18 pm }

[...] Further reading An inconvenient truth? [...]

130 Weekly update – Opportunities and News for Youth in ICT and Agriculture | My great WordPress blog { 09.21.14 at 9:00 pm }

[...] productivity in East Africa (e-Agriculture) DairyCents Mobile App (Penn state Extension) An inconvenient truth? (Kiwanja.net) Four ways how technology can boost African farming (How we made it in [...]

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