Achieving ICT for Development Project Success by Altering Context, Not Technology

When explaining the failure of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) projects, researchers often turn to differences between how designers perceive and users experience the context of technology use. According to these explanations, ICT4D projects fail because designers take an uninformed stance toward context. The ICT4D literature offers four approaches for how […]

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The Fate of a Digital Slate: Unexpected Issues with Deployment in Rural India

As many UX professionals know, an initial rosy impression about the usability of a system may be trumped by unexpected issues seen in the context of actual deployment. These kinds of surprises can be especially dramatic when working in the area of ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Socio-Economic Development). […]

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Why it is Hard to Identify Technical Research Problems in ICT4D and How to Make it Easier

My position is that a shortage of detailed and compelling problem statements is the primary bottleneck that prevents most computer scientists from conducting research in ICT4D. While interesting problems exist, they are usually discovered via months of fieldwork, and there is little incentive to formalize and disseminate problems for the […]

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Calling all failures – curating a collection of cautionary tales

A few years ago, I stumbled across a discussion on Facebook that briefly mentioned the Ethnos Project. I wasn’t able to find it again for reference, but I recall that one of the participants had come away from this site with the feeling that the project (or rather, I as its creator) […]

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FAILfaire: Learning from #FAILs in ICT and Mobiles for Development

Projects succeed, projects fail. The successes are reported on, the failures are filed away. Or, in the case of most ICT 4 Development or Mobile 4 Development projects, pushed under the proverbial rug. Well, its time to bring out the failures, with a sense of humor, and with an honest […]

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